André Lotterer and Mike Rockenfeller visit BerlinaleChris Reinke, Head of LMP at Audi Sport, about the new WEC season
Podium result in the Bathurst 12 Hour: Marco Mapelli, Markus Winkelhock and Laurens Vanthoor in the Audi R8 LMS ultra of Phoenix Racing claimed second place overall and won the Pro-Am class in the iconic Australian endurance event. Following a turbulent race with a total of 20 safety car periods, the Italian-German-Belgian trio, after 269 laps, had to admit defeat in the overall classification with a gap of only 2.45 seconds. The Audi R8 LMS ultra was the fastest car in the field at Bathurst. In qualifying, Laurens Vanthoor had clinched the pole position on setting a new official lap record. In the race, Markus Winkelhock achieved the fastest race lap ever set in a GT sports car. The second Phoenix Audi with extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner and his team-mates Christopher Haase and Stéphane Ortelli at the wheel finished in ninth place, ahead of another R8 LMS ultra of Team Hallmarc/Network Clothing with drivers Mark Eddy, Marc Cini and Christopher Mies.
Grand appearance for the Audi R18 e-tron quattro and the Audi TT cup at the 65th International Film Festival in Berlin: Audi drivers André Lotterer and Mike Rockenfeller drove their race cars up to the red carpet at the opening event of the Berlinale and attracted plenty of attention among the film stars.
Audi drivers Lotterer and Rockenfeller at Berlinale
Audi stunned the guests at the Berlin International Film Festival: When the Audi fleet with the film stars drove up, two of the brand’s race cars led the parade. Le Mans winner André Lotterer drove through the German capital in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP race car and Mike Rockenfeller – the 2013 DTM Champion – drove up to the door in the Audi TT cup car. The two Audi drivers took their race cars all the way to the red carpet, got out wearing tuxes and attended the opening of the event. Subsequently, Daniel Brühl and company stepped on the red carpet on the way to the opening ceremony. Audi has been supporting the 65th International Film Festival as the main sponsor for the second time, receiving the guests with an exciting program at the Audi Berlinale Lounge. Access to video footage: http://bit.ly/1zX7oQ3Phoenix Racing in second place at Bathurst
GMG Racing to field three Audi cars in Pirelli World Challenge
In its 14th season in the Pirelli World Challenge, the Californian Global Motorsports Group (GMG) team will be fielding three Audi R8 LMS ultra cars. Team boss James Sofronas, who celebrated the runner-up’s spot in 2013, is returning to the cockpit of the German GT3 sports car as well as his American compatriots Alex Welch and Brent Holden. The season encompasses eleven events and will open at Austin/Texas on March 6.I.S.R. nominates four drivers for Blancpain GT Series
I.S.R. Racing will be contesting the Sprint and Endurance Series of the Blancpain GT Series as an Audi team for the first time in the 2015 season. The outfit based in Cestlice near Prague in the Czech Republic has nominated the first four drivers. Audi factory driver Marco Bonanomi from Italy together with the Czech Filip Salaquarda will be on the grid in both series. The brothers Anders and Thomas Fjordbach from Denmark are sharing a second Audi R8 LMS ultra in the Sprint Series. Additionally, Anders Fjordbach will be contesting the Endurance Series with two other drivers yet to be signed.
Marco Bonanomi attends gallery opening in Panama
Audi factory driver Marco Bonanomi attended the official opening of the GBONA’ art gallery in Panama. At the event that was supported by Audi Panama, the Italian explained the technology of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro hybrid sports car that he will be driving in the Le Mans 24 Hours. In addition, Bonanomi shared with the audience the unique fascination exuded by the world’s major endurance race in which Audi has claimed an amazing 13 victories to date.A word from ... Chris Reinke
In Paris on Thursday, the Le Mans organizer ACO confirmed all three Audi nominations for the 24-hour race. Are all preparations for the 2015 season on schedule?We’re exactly on schedule as planned. The construction of the race car has been completed and testing started at the beginning of the year. Endurance testing will be the next thing on the agenda. The first components for our cars that will be fielded have already been delivered as well so that we can start the assembly work. A limit that has been imposed on the test days this year is new for all teams. Our drivers are intensively preparing in the simulator and in track tests with the new car. We’re systematically familiarizing our new signing René Rast with his new task. He’s already reeled off his first kilometers on the race track. The season will be tougher than ever before. Another manufacturer – Nissan – has entered the Championship. Are you looking forward to the competition?This marks another upgrade of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and we’re happy about that. Audi has been making its mark as a pioneer of new technologies in motorsport for three decades. So, with that in mind, we’re excited about meeting with a concept that’s as individual as Nissan’s. It’s clear that the battle for podium positions will even be fiercer this year. Even last year all three manufacturers were in contention for victory and obviously at Audi we’re set on battling for our 14th Le Mans victory and would like to bring back the WEC title to Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm.What innovations for 2015 will be particularly important?The rules have been adjusted but the game has not been rearranged. For instance, there will be a new tire limit in effect on each race weekend, but that tends to affect the processes during the events more than the basic performances. There’s a completely different factor that we expect to have a much greater influence on the performance capabilities of all the manufacturers. The regulations continue to define four different hybrid energy classes. Every manufacturer will try to recover and reuse as much energy as possible. Therefore, Audi expects greater leaps in terms of performance and lap times than in the past years. Is the Audi team optimally prepared for the new season in terms of manpower as well?In Jörg Zander, we’ve got a new Technical Director who is going to provide his particular impetus. At the level of the race engineers we’re relying on a newly formed team from our own ranks. Leena Gade will remain the race engineer for Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer. Justin Taylor, following his stint in the 2014 season finale, is now permanently assuming responsibility for the car of Lucas di Grassi/Loïc Duval/Oliver Jarvis. To make use of the synergies with the test team, we’ve selected Matthias Huber as the engineer for Filipe Albuquerque, Marco Bonanomi and René Rast. I couldn’t wish for a better team.