Successes for the Audi R8 LMS in China and Great Britain
- GT3 sports car from Audi top at endurance races in Europe and Asia
- Audi R8 LMS GT2 as innovative race taxi in DTM program
- A sevenfold and a quintuple win for the Audi RS 3 LMS in TCR Europe
While the Audi R8 LMS in GT3 version and the Audi RS 3 LMS convinced with a total of five victories on the last weekend in May, the Audi R8 LMS GT2 as a race taxi with the innovative Space Drive concept attracted attention.
Audi R8 LMS GT3
1-2-3-4 victory in China: Audi’s customer teams dominated the second round of the China Endurance Championship. The FAW Audi Racing Team, which only entered the championship at the second race, won the 150-minute race at Ningbo with a one-lap advantage. Cheng Congfu and Chris Chia shared the number 1 Audi R8 LMS, with Chia in the cockpit at the start and leading the race. When Cheng Congfu took over, he returned to the track in second place. After a safety car period, he overtook the leader and kept extending his lead. Behind the winning Pro-Am driver duo, Hu Bo and Sun Jingzu for Absolute Racing finished second overall as the best amateur driver pairing. Behind them followed two Audi R8 LMS cars of Team Climax Racing with amateur drivers Liu Hangcheng/Wang Zhongwei/Li Lichao and Li Dongsheng/Zhou Liyaun/Li Donghui. Hu Bo collected enough points in the Audi Sport Asia Trophy for his second place to now lead this classification with a total of 2,045 points.
Second win of the season in Great Britain: The Audi customer team PB Racing was again the measure of all things at the third round of the British Endurance Championship. After having already won the second round, it prevailed in commanding fashion in the three-hour race at Oulton Park as well. The driver duo Andrew Bentley/Peter Erceg in the Audi R8 LMS lapped their closest rivals in an Aston Martin twice in the course of 100 race laps.
Victory just missed: In a thrilling endurance race of the International GT Open, the Audi customer team Eastalent Racing was narrowly beaten. Deviating from the usual format of two sprint races, the race series held its second round at Spa as an endurance race lasting two hours and 20 minutes. Simon Reicher and Audi Sport driver Christopher Haase shared the cockpit of the Audi R8 LMS. From grid position one, the Austrian privateer Reicher initially took the lead in Belgium for seven laps before dropping back. After two mandatory pit stops Christopher Haase used the final phase to attack. From position 14 on lap 37, the professional driver overtook rival after rival, was in third position on lap 44 and improved by a further place on lap 49. In the end, Haase was beaten only by McLaren driver Charlie Fagg by less than a car length and was just 67 thousandths of a second behind the Brit. Haase and Reicher thus moved up to third place in the standings.
Audi R8 LMS GT2
Within striking distance: In difficult conditions, Team PK Carsport clinched a podium finish with the Audi R8 LMS GT2 at the second round of the GT2 European Series. At the high altitude of the Red Bull Ring and in high outside temperatures, the race cars with naturally aspirated engines had a tough time against competitors with turbo power. Stienes Longin had started the second race from position five and handed the car over to his teammate and Belgian compatriot Peter Guelinckx at the pit stop. The number 1 Audi returned to the track in third place. After overtaking the Audi of Team LP Racing with Michael Doppelmayr, the way was clear for second place. Henry Hassid, who also competed for LP Racing in an Audi R8 LMS GT2 with Anthony Beltoise, was Guelinckx’s best pursuer at the finish: last year’s amateur champion completed the podium in third. Only three points behind the KTM driver duo Nicolas Saelens/Štefan Rosina, Anthony Beltoise/Henry Hassid are currently second in the standings as the best Audi customers. Another twelve points behind them are Peter Guelinckx/Stienes Longin in third place.
Innovative race taxi: The Schaeffler Innovation Taxi made its debut at the DTM season opener at Oschersleben. It is based on an Audi R8 LMS GT2. The highlight is the steer-by-wire steering system: A digitalized solution with electric drive replaces the classic steering column. People with disabilities are already benefiting from this idea in specially adapted models. But this innovation also enables new interior concepts, such as those illustrated in the Audi Sphere concepts. It is a prerequisite for automated driving at Level 4 and offers further advantages. VIP co-drivers will experience the race taxi realized by Audi and Schaeffler in a cooperation alongside professional drivers this season. At Oschersleben, Mike Rockenfeller chauffeured the guests around the circuit on Friday. Audi Sport driver Markus Winkelhock then took over this task. Among the guests in the passenger seat was ex-professional soccer player Tim Borowski.
