Audi Sport customer racing celebrates victories in two different championships.
Audi triumphs in Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup
The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT makes a successful start in the first Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup race weekend at Misano. Frédéric Vervisch and Laurens Vanthoor won the main race held under clear blue skies on Sunday afternoon. Starting from third on the grid, Verwisch drove the opening stint in the Audi R8 LMS with start number one around the 4.226-kilometer long track close to Rimini. After a thrilling battle for position, the WRT driver took the lead for the first time on lap eleven. Finish driver Vanthoor, who took over driving duties halfway through the race, crossed the finish line as winner after a flawless performance. The Belgian duo heads the standings in the drivers’ classification before the second race weekend at Brands Hatch at the beginning of May. Young driver Nicolaj Møller Madsen also had reason to cheer. The former Audi Sport TT Cup driver and current Phoenix Racing driver was best in the Silver Cup together with Markus Pommer at the end of the 60-minute sprint race.
Audi customer team wins DMV GTC season opener
Victorious weekend for Audi customer team HCB-Rutronik Racing at the DMV GTC season opener at Misano, Italy: Fabian Plentz dominated each of the three qualifying sessions after setting the fastest laps and was overall winners in the second race on Saturday afternoon. In addition, the Audi driver from Hannover celebrated another podium finish in the third race. He took second place together with team mate Tommy Tulpe in Saturday evening’s 60-minute night race.
Since the 2015 season, Teufel Audio has been an Audi partner on Miguel Molina’s RS5 DTM. Now Audi Sport uses its partner’s products in racing development as well. The loudspeaker models, Concept C and Consono 35 Mk3, transmit sounds from the acoustically insulated engine dynamometers in Neuburg an der Donau. The speaker boxes are located in the engineers’ control room. The linear adjustment of the loudspeakers provides developers with an opportunity of acoustical dyno monitoring for the first time and complements existing measurement methods.
Marcel Fässler in kart race with Fans
In Switzerland, Marcel Fässler’s fans had the opportunity to compete with their idol on a race track. The Audi driver was pitted against 27 participants who had either won a tipping contest or are members of his fan club on a kart track in Roggwil in his home country on Wednesday. “It was fun to see my supporters again and to experience a nice kart race with them,” said the three-time Le Mans winner.
Allan McNish visits awards ceremony
Long-time Audi driver Allan McNish was invited to the Segrave Trophy awards ceremony as a former winner of the accolade. The Scotsman received the prestigious award of the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) in 2008 and 2014. This year, the club honored motorcycle racer John McGuinness. “As a motorcycle fan, I watched his victory on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Tourist Trophy – that was fantastic,” McNish recalls. Other guests at the ceremony included racing legend Stirling Moss.
The FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) will start next weekend in the British Audi driver’s country.
Silverstone is the traditional venue of the FIA WEC season opener. What can the fans expect this year?
The race last year was incredibly thrilling, so I’m hoping for an open competition again this year. I can imagine the battle to become a real thriller again because all three manufacturers worked hard over the winter and did a lot of development work. We’re going to get an initial impression by the time we go into qualifying, although the race will be about a lot more than good individual lap times. That’s when consistency, reliability, strategy, teamwork and the performance of all three drivers will be crucial.
What personal goal have you set yourself?
I’d like to pick up where we left off in 2015 with my teammates, Lucas di Grassi and Loïc Duval. We’ve increasingly gelled as a team, which has been shown by our performances, too. Obviously, I’d like to clinch a nice result at my home round in front of family and friends. The Le Mans 24 Hours, though, is the most important event. I’ve been on podium there before and know what an overwhelming feeling that is. But this year, I expect it to be as hard as never before because the competitive pressure is enormous.
The British fans can watch the opener to a world championship at Silverstone. What are the best reasons to visit the FIA WEC?
Our world championship attracts the fans with an open paddock and a particularly friendly atmosphere. We drivers look forward to the fans and enjoy signing autographs. In the FIA WEC, the spectators in the grandstands witness one of the world’s fastest racing categories. Gripping battles are typical for our sport. Last year, the front runners overtook each other several times per lap. Anyone who’s ever watched a Le Mans prototype in fast turns like Becketts or Maggotts will be impressed – and all this at really fair ticket prices.
Coming up next week
15–16.04. Long Beach (USA), IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, round 3 15–17.04. Long Beach (USA), Pirelli World Challenge, round 5 15–17.04. Silverstone (GB), WEC, round 1 15–17.04. Oschersleben (D), ADAC GT Masters races 1 and 2 16–17.04. Nürburgring (D), qualification race for the 24-hour race 16–17.04. Ubrique-Benaocaz (E), Spanish Hill Climb Championship, round 2 16–17.04. Brands Hatch (GB), British GT Championship, round 1 15–17.04. Hockenheim (D), Spezial Tourenwagen Trophy, races 1 and 2