Monday 12 September 2011

Audi R8 LMS aims for another endurance race victory

Audi R8 LMS aims for another endurance
race victory

• Two Audi R8 LMS cars at the 12-hour race at Sepang (Malaysia)
• First racing commitment for Team WRT outside of Europe
• Two high-caliber driver line-ups

Ingolstadt, September 12, 2011 – Two Audi R8 LMS cars will contest the Malaysia
Merdeka Endurance Race (MMER) at Sepang on September 17. In its so far most
successful endurance race season the customer sport race car from Audi is to fight
for another victory there.
Overall victory at the Bathurst 12 Hours in Australia in February, at the 24-hour race
at Spa in Belgium in July and at the Zolder 24 Hours in September plus class victory
at the Nürburgring 24 Hours in June – this almost automatically sets the goal for the
last major endurance race of the Audi R8 LMS this season: In Malaysia the customer
sport race car of which more than 40 units have been sold worldwide to date is to
prove its qualities in front of Asian prospects by clinching another victory.
Last year Frank Biela/Darryl O’Young/Marco Werner celebrated second place at the
first run of the Audi R8 LMS in this race. All three drivers are part of the grid again
this year, albeit in a different formation. The two former Audi factory drivers Biela
and Werner will be supported by the Swiss Marcel Fässler who has won the Le Mans
24 Hours for Audi this year. The trio’s combined track record totals nine Le Mans
successes. The second Audi R8 LMS will be driven by another former Le Mans winner,
Seiji Ara. The Japanese will share the car with Darryl O’Young from HongKong and
Alex Yoong. The Malaysian enjoys a particular bonus at his home round on account
of his huge popularity as he is the only former Grand Prix racer in his country.
The two Audi R8 LMS cars are fielded by WRT. They are competing under the entry
submitted by the Belgian Audi Club as part of a factory-supported Audi customer
sport program. The Belgian team headed by the former racer Vincent Vosse clinched
the first two 24-hour overall victories of the R8 LMS at Spa and at Zolder.

The car that won at Spa, the R8 LMS with chassis number 218, will run at Sepang
with three European drivers at the wheel. The Asian drivers are sharing the second
WRT race car from Spa with chassis number 319. In Malaysia both race cars are
fielded with the same endurance specification as at the 24-hour races in Europe. To
make conditions in the cockpit more bearable in view of track temperatures above
30 degrees centigrade both cars have been slightly modified. An electrically
operated, air conditioning system with a weight of merely three kilograms conducts
cooled air into the driver’s helmet and via a tube in the cockpit also toward the
driver’s body. Marcel Fässler already tried out the system on the last weekend in
August at the fourth round of the Blancpain series at Magny-Cours and was
convinced of its effectiveness.
Big race with a brief tradition
The 12-hour race at Sepang is considered the major endurance race in Asia. The
original name “Merdeka Millennium Endurance” refers to the inaugural year and the
occasion: For the new millennium the Sepang International Circuit organized this
race for the first time in 2000 in order to be able to offer Malaysian drivers a new,
attractive competition. The name “Merdeka” stands for a square in Kuala Lumpur on
which the independence of the country was celebrated in 1957. The upcoming
twelfth running of the race has been scheduled to coincide with the beginning of the
Malaysia Day and the country-wide festivities on September 16.
Strong regional partner on board
The two Audi R8 LMS race cars feature different liveries. Seiji Ara, Darryl O’Young
and Alex Yoong compete in the blue-white colors of MediaCorp, the leading media
company in Singapore that offers a comprehensive portfolio ranging from TV, radio,
newspapers, magazines and films through to digital media. More than 50 products
are offered in four languages, English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil.
The second Audi R8 LMS for the European driver line-up sports the colors of Audi
Sport performance cars, the sportiest vehicles of AUDI AG. In addition, the
windshield and rear wings feature the inscriptions “Audi ultra lightweight
technology.” The road-going sports cars made of aluminum with the Audi Space
Frame (ASF) provide the direct basis for the GT3 model: 54 per cent of the parts
with which the Audi R8 LMS goes on the chase for times in racing stem from
production cars.

