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Super GT Motegi

Merhi convinced Audi R8 still has potential in SUPER GT

Ex-Formula 1 driver Roberto Merhi says he is convinced that the Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II used by Team LeMans in SUPER GT still has potential, despite the team's plans to sell the car.

#6 Team LeMans Audi R8 LMS

Merhi was parachuted in to join Yoshiaki Katayama aboard the LeMans Audi from May's second round of the season at Fuji Speedway onwards, replacing Japanese motorsport legend Satoshi Motoyama.

The duo achieved a best finish of fifth in August's Suzuka race, but their chances of scoring points again after that were hampered by a succession of mechanical issues, including a loose wheel in last weekend's Motegi finale.

Team LeMans has put its Audi up for sale as it evaluates its 2023 options, which are known to include the purchase of a BMW M4 GT3.

However, Merhi believes that the pace shown in recent races shows that the R8 LMS still has untapped potential should the team ultimately decide to continue using the car next season.

"At the beginning I was learning obviously, everything was new for me and I had to adapt to it," Merhi told Motorsport.com. "But to be honest after the second Suzuka race, I was 100 percent. I knew how to manage the tyres and the car, and from that point on the pace was very positive.

"It looks like I’ll continue with the team next year. I like working with my teammate Yoshi [Katayama], the crew takes care of me a lot. But we need to change a bit the working method to make sure we don’t have these failures.

"I am sure that we have potential. In qualifying we are not so strong but for a race run [the Audi] is pretty good, and we have a new engineer [MP Motorsport man Mattia Oselladore] who is helping a lot, so I can think we can improve a lot."

 

Merhi said he felt he and Katayama had the potential to round off the season with a podium without the wheel issues that affected the Audi in both warm-up, when the #6 machine lost a wheel entirely, and in the race.

"I was half-a-second, one second quicker than the others at the end," said the Spaniard. "But during the race the wheel came loose again, so I had to come to the pits for a second time. Luckily, it survived a bit longer [than in warm-up].

"I was outside the top 20 and I finished P13. I was much quicker than the others, and on the last lap I was the quickest, only one other car was within four tenths [the #87 JLOC Lamborghini Huracan GT3]."

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