Audi R8 LMS GT4
Second place in endurance race: In the second round of the China Endurance Championship, Team Winhere by HAR with Deng Yi and Feng Shaolun lost a potential GT4 class win due to an attack by an opponent. The team was initially in the lead on the Ningbo circuit when a competitor hit the Audi R8 LMS GT4, spinning it in the process. The driver duo made up lost ground over the course of two and a half hours of racing at Ningbo and ultimately crossed the finish line in second place in the GT4 category.
Good performance over 24-hour distance: Team Hitotsuyama Racing mastered the second and toughest round of the Super Taikyu Series with the Audi R8 LMS GT4 with a good result. At the Fuji 24 Hours, the six drivers Yuki Ano/Yuki Fujii/Seiya Jin/Shinichi Takagi/Sean Walkinshaw/Daisuke Yamawaki finished second in their class with the long-standing Audi customer team. With ten entrants, the GT4 category was the category with the second highest number of participants in the field.
Three second places: Pierre Arraou enjoyed a successful third race weekend in the Ultimate Cup. In the three sprints of the French racing series, which this time was hosted at Hockenheim, the Frenchman in the Audi R8 LMS GT4 of the Milan Competition team crossed the finish line in second place in his class on each occasion.
Audi RS 3 LMS (TCR)
Convincing result at the home race: Comtoyou Racing remained the benchmark on the third race weekend of the TCR Europe at Spa. Belgian junior driver Kobe Pauwels had secured pole position for Jean-Michel Baert’s team. In the first sprint, which the series held jointly with the Kumho TCR World Tour, Pauwels in the Audi RS 3 LMS collected the full 40 points as the best TCR Europe contender. Teammate Tom Coronel was second best driver in the European standings ahead of John Filippi in another Audi of the Belgian squad. The four other drivers Viktor Davidovski, Lewis Brown, Felipe Fernandez and Isaac Smith completed the success for the Audi RS 3 LMS’ 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 result in the TCR Europe. In the second race, Frenchman John Filippi achieved a sensation: for the first time this year, a TCR Europe driver finished ahead of the best Kumho TCR World Tour driver. Filippi won the 8-lap sprint in the Ardennes in an Audi ahead of Hyundai driver and World Tour starter Norbert Michelisz. Tom Coronel was second best TCR Europe competitor in third overall. With RC2 Racing Team’s Felipe Fernandez and Volcano Motorsport drivers Lewis Brown and Isaac Smith in the following positions, the result was a 1-2-3-4-5 of the Audi RS 3 LMS in the European standings. Coronel continues to lead the TCR Europe after three of seven rounds, with John Filippi second, 16 points behind. Another 43 points behind follows Kobe Pauwels who is the new third-placed driver.
Four trophies in Italy: In the second race of the Coppa Italia Turismo, Audi’s customer teams collected four trophies with the RS 3 LMS. Sandro Pelatti finished the first and second sprints at Varano in second place in the TCR category ahead of Kostyantyn Gutsul.
Class victory in Great Britain: Sheard Autosport managed a class win with the Audi RS 3 LMS in the British Endurance Championship at round three. Jonathan Beeson and George Heler finished the three-hour race at Oulton Park with a twelve-lap lead over their best pursuer.
Two podium results at Ningbo: The customer teams GYT Racing and 109 Racing achieved two class podium results with their two Audi RS 3 LMS cars at the second round of the China Endurance Championship. Shi Yinrong/Fang Kai/Chen Guanjun finished second in the TCE category ahead of Deng Baowei/Zhang Cheng/Wan Jincun after 150 minutes of racing at Ningbo.
Coming up next week
02–03/06 Detroit (USA), round 4, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge
02–03/06 Spa (B), round 2, Belcar Endurance Championship
02–04/06 Lausitzring (D), round 2, GTC Race
02–04/06 Le Castellet (F), round 2, GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup
03–04/06 Suzuka (J), round 3, Super GT
03–04/06 Le Castellet (F), round 2, GT4 European Series
03–04/06 Lausitzring (D), round 2, Spezial Tourenwagen Trophy