Strong rivals and special rules
The WRT team will be meeting with high-caliber opponents in the field of the 32
cars that have been provisionally entered. In the GT class, which is open to GT3
vehicles like the R8 LMS as well as to GT2 cars and ST-X/ST-1 models from Japan,
the sports cars of no less than seven brands are competing. Since no final rating of
the vehicles is available yet it is difficult to judge the relative balance of power.
Furthermore, the field is enhanced by many top-class international racers.
In addition to the two Audi cars of the WRT team, another race car bearing the four
rings will be on the grid. The HongKong based Absolute Racing team of the German
Team Director Ingo Matter has submitted an entry for an R8 LMS to be driven by the
Taiwanese Jeffrey Lee, Alexandre Imperatori from Switzerland and Aaron Lim from
The special characteristics of the Sepang event not only include the fact that the
race starts at twelve on Saturday and lasts until 24:00 hrs whereas the starting flag
was lowered at midnight last year. The qualifying format is unusual too. Every driver
has to contest a qualifying session. The aggregate of the respective fastest times of
all three drivers determines the grid position of the car. Furthermore, the rules
prescribe that the fastest driver per team also has to drive the starting stint. In
addition, the tire specifications of three nominated manufacturers are prescribed
for all entrants. Audi is working together with its reliable and highly capable partner
Michelin that was previously on board at endurance race victories at Bathurst, Spa
and Zolder as well as at the Nürburgring.
Topics of the weekend
• Will the Audi R8 LMS be able to clinch its fourth major endurance race victory in
the 2011 season?
• Will the Sepang-experienced racers Alex Yoong, Seiji Ara and Darryl O’Young be
able to bring their long-standing track knowledge to bear?
• What type of weather conditions in the sub-tropical region will influence the
race near the equator?

Quotes by the officials
Vincent Vosse (Teamchef WRT): “Our young team has contested many international
races before but never outside of Europe. We’re very pleased to be able to represent
the colors of the brand in this factory-supported customer sport commitment at
Sepang. At the 24-hour races at Spa and Zolder we celebrated two victories with the
Audi R8 LMS in the past six weeks. The entire squad learned a lot again in the
process. The challenge at Sepang though will be a completely new one. One of the
biggest tasks before the race is logistics. The competition itself is half as long as our
two most recent races in Belgium. But we’re running on a track that is new to us, the
weather conditions are completely different, there are new competitors on the grid
and the rules are different. The power ratios are not predictable. We’re also working
with a few drivers who have never competed for our team. But all of them have
proven their qualities in endurance racing at many events.”
Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers

Frank Biela (47/D), Audi Sport performance cars R8 LMS #1 (Belgian Audi Club)
• The five-time Le Mans winner was the runner-up at Sepang last year
• He most recently celebrated overall victory in the Audi TT RS at the Nürburgring
6 Hours
“When I competed for the first time at Sepang last year I was surprised to see how
big the event is. It enjoys high prestige in Asia and was organized very
professionally. In 2010 we were lucky not to have had to race on an extremely hot
day. Still, the permissible stint length of 75 minutes is pretty strenuous at track
temperatures of 30 degrees centigrade and the high humidity. It’s difficult to judge
our competitors in advance. I don’t know yet what cars will be competing in what
class and how the various models will be rated. That’s why I won’t make any
predictions. But after finishing as the runner-up last year I don’t have too many
goals left ...”

Marcel Fässler (35/CH), Audi Sport performance cars R8 LMS #1 (Belgian Audi
• Won the Le Mans 24 Hours in the Audi R18 TDI this year
• Celebrated the GT3 victory at the Nürburgring 24 Hours in the Audi R8 LMS
“Sepang is one of the tracks on which I’ve never been in a race car. But I did get a
first impression some years ago when I was driving a production-vehicle race taxi. I
really like this track. Naturally I’m intimately familiar with the Audi R8 LMS and the
WRT team for which I’m competing in the Blancpain Series. The Audi is a top-class
endurance race car, a quality it has proved by clinching major victories this year.
Personally, I particularly appreciate the fact that it is very easy to control in difficult
mixed weather conditions which makes it suitable for any type of weather. If we
should have Monsoon rain the R8 LMS will no doubt be the best car. In that case
important tactical decisions will have to be made as well: How long can we run on
slicks, when do we have to change to wets? Besides that, all endurance races, so
that goes for this one as well, have long become sprinting competitions in which
every second counts.”

