By Audi Media
In a unique presentation, Audi will be unveiling the technology, the innovations and the livery of the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro at Le Mans on March 25. Le Mans record winner Tom Kristensen will be driving the LMP1 sports car from the city center to the race track – in keeping with an all-but forgotten tradition of the legendary race dating back to the days when the drivers would travel to the venue in their race cars. The drive from the Place des Jacobins to the ‘Circuit des 24 Heures’ will start at 13:30. From 12:30, an autograph session with Tom Kristensen and his WEC team-mates will be held at the Place des Jacobins
The Flying Lizard Motorsports team only just missed taking class victory in the second round of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship (TUSC). After 12 hours of racing and a distance of 1,569 kilometers, Filipe Albuquerque/Dion von Moltke/Seth Neiman (P/USA/USA) in an Audi R8 LMS were beaten by a mere 7.459 seconds. The trio was the best Audi team in fifth place in the GT Daytona class. Another ten seconds behind and sixth at the checkered flag were Charles Espenlaub/Christopher Mies/Charlie Putman (USA/D/USA) with Fall-Line Motorsports. Nelson Canache/Alessandro Latif/Spencer Pumpelly/Markus Winkelhock (YV/GB/USA/D) led their class in the opening stages in the sister Flying Lizard Audi. The quartet dropped back however after suffering two punctures and finished eighth in the end. The two Audis of GMG Racing and Paul Miller Racing also made the finish.
As a race engineer, Leena Gade has won the Le Mans 24 Hours with Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer for Audi twice. In addition, her expertise is frequently sought when it comes to supporting conferences and initiatives in the world of education and science. On Friday, the Briton was one of five members of a judging panel for the National Science and Engineering Competition held in the UK. In Birmingham, the judges selected the best engineering ideas entered by 400 students between the ages of 11 and 18. “Ingenious, refreshing and ready for the future – this is how these young people came across. I’m sure that some of these talents will be engineers one day,” Leena Gade said, as she assessed the competition.
Two new drivers – Jamie Green and Nico Müller – will be competing for your team. How do you deal with this situation?
First of all, we welcome this challenge. In Jamie (Green), we’ve got a really experienced driver in our team for the first time. He’s been racing in the DTM for ten years and, like us, is waiting for the first title. Jamie has frequently visited us here at the company and has been intensively working with the engineers. We’re happy to have him on board with us.
In Nico Müller, you’ve also got an absolute rookie in the team …
All the positive things we’d previously heard about Nico have been more than confirmed. He’s a great guy, who’s likeable, open-minded and all fired up for racing in the DTM. And he’s shown on numerous occasions that he really knows how to drive.
As a team boss, is it difficult to make a rookie and a veteran gel?
No, not at all, it’s a wonderful task. During our fitness week, we could already tell that Jamie and Nico get along with each other really well and are a very good match. Jamie plays the role of teacher a bit and Nico gratefully accepts his advice. Both have understood what this year is all about and are giving everything for it – I can already say that now, even though we haven’t driven a single kilometer yet.
What is the current state of the preparations?
Everything’s on schedule. A part of the squad is in Ingolstadt to prepare our first race car. The others are preparing the equipment and practicing pit stops on the simulator twice a day. And the whole squad can hardly wait for the action on the track to start.
What are your aims for the 2014 season?
2013 was a bad year, there’s no point in denying that. Our first aim is to continue where we left off in 2012 and to be the best Audi team this season. And, of course, we’d like to be in contention for the title battle as well.
Full house in Kempten: To jointly get in the mood for the DTM season, the Audi drivers Mattias Ekström, Miguel Molina, Edoardo Mortara and Adrien Tambay met at the home base of their Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline. In addition to discussions with Team Director Hans-Jürgen Abt, the car chiefs and the mechanics, a tour of the squad’s new motorsport center was on the agenda. While Ekström is starting his 14th season with the team Mortara will be on the grid for the first time for the outfit from the German Allgäu region.
On the evening before the annual press conference of AUDI AG, the motorsport squad, together with its brand, was featured under the motto ‘Moving at High Speed.’ At the ‘Audi Gebrauchtwagen plus Zentrum München,’ the racers of the Audi Group presented the commitments of the Audi, Lamborghini and Ducati brands on Monday. Chris Reinke (Head of LMP), Dieter Gass (Head of DTM), the nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen and DTM Champion Mike Rockenfeller provided the international audience with insights into the 2014 Audi motorsport program. The display of an Audi R18 e-tron quattro and an Audi RS 5 DTM car whetted the appetite of the guests for the new season.