A look back at the weekend of racing from Audi's perspective.
By Johan Laubscher
1. The Weekend
Focussing on the weekend of 19 - 20 October 2013
2. The Events
DTM, FIA WEC, Italian GT, STT, Audi endurance experience, RCN, Dover Heroes of Speed, Killarney Extreme Festival, Historische Tourenwagen
Hockenheim was the scene for round ten of the 2013 DTM season, the season finale. Audi arrived at the finale as the leader in all of the championship points standings. Mike Rockenfeller clinched the drivers’ title at the previous round, Audi was leading the manufacturers’ standings and Phoenix Racing was ahead in the teams’ standings. The weekend got off to a good start when five Audi RS 5 DTM cars made it into the top ten during the Saturday morning free practice session. Qualifying turned out to be more difficult as none of the Audis made it into the all-BMW top four shootout. Miguel Molina was the highest placed Audi in fifth, leading four Audis within the top ten. The finale got underway on Sunday afternoon in wet conditions. It was a very busy race with a lot of on track action. The BMWs led from the front with the Audis progressing through the middle of the top ten. Many of the Audi drivers filtered in and out of the top ten during the race. Mattias Ekström quickly became the leading Audi as he was hunting down the leaders, but he was hit from behind and lost time. The order shuffled continuously during the closing minutes with many late pitstops. When the race finally came to a close it was a BMW victory, as two Audis finished within the top ten: Ekström in fourth and Molina in fifth. The remaining five Audi RS 5 DTM cars finished together in positions twelve though sixteen, as Green led Scheider, Tambay, Mortara and Rockenfeller. Unfortunately Filipe Albuquerque retired during the opening stages. Audi Sport Team Phoenix was crowned as the teams’ champions with a total of 161 points. Audi just lost the manufacturers’ championship to BMW, finishing second by a mere twenty-two points. This concluded the 2013 DTM season which saw Audi taking the drivers’ title with Mike Rockenfeller and the teams’ title with Phoenix Racing.
2.2. FIA WEC
Round six of the FIA World Endurance Championship headed to Japan for the Six Hours of Fuji. Audi Sport Team Joest arrived with their regular two-car Audi R18 e-tron quattro team. Audi was joined by Toyota who added a second TS030 Hybrid to their line-up for the race in Japan. The practice sessions proved to be very close. Toyota topped the first and third sessions, however Toyota’s fastest time in the first session was omitted due to a pitlane speeding violation, thus promoting the Audis to an official 1-2 classification in the first session, a result which was repeated outright in the second session.
It was not all plain sailing for Audi though, as the #2 car suffered a crash during the first session, resulting in substantial damage to the rear. The damaged gearbox was replaced as well as the engine as a precautionary measure. The #2 car was repaired in time for the second session, wherein the #2 crew set the fastest time. Qualifying yielded another Audi pole position, as the #1 Audi of Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Treluyer slotted into first place. The sister Audi #2 car of Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loïc Duval finished with the fourth best time, sandwiching the two Toyotas in second and third. Very wet conditions greeted the FIA WEC on Sunday and the race was started under safety car proceedings. Audi #1 led the way behind the safety car, ahead of Toyota #7 and Audi #2, as Toyota #8 missed the pitlane exit time to head onto the grid and was required to start from the pitlane. The cars drove behind the safety car until the red flag was called within the first thirty minutes, suspending the race whilst they waited for better conditions. At 13:30 local time the race was restarted with just over four hours remaining on the clock, again beginning under safety car proceedings.
The leading #1 Audi pitted during the early safety car running and thus Toyota #7 led ahead of Audi #2. The #1 Audi pitted due to reported throttle response issues and the pitstop was to check the air-intake system, which revealed damage from debris. A few laps later the car was back in the pits twice more in short succession for further work, but clever pit-work by splitting the work across two pitstops ensured that they remained on the lead lap during the safety car proceedings. The safety car train continued for a few more laps until the race was red flagged once more and the clock stopped at just under three hours and fifty minutes remaining. The LMP1 running order at the time of the second red flag saw Toyota #7 as the leader, ahead of Audi #2 and the Rebellion Lola in third. The #1 Audi was fourth in class, followed by the #8 Toyota, both being down in twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh overall respectively. Eventually the race was not restarted and called off due to the weather conditions and decreasing light. Only sixteen laps were completed during the event, all of them under safety car proceedings during the two brief periods of track running.
