· Audi Sport customer racing aims to conquer US market
· Updates for Audi R8 GRAND-AM and Audi R8 LMS ultra
· Romolo Liebchen, Head of Audi Sport customer racing: Expecting 100th customer car to be delivered in 2013
Ingolstadt – Particularly in endurance racing, but also in sprint races such as the GT Cup in Macau, the GT3 version of the Audi R8 was the sports car to be beaten in the 2012 season. Now, the R8 LMS ultra is receiving another update – plus Audi Sport customer racing aims to conquer the US market in 2013 as well.
In the United States, the brand with the four rings is recording stronger growth than the US market as a whole, especially in the prestigious large-premium-car segment. Through racing activities in the field of customer sport, Audi intends to support this trend over the long run.
An extended commitment by Audi Sport customer racing in the GRAND-AM Series will kick off this project in the 2013 season. Audi customer teams will be running there with support from Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm and by Audi of America. And the first event is also the most difficult one of the year: the 24-hour race at Daytona (Florida) on January 26/27, 2013.
Strong line-up at Daytona 24 Hours
The Audi factory drivers Filipe Albuquerque, Oliver Jarvis and Edoardo Mortara will be competing at the American endurance classic in an Audi R8 GRAND-AM of Team Alex Job Racing. The cockpits of two other R8 cars will be occupied by high-caliber racers as well. Marc Basseng, René Rast and Frank Stippler will be driving for APR Motorsport, Frank Biela, Christopher Haase and GT1 World Champion Markus Winkelhock for Rum Bum Racing. In addition, each squad will be joined by an American driver.
For use in the GRAND-AM Series, quattro GmbH subjected numerous details of the Audi R8 GRAND-AM to further development. “We’re aiming for the R8 GRAND-AM to be equally successful as the GT3 version,” says Romolo Liebchen, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “At Daytona, we want to demonstrate this for the first time and will be extensively supporting our customer teams in the United States at all other races as well.”
Evolution version of the Audi R8 LMS ultra
But Audi is not neglecting the customer sport market in Europe and the rest of the world either. An evolution version of the Audi R8 LMS ultra GT3 sports car that mainly differs from the current model in the area of the rear section will start to be delivered to customers by quattro GmbH in February 2013.
Customer teams supported by Audi Sport customer racing will be competing in the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring (Germany) and at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) in 2013. The increasingly diverse customer sport program of AUDI AG will be complemented by the Audi R8 LMS Cup in China that was successfully launched in 2012.
“We’re offering our customers a very attractive line-up with the updated versions of the R8 GRAND-AM and the R8 LMS ultra plus the Cup in China,” says Romolo Liebchen, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “We’re expecting to deliver the 100th customer car during the course of 2013.”
Triumphs at three 24-hour races – plus in Macau
In 2012, Audi Sport customer racing celebrated major successes primarily in endurance racing. At the 12-hour race at Bathurst, Australia, the R8 triumphed as well as at the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and on the Belgian tracks at Spa-Francorchamps and Zolder. In the Blancpain Endurance Series, which is currently the most important endurance racing series for GT3 sports car, the Audi R8 LMS ultra was the benchmark as well. Edoardo Mortara contributed a special success at a sprint race when the DTM star won the GT Cup for the second consecutive time on the challenging city street circuit in Macau (China) in November.