Marco Werner (45/D), Audi Sport performance cars R8 LMS #1 (Belgian Audi
• Has won the Le Mans 24 Hours three times
• Was the runner-up in the Audi R8 LMS at Sepang last year
“The circuit at Sepang is a typical modern Grand Prix track with large run-off areas
and special cornering characteristics. The radii do differ very much but since most of
the turns are drawn inwardly you tend to enter them a bit too fast. Naturally there
are no ‘courage corners’ at such a facility of the type you can find on many
traditional tracks. Instead there are many other challenges: the humidity and the
blazing heat which is extreme for ‘man and material.’ Fortunately, the R8 LMS is an
extremely reliable car and has an engine that has been designed for high mileage of
20,000 kilometers. Team WRT that has just won two 24-hour races in Belgium in a
row is another known entity. I’m very much looking forward to this squad and to my
team-mates. They are experienced and successful endurance racers. The qualifying
format of adding up the best times of all three drivers is special. This ensures good
balance. I like this idea.”

Seiji Ara (37/J), MediaCorp Audi R8 LMS #2 (Belgian Audi Club)
• Won the Le Mans 24 Hours in the Audi R8 Le Mans sports car in 2004
• Is celebrating his debut in the Audi R8 LMS at Sepang
“I’m very much looking forward to this race because endurance racing is my passion.
The team spirit there is very special, not just among us drivers but among all team
members. Plus driving an Audi again that is called R8 is very special. After all, in
2004 we won the Le Mans 24 Hours in an LM-P car with the same name. Of course
the current R8 LMS is a completely different, production-derived race car. Driving an
Audi again is a dream. Hopefully we’ll have very good chances of battling for victory
with this car. By the way I learned how to win endurance races at Audi from Tom
Kristensen. We need to drive consistently, fast and without making mistakes. Even
though I don’t know this event yet I’m very familiar with the track. Every year we’re
competing in the Japanese GT Championship at Sepang and twice I’ve won there.”

Darryl O’Young (31/CN), MediaCorp Audi R8 LMS #2 (Belgian Audi Club)
• Won the 12-hour race in Malaysia in 2008
• Was on the podium there three times in a row
• Won the Bathurst 12 Hours in the Audi R8 LMS in February
“The race at Sepang is becoming increasingly professional and prestigious every
year. That’s why I’m happy to be on the grid for the fourth consecutive time. Twelve
months ago I took part in this race when the Audi R8 LMS contested it for the first
time and we finished in second place. Now we aim to move up by one more position.
At Bathurst we won the 12-hour race with the Audi R8 LMS this year whereas Team
WRT decided the Spa 24 Hours in its favor. I’d like to help Audi achieve a positive
conclusion of this endurance racing season that has been positive so far. That won’t
be easy. Malaysia is known for its extreme heat which I’ve never experienced in this
form in any other country. Like the cars, the drivers have to be able to cope with the
temperatures in the race. The Grand Prix circuit has all types of corners and some
very extreme braking areas. The Audi R8 LMS is particularly good in this discipline. I
think we’ll be in for a nice battle this year.”

Alex Yoong (35/MAL), MediaCorp Audi R8 LMS #2 (Belgian Audi Club)
• With four runs under his belt is the most experienced Audi racer at the 12-hour
race in Malaysia
• Is contesting his home round at the Grand Prix circuit
• Celebrated GT3 victory at the ILMC race at Zhuhai in the R8 LMS last year
“I love the Merdeka endurance race. It’s not only the major race in Malaysia but also
the perfect contest in which local and international teams can compete with each
other. Last year I also got to know the Audi R8 LMS in which we achieved class
victory at the ILMC race at Zhuhai. And just in August I contested the 6-hour race at
the Nürburgring in it. I also did some demo drives at Kuala Lumpur and in
Singapore. The R8 LMS is by far the easiest to drive GT3 model. Traction and the
brakes are excellent and the car is gentle on the tires. These are very important
qualities for being in contention for victory at the MMER. And belonging to a team
there that has won the Spa 24 Hours raises my confidence level even further. If
we’re able to stay clear of all trouble we should be able to battle for victory.”