Half points were rewarded to all of the teams based on their positions at the time of the second and final stoppage. It thus resulted in a Toyota victory with Audi #2 in second and Audi #1 fourth within LMP1. The points collected were enough to crown Audi as the 2013 FIA WEC manufacturers’ champions. The #2 Audi crew of Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loïc Duval continue to lead the LMP1 drivers’ points standings, which is still up for grabs.
2.3. Italian GT
Monza played host to the seventh and final round of the 2013 Italian GT Championship season this weekend. It was a victorious end to the season for Audi Sport Italia and their Audi R8 LMS ultra cars. Audi Sport Italia was entered with their regular two-car Audi R8 LMS ultra team. The #5 Audi R8 LMS ultra was driven by Alex Frassineti and Johan Kristoffersson, along with their sister #4 Audi driven by Dindo Capello and Andrea Sonvico. Qualifying saw the Audis within the top ten, as they qualified fourth and ninth for race one, followed by third and eighth for race two. The first race began with both of the Audis moving up into the top five.
Ultimately the #5 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Alex Frassineti and Johan Kristoffersson finished in fifth, whilst their teammates, Dindo Capello and Andrea Sonvico, suffered a puncture in Audi #4 and finished in tenth, a lap down. The second and final race on Sunday, saw Audi Sport Italia bouncing back to take victory in the final race of the season. Frassineti and Kristoffersson converted their third position on the grid into a well deserved race victory. They were followed home by their teammates in fourth, who were later promoted to third after a penalty for one of their competitors. A great result for Audi Sport Italia to conclude their 2013 season, which saw race wins with the R8 LMS ultra in the Italian GT Championship and the Superstars championship title with Gianni Morbidelli and the RS 5 quattro.
The finale of the Spezial Tourenwagen Trophy (STT) was held at the Nürburgring this weekend. A very large grid took part, including six Audi race cars. The list of private Audi entrants included one Audi R8 LMS ultra. The R8 LMS ultra was the car of Berthold Gruhn, who debuted his #29 Audi R8 LMS ultra at the previous round. The car is run by Rotary Motorsport IG.
The original entry list included two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars. Gruhn’s R8 LMS ultra was alongside a single entry from Prosperia C.ABT Racing, as the #49 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Slobodan Cvetkovic, who had taken part in some of the STT rounds during 2013, was also listed, however they did not take part this weekend. The Audi R8 LMS ultra was entered in the “Klasse 2” class. This class also included the #46 Audi S4 B5 driven by Ulf Ehninger and Jochen Ayasse. The classes are split between divisions one and two. Division 1 includes “Klasse 2” as well as the “Klasse 11 STT Spezial,” which included one of the front runners and regular STT competitor, Edy Kamm, in his 2004 Audi A4 DTM R11. Three more Audis were included in two of the other classes within Division 2. “Klasse 7” saw the entry of Marc Roth in his #65 Audi A4 quattro STW. The final two entrants were in “Klasse 4,” the #33 Audi A3 of René Freisberg and the #12 ex-ROC French Supertourisme Audi 80 of Joachim Duscher. Two STT races were held at the Nürburgring during the weekend. Qualifying for the first race saw Berthold Gruhn as the highest Division 1 qualifier, placing his Audi R8 LMS ultra in ninth place.
