They have may have seen their WEC points lead eroded by Porsche lately, but all-star Audi trio Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer aren't panicking yet, as they tell Christopher DeHarde.
The No.7 Audi is currently leading the FIA World Endurance Championship points heading into today’s 6 hour race at the Circuit of the Americas, but their points gap has been shrinking.
At both Le Mans and the Nurburgring, Lotterer, Fassler and Treluyer have finished third to the two Porsche LMP1 entries, and the No.17 car piloted by Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley are looking to gain even more ground on the three-time Le Mans winners.
Lotterer was detailed in his account of how Audi can remain on top and how Porsche has closed the gap that existed at the start of the season.
“We just have to win and keep trying for it and optimizing everything so we get back to first place like we were in Silverstone and Spa," the German told Motorsport.com.
"At Le Mans, unfortunately we had some technical issues with the engine cover, but a win was possible too.
"After Le Mans, Porsche brought some aerodynamic upgrades, which was our strength compared to them to compensate the lack of power we have being in the 4MJ class and them in the 8MJ class; they simply have more power.
"Now they have good aero too, so it makes our life a little bit more difficult. We have to keep working hard to optimize and extract everything out of our car, be perfect in the race, no mistakes and take the best we can."
Focus not on Porsche
Despite losing the advantage to Porsche that they had earlier in the season, the No.7 Audi drivers still remain focused on their own effort without worrying about what Porsche is doing.
Nerves aren’t coming into the equation, as Fassler explained: “I think the best is not to get over excited about it at the moment, because as soon as you are too focused on what you can lose, I think you don’t start to win anymore.
"We know we’re still in the lead and we know that first we have to finish the races and the races are long, the competition is high.
“At the end of the day, if we can stay in front, that’s good, if not, we know that we did our 100% [effort], but we will see some good chances in the race to catch them."
Lotterer agreed with his teammate’s position, adding: “In the position you’re in, you can only do as much as you can do, if doing the perfect race and driving the best you can and extracting the maximum out of the car is not enough, there’s no point going crazy.
"We just need to work harder and come back to another race with more performance.”
Despite the team’s problems matching Porsche’s outright pace in practice and qualifying, Treluyer was open about Audi’s main issue at Austin.
“It’s not only the difference with Porsche, I think we’ve been struggling with our car setup since the Nurburgring race," admitted the Frenchman.
"We’ve found some things at the Nurburgring and now we’re trying some different setups for here, and it works in some directions but we found another setup problem, so we’re struggling to find the right car balance."