Motorsport Newsletter 10/2012: FIA President Jean Todt visits Audi at WEC inaugural event

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March 18, 2012

Source: Audi Motorsport

· Sebring: Audi in focus of a large audience

· U.S. premiere of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro

· Audi R8 LMS has arrived in China

Ingolstadt, – At the 12-hour race at Sebring (USA) the Audi R18 TDI was the centerpiece of the “FIA Action for Road Safety.”

For more safety: On the grid of the Sebring (USA) 12 Hours the Audi R18 TDI was the centerpiece of a campaign for higher traffic safety. The car designated as number “1” which had started into the race from the pole position promoted the “FIA Action for Road Safety” with a sticker. FIA President Jean Todt presented the campaign with an effective public appearance at the inaugural event of the new FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).

U.S. premiere: As part of the Sebring 12 Hours, Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich presented the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro that will be testing on the race track in Florida after the WEC opener to U.S. media and guests of Audi of America at their hospitality, the “Turn One Club.”


Appearance in Sweden: Mattias Ekström was a guest at the Audi Forum in Stockholm on Friday. Together with the Swedish Audi importer the Audi factory driver answered questions of local TV and radio journalists, and of important print media.


Guest in Florida: Herwart Kreiner, previous Head of Audi Motorsport, visited his former colleagues at the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) inaugural event. Hannu Mikkola, 1983 World Rally Champion in the Audi quattro, was a guest at Sebring as well.


In the Middle Kingdom: The vehicles for the new Audi R8 LMS Cup have arrived in China. Audi’s first racing one-make cup will make its debut in Shanghai on April 28 and 29. 16 vehicles of the 570-HP GT3 race car will be on the grid. “We’re very pleased with the performance of the new R8 LMS. Audi brings a new quality of motorsport to China,” said Rene Koneberg, Head of Audi Sport customer racing China, after an initial test at Zhuhai.


Season preparations in Japan: No less than four Audi R8 LMS ultra cars will be competing this year in the GT300 class of the Japanese Super GT Championship. Hitotsuyama Racing is preparing two Audi R8 LMS ultra vehicles for the eight rounds of the season. Teams Gainer and APR Japan are each fielding another car. The three teams are presenting themselves at a press conference in Japan on March 22. Dieter Gass, Head of Racing Commitments at Audi Sport, will attend the event as well. He will report and talk about Audi’s factory commitments in the WEC and the DTM this year. His presentation will be centered on the R18 e-tron quattro that will be on the grid at the race at Fuji on 14 October as well.


Team presentation in Belgium: Team WRT will be presenting its 2012 season program and driver line-up next Thursday at Zolder. At the same time, the squad that won the Blancpain Endurance Series with the Audi R8 LMS last year will be using the Belgian race track for the first roll-out of their two new Audi R8 LMS ultra cars.


A true classic: The Audi R8 LMP sports car that dominated the sports car series between 2000 and 2006 continues to be victorious. At Sebring, two of the race cars competed as part of the supporting program at the SVRA (Sportscar Racing Vintage Association) race. Sports car driver Andy Wallace clinched a commanding victory.


Technical treat at the Audi museum mobile: A special exhibition billed as “Light Art” is showcasing automotive light-weight design from the past and future. The ten exhibits include models with motorsport history such as the Audi Sport quattro from 1984 and the Audi R18 TDI that won the Le Mans 24 Hours last year. The exhibition can be viewed in Ingolstadt from March 20 to July 31.

A word from … Adrien Tambay

Audi factory driver Adrien Tambay to compete in the DTM – how does that sound?
That simply sounds incredible. For a young racer like me becoming a factory driver is a huge career step. I feel very proud and happy about being able to make this step with such a great and successful brand as Audi.

Next week you’ll be driving the new Audi A5 DTM for the first time. What are your expectations?
I’m already excited when I think about sitting in the new A5. During the evaluation I drove the A4 DTM – and that was already a fantastic experience. Now I’m eager to see what it’s like to drive the car with paddle shifters and all the other things the engineers from Audi Sport have come up with. I’m looking forward to my first tests and am hoping to be able to contribute my part to the development of the new car.

You’ll be competing for Audi Sport Team Abt alongside the two two-time champions Mattias Ekström and Timo Scheider. A rookie could have worse companions on his way forward than that …
Absolutely, the two are the best teachers a young driver could wish for. But that goes for all the other team-mates as well. I’ve met many of them at the tests and all were very friendly, open and willing to help. Even though everyone’s battling for themselves on track you can immediately tell that Audi has a particularly family-like atmosphere.

You frequently experienced the DTM in the past. What’s your impression?
I’ve often visited the DTM paddock with Formel ADAC and Formula 3 and have only missed few of the races on television as well. It’s an exciting series with great cars, many stars and big challenges. I can hardly wait to be part of it myself.

What will the next few weeks be like for you?
In terms of training I’m right in the middle and am absolutely fit. For me, it’s now about gelling as quickly as possible with the Audi family and getting to know my team and the way it works in every respect. I want to work hard and will do everything I can to justify the trust that has been placed in me.


Coming up next week

March 20 – 23 Valencia (E), official DTM test

March 22 Tokyo (J), Audi Japan press conference

March 22 Zolder (B), WRT team presentation


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