All three of the Audis within the Division 2 ranks placed within their overall class top ten, with René Freisberg taking pole in his Audi A3, ahead of Roth in eighth and Duscher in ninth. The grid for race two saw Edy Kamm back on the front row, as he put his A4 DTM in second position overall and within Division 1. A trio of Audis placed within the top four in Division 2. René Freisberg took second on the grid, ahead of Joachim Duscher in third, followed by Marc Roth in fourth. Race one was the scene for a double victory by the Audi teams. Edy Kamm took the overall, Division 1 and Klasse 11 victory with his Audi A4 DTM. Berthold Gruhn and his R8 LMS ultra placed fifteenth within Division 1 and took third place within Klasse 2. The #46 Audi S4 unfortunately retired. René Freisberg was victorious with his A3 in Division 2 and Klasse 4. Joachim Duscher placed third within Division 2, also taking third within Klasse 4. Marc Roth finished fifth within Division 2 and took victory in Klasse 7. Edy Kamm made it two from two by winning the final race in his A4 DTM. Berthold Gruhn finished twenty-first in Division 1 and third again within Klasse 2. The #46 Audi S4 was fourth in class. René Freisberg finished second within Division 2 and in Klasse 4, followed by Joachim Duscher in third. Marc Roth won Klasse 7 again and finished fourth within Division 2. This weekend concluded the 2013 Spezial Tourenwagen Trophy season, a year which again saw multiple private Audi race cars taking part.
2.5. Audi endurance experience
The Audi endurance experience held its annual season finale this weekend. It was a 24 hour race held at Paul Ricard. This is an Audi one-make championship run by Audi France, featuring a full grid of Audi A1 race cars.
The ninth and final RCN round was held on the Nürburgring short track this weekend. A total of eight private Audi cars took part, which included a variety of Audi models.
2.7. Dover Heroes of Speed
Dover Raceway in Jamaica hosted the Heroes of Speed race weekend. This event was held over the long public holiday Heroes Day weekend and featured the final round of the Jamaica Drivers Club 2013 Circuit Racing Championship. It was the scene for the return of Doug Gore and the ATL Automotive ABT-Audi TT-R.
The team had competed in the Jamaican and Caribbean series earlier this year, before they withdrew from other Dover events due to a protest made by the team. The protest was regarding tyre allocation regulations. Despite the absence at the previous event, the ATL team were back and aimed to continue their unbeaten run in 2013.
2.8. Killarney Extreme Festival
The Killarney race circuit hosted their Extreme Festival in Cape Town this weekend. The weekend featured a number of local drivers, as well as a number of drivers from other provinces. Audi race cars were seen in some of the classes, including an Mk1 Audi TT in the GT race and two Audis in the classic car categories.
2.9. Historische Tourenwagen
Fa. Nothelle entered their Audi 80 at the Nürburgring this weekend. They took part in the Historische Tourenwagen & GT-Trophy.
Fa. Nothelle FB page
2.10. Other Audi News
News has emerged that Rotek Racing is planning to prepare and run two Audi A3 sedan race cars in the 2014 British Touring Car Championship season. The news broke on TouringCarTimes on Tuesday morning, mentioning Rotek Racing’s 2014 BTCC intentions. Rotek Racing and Rob Holland have been involved on a number of fronts recently, including in the VLN, where the team has been fielding an Audi TT RS in the SP4T class.
They had originally planned to run Ford Focus cars in the 2014 WTCC season, but due to various factors they have now switched to their BTCC plans for 2014. They will be developing the pair of Audi A3 sedans, working together with Tony Gilham’s team. The cars will be built to the NGTC - Next Generation Touring Car regulations. The Audi A3s will feature front wheel drive configuration. Rob Holland will be behind the wheel of one of the two cars, with the second driver yet to be announced.
Exciting news came from all-inkl.com münnich motorsport on Tuesday. The team has completed the first rollout of their new Audi rallycross race car. During 2012 Münnich Motorsport had announced their intentions to build an Audi A3/S3 rallycross vehicle for the German/European Rallycross Championship, where the team has been fielding Skodas for a number of seasons. The team uploaded various build photos onto their Facebook page during January 2013, which depicted the development of the car known as their “S3 SuperCar”. Nine months later and Münnich Motorsport has released the first photo of the car, following their rollout.
The car looks fantastic with a menacing and aggressive appearance. Visually the bodywork is similar to that of the Audi RS 3. More information and photos of the car is expected to be seen in the weeks to come.
Dragonspeed was seen at the Circuit of the Americas this week. The team conducted post-season testing with their Audi R8 LMS ultra, as they prepare for the 2014 motorsport season.
