|July 24, 2011
Source: Audi of America
· Audi sets new benchmarks in customer racing with new safety seat
· 24 hours of Spa live on web and television
· Three Audi race cars at Automobile Summer 2011
Ingolstadt, – Audi gives its customer racing teams new possibilities just in time for the 24 hours of Spa: the new safety seat for the Audi R8 LMS is now available.
Safety first: The new safety seat celebrated its premiere in the four factory backed Audi R8 LMS cars competing in the 24 Hours Nürburgring. The many customer teams of Audi Sport customer racing can now also order the modular design seat with immediate effect. Its biggest advantage: different seat widths suit all body profiles. Never before could a racing driver adjust their seat to suit individual personal preferences. At the same time the dual shell carbon component complies with the most demanding load criteria. The 60 mm lower driver position further improves the Audi R8 LMS sportscars center of gravity.
24 hours nonstop: Those unable to visit the 24 hours of Spa on location this coming weekend will also not miss a second at home. Exciting television pictures are broadcast on two different channels: Sport1 broadcasts no less than seven hours of the marathon event live. Fans can even follow race events for 24 hours without interruption live on www.audi.tv.
Two dozen: Something unique! No less than 24 Audi drivers look forward to signing autographs for the fans at the 24 hours of Spa. In addition to twelve factory drivers another twelve racers competing for customer racing team United Autosports also sign their names. Signing on Friday from 12:00 in the paddock are Filipe Albuquerque, Marc Basseng, Zak Brown, Richard Dean, Mattias Ekström, Johnny Herbert, Stefan Johansson and Timo Scheider. Following at 16:00 are Matt Bell, Mark Blundell, Eddie Cheever, Marcel Fässler, Greg Franchi, Christopher Haase, Stéphane Ortelli and Mark Patterson. On Saturday at 11:00 the fans meet up with Alain Li, Bert Longin, Arie Luyendyk, Richard Meins, Andrea Piccini, Henri Richard, Mike Rockenfeller and Frank Stippler.
Instead of summer recess: Baden-Württemberg celebrates the “Automobile Summer 2011” for a mammoth 125 days. This coming Saturday, July 30, all eyes are on the Audi Forum in Neckarsulm. Audi presents an Audi R18 TDI, like the one that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, an Audi A4 DTM and an Audi R8 LMS to the public. The two race drivers Edoardo Mortara and Markus Winkelhock are in attendance to chat and sign autographs.
Dominance in Japan: The Audi R8 LMS was in a class of its own at the second round of the Super Taikyu Series season. Team Hitotsuyama Racing with drivers Tomonobu Fujii, Akihiro Tsuzuki and Michael Kim won the 4-hour race at Fuji convincingly from pole position by two laps.
Podium result: the Audi customer racing teams Alfab Racing and Brunstedt Motorsport finished second and third respectively in round three of the Swedish GT Series at Falkenberg. At the finish in their Audi R8 LMS Erik Behrens and Daniel Roos were 7.5 seconds ahead of fellow Audi drivers Jan Brunstedt and Andreas Simonsson.
Only two seconds behind: Audi factory driver Timo Bernhard and co-driver Klaus Wicha in a Porsche 911 GT3 missed overall victory by a mere two seconds in the Rallye Baden-Württemberg, the fourth round of the German Rally Championship. The 2010 Le Mans winner recorded a total of four fastest stage times.
A word from … Filipe Albuquerque
One of your most important races this year – the 24 hours of Spa – is on the agenda next week. How important is this for you?
The race really is something special. Obviously, as Audi factory driver the DTM is my main program this year. However, in parallel I also contest the Blancpain Endurance Series with the Audi R8 LMS. The 24 hours of Spa are so important because up to 50 points are awarded here for the victory, these are divided after six, twelve and 24 hours. In the championship standings my team mates Stéphane Ortelli and Bert Longin and I are only four points behind the leader. Its important to keep an eye on the Vita4One and Autorlando teams. They are our most important opponents in the endurance series.
How do you prepare yourself for this?
There are many factors. Im very familiar with the circuit from my career. At seven kilometers in length its almost twice as long as many DTM tracks. However, Ive never actually driven a 24-hour race before. Ill listen very carefully to the advice given by Stéphane, Bert, our Team Boss Vincent Vosse and obviously from Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, who manage this factory event. I think its all about many, many details. Just the thought of driving as far as two DTM seasons in one hit through the course of a day and a night is quite incredible. Ive adapted my fitness program accordingly. I jog much further as its not so much a question of higher loads, but more about longer lasting loads.
One factor in the race, which you also know extremely well, is the Audi R8 LMS. Last year you were the runner-up in Italy with it and won the Race of Champions. What are the strengths of this customer sport race car?
The Audi R8 LMS has many strengths. Its well developed and incredibly robust as we saw more recently during the 24 hours Nürburgring. The Audi customer teams show almost every race weekend that it can win the GT3 category in many championships. Everything seems so easy in the R8 LMS cockpit because it is tailored expertly to the driver. Its great fun to drive it. This is the same for us professionals as it is for the customers.
Coming up next week
30/07. Nürburgring (D), VLN endurance championship, round 6
30-31/07 Spa-Francorchamps (B), Blancpain Endurance Series, round 3
31/07 Mugello (I), Italian GT Championship, round 5