The Audi drivers at Sepang
Seiji Ara (J): * May 05, 1974 in Chiba (J); residence: Kobe (J); married to Misato;
height: 1.68 m; weight: 63 kg; Audi driver 2002-2004, 2011; Sepang 12 Hours:
race: 0; victories: 0; pole positions: 0; fastest laps: 0.

Frank Biela (D): * August 02, 1964 in Neuss (D); residence: Monte Carlo (MC);
married to Patricia, one daughter (Isabelle), one son (Patrick); height: 1.83 m;
weight: 80 kg; Audi driver since 1991; Sepang 12 Hours: race: 1; victories: 0; pole
positions: 0; fastest laps: 0.

Marcel Fässler (CH): *May 27,1976 in Einsiedeln (CH); residence: Gross (CH);
married to Isabel, four daughters (Shana, Elin, Yael, Delia); height 1.78 m; weight
78 kg; Audi driver since 2008; Sepang 12 Hours: race: 0; victories: 0; pole positions:
0; fastest laps: 0.

Darryl O’Young (CN): * March 26, 1980 in Vancouver (CDN); residence: Hong Kong
(CN); single; height: 1.73 m; weight: 75 kg; Audi driver since 2010; Sepang 12
Hours: race: 3; victories: 1; pole positions: 2; fastest laps: 0.

Marco Werner (D): * April 27, 1966 in Dortmund (D); residence: Ermatingen (CH);
married to Annett, one daughter (Janina); height: 1,75 m; weight: 66 kg; Audi driver
since 2002; Sepang 12 Hours: race: 1; victories: 0; pole positions: 0; fastest laps: 0.

Alex Yoong (MAL): * July 20, 1976 in Kuala Lumpur (MAL); residence: Kuala Lumpur
(MAL); one son (Alister); height: 1,78 m; weight: 75 kg; Audi driver since 2010;
Sepang 12 Hours: race: 4; victories: 0; pole positions: 0; fastest laps: 1.

All victories of the Sepang 12 Hours (since 2000)
2000 Low/Singh/Lee (Proton)
2001 Wong/Sharhal/Lee (TVR)
2002 Albon/Lee/Hamman (Porsche)
2003 Yeo/Tzer-Jinn/Mohkzani (Porsche)
2004 Lew/Katoh/Fauzy (Honda)
2005 Djan Ley/Hashimoto/Ricciardello (Lotus)
2006 Djan Ley/French/Alang (Lotus)
2007 Mahathir/Herberger/Nielsen (Porsche)
2008 Nicholas/O’Young/Mok (Porsche)
2009 Kataoka/Orido/Adzmi (BMW)
2010 Hammam/Kox/Haase (Lamborghini)
Track info
Track length: 5.543 km
Race distance: 12 hours
Pole position 2010: Weng Sun Mok / Craig Baird / Richard Lietz (Porsche 911 GT3
RSR), 6m 17.346s (cumulative) = 158.646 km/h (August 06, 2010)
Fastest lap 2010: Tunku Hammam/Peter Kox/Christopher Haase (Lamborghini
Gallardo), 2m 07.061s = 157.049 km/h (August 07, 2010)
Alex Yoong about Sepang: “Sepang is a real driver’s track. It offers a great mix of
long, fast turns and long straights. And there are also some very tight corners. This
makes for nice overtaking opportunities on a length of 5.5 kilometers. As you’d
expect of a modern facility the tarmac is very even and not aggressive. However, due
to the heat it’s important to prudently use the tires and the brakes across the whole
Schedule (local times; CEST +6 hours)
Thursday, September 15
17:50–18:20 Free practice 1
21:30–22:00 Free practice 2
Friday, September 16
11:50–12:20 Qualifying 1
14:40–15:10 Qualifying 2
16:40–17:10 Qualifying 3
Saturday, September 17
12:00–24:00 Race (12 hours)

Audi Sport.

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