Audi is launching a special addition package for Audi A5 coupe models, as a form of celebration for Mike Rockenfeller’s 2013 DTM championship title. The package will cost 1900 euros and will be limited to 300 units. The package includes a number of unique styling changes, such as DTM branding, a fixed rear wing etc. This new package is available with a number of engine options and colours. These vehicles will receive the name “A5 DTM Champion”.
The 2014 DTM Calendar was released this week. The calendar again includes ten rounds, with the addition of two new rounds. The Hungaroring has been added as round three in June and an event in China, yet to be announced where, to be held as round nine in September. The two additions also mean that two tracks were omitted from the 2013 calendar, namely Brands Hatch and Zandvoort.
2014 DTM calendar:
4th May Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg (D)
18th May etropolis Motorsport Arena Oschersleben (D)
1st June Hungaroring Budapest (UNG)
29th June Norisring (D)
13th July Moscow Raceway (RUS)
3rd August Red Bull Ring Spielberg (A)
10th August Nürburgring (D) *
14th September Lausitzring (D)
28th September China (CHN) – TBA
19th October Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg (D)
- Subject to approval by FIA
Subject to promoter agreements
* Date to be confirmed
The revised 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship calendar was announced on Friday morning. Revisions were made to accommodate the recent changes to the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship calendar, to avoid any clashes. The changes affect the rounds at Spa, Fuji and the Circuit of The Americas.
2014 FIA WEC calendar:
Official Test Le Castellet - FRA - 28-29 March
Silverstone - GBR - 18-20 April
Spa-Francorchamps - BEL - 03-04May
24 Heures du Mans Test - FRA - 01 June
24 Heures du Mans - FRA - 14/15 June
Sao Paulo* - BRA - 29-31 August (TBC)
Circuit of the Americas - USA - 18-20 September
Fuji - JPN - 03-05 October
Shanghai - CHN - 31 Oct - 1 November
Bahrain - BHN - 13-15 November
The 30 Jahre Audi Sport quattro display continued at the Audi museum mobile this week. The display included a large number of Audi Sport quattro related vehicles, including three rally cars: the 1987 Pikes Peak winning Audi Sport quattro S1 E2, a HB Audi Sport quattro S1 E2 and an Audi Sport quattro rally car.
Five Audis have been confirmed for the FIA GT Series finale at the Baku World Challenge in Azerbaijan. Phoenix Racing was the first announcement this week. They will be making their return to the series at the finale. Their Audi R8 LMS ultra will be driven by Enzo Ide and Markus Winkelhock. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT announced a four-car entry on Thursday. Their regular three-car team will be joined by the forth car with Filipe Albuquerque and Grégoire Demoustier behind the wheel.
World acclaimed race simulation game developers, Simbin, are going to be releasing a race sim based on the DTM. The new PC racing game will be called the “DTM Experience”. The new PC game will be released during the winter and will feature the full 2013 DTM season: all the cars, teams, drivers and tracks. It will be an officially licensed DTM product. The official demo for the new game was released on Friday, with which one can sample the newest creation from Simbin. The demo includes: All three of the 2013 DTM cars from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz ; The Hockenheim race circuit ; Three difficulty levels ; track test feature. The official demo is available for free legal download and has a download size of approximately one gigabyte. The official launch of the game was held at Hockenheim on the Friday morning of the finale weekend. Mike Rockenfeller (Audi), Martin Tomczyk (BMW) and Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz) all took part in the launch. The Official DTM Experience demo can be downloaded at the DTM Experience website HERE.
Rahel Frey, who had competed in the first two Audi R8 LMS meetings of 2013, will be returning to the series. She had already been confirmed for the final round of the Audi R8 LMS Cup in Macau, based on the entry list, and she has now been confirmed for the penultimate round of the series in Shanghai as well. She will be back behind the wheel of the #66 Castrol Audi R8 LMS.
Legendary Audi factory driver and five time Le Mans winner, Emanuele Pirro, was a guest of honour at the opening of the Johannesburg International Motor Show in South Africa this week. He was seen at the Audi stand during the press days before departing for the FIA WEC round at Fuji in Japan.
3. Next Weekend’s events (26-27/10/2013)
GT Tour, HSR, V de V, Audi R8 LMS Cup, VSCRC, VLN
All photos are hosted at their respective websites, which are listed within the Weekend Round Up