Friday 4 November 2011

Audi R18 TDI to compete in record market China

Audi R18 TDI to compete in record market

􀀁 Finale of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) at Zhuhai
􀀁 Record result for Audi in the world’s largest single market
􀀁 Grand appearance also for the Audi R8 LMS

Ingolstadt, November 4, 2011 – On November 13, at the close of a successful
motorsport season, highlighted by the tenth triumph at the Le Mans 24 Hours
and the title win in the DTM, Audi is contesting the 6-hour race at Zhuhai, China,
the country that has meanwhile evolved into AUDI AG’s largest sales market.
As early as in the first week of October the brand with the four rings equaled the
Chinese sales record from the entire year of 2010. In 2011, Audi expects sales to
reach the level of more than 300,000 vehicles there for the first time. For Audi, the
finale of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) at Zhuhai is thus a fitting occasion
to celebrate the Chinese record.
The brand’s success in China is also rooted in motorsport. In 1985 and 1986, the
legendary Audi quattro won the Hong Kong–Beijing Rally two consecutive times.
Audi competed with the A4 DTM at Shanghai twice. And on the debut of the sports
prototypes at Zhuhai last year the spectators were thrilled by the Audi R15 TDI.
Now the Chinese fans can look forward to the Audi R18 TDI, the vehicle that is
arguably the world’s most fascinating race car in terms of technology. It embodies
the company’s ultra-lightweight design technology and demonstrates downsizing at
the highest level. Although the engine’s cubic capacity was reduced from last year’s
5.5 to 3.7 liters the R18 TDI is hardly slower than its predecessor. And it
impressively proved that it is possible to win the Le Mans 24 Hours even with an
ultra-compact diesel engine. In 2006, Audi was the first automobile manufacturer
to win the Le Mans 24 Hours with a diesel-powered vehicle. Since June 2010 Audi
has been the first brand to have entered its name on the winners’ list of the world’s
most important endurance race with a V6 TDI engine. And the preparations for the
2012 season have long been in full swing at Audi Sport in Ingolstadt and
But before the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup becomes the FIA World Endurance
Championship next year, which upgrades the sports prototypes even further, Audi is
making every effort to close its successful motorsport season at Zhuhai with a
victory. There is no doubt about the Audi R18 TDI having the potential to do so. Most
recently, though, it had been lacking a tiny bit of the necessary racing luck.
Yet the fans at Zhuhai will not only have the opportunity to experience the two LMP1
sports cars that will again be driven by Timo Bernhard (D)/Marcel Fässler (CH) and
Tom Kristensen (DK)/Allan McNish (GB). The Audi R8 LMS, which has meanwhile
become one of the world’s most successful GT3 sports cars with a track record of
over 100 victories, will make a grand appearance at the ILMC finale as well. A total
of three R8 LMS, fielded by Asian Audi customer teams, will be on the grid. Audi
Sport customer racing China is relying on Edoardo Mortara (I)/Darryl O’Young
(HK)/Alexandre Imperatori (CH). Audi race experience China is competing with
Jeffrey Lee (CN)/Florian Gruber (D). Driving duties of the R8 LMS from Hitotsuyama
Racing are shared by Akihiro Tsuzuki (J)/Michael Kim (USA)/Carlo van Dam (NL).
Their rival in the GTC class is the former Formula One World Champion Mika
Häkkinen, among others.
Audi fans around the world will be able to watch the ILMC finale live on the internet
on The broadcast from Zhuhai will start at 11 a.m. local time (4 a.m. CET)
on November 13 and can be accessed at
Eurosport will broadcast the final stages of the race live from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m.

Topics of the weekend
􀀁 Will Audi Sport Team Joest manage to repeat their Le Mans victory?
􀀁 Will Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish be able to end their string of misfortune?
􀀁 Will the Audi R8 LMS be able to repeat its 2010 victory in the GTC class?

Quotes by the officials
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “The 6-hour race at Zhuhai marks
the close of a long, tough, but very successful season for Audi Sport. We won the
most important race of the year – the Le Mans 24 Hours – with the Audi R18 TDI, the
Spa 24 Hours with the R8 LMS and the DTM with the A4. We still have some
unfinished business in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. That’s why I’m wishing for
a race with a fair sporting competition at the end of the season and a bit more
fortune than we last had at Silverstone and Road Atlanta. It would be nice if we
could close the year with a success in what has meanwhile become the world’s
largest single market for Audi.”
Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): “When we arrived at
Zhuhai in 2010 everything was new to us. With the knowledge we gained last year
many things will be easier. We know what to expect. And we’re aiming to win the
season finale after not having had any chance at Road Atlanta due to too much
misfortune, aggravating situations and accidents. We were quick enough there and
are hoping to be able to convert that into victory in China. Twelve months ago the
Audi R15 TDI was fast at Zhuhai as well, even though it had not been designed for
slow corners. The current R18 TDI is even better in tight corners than the R15 TDI.
So good lap times should be possible. I’m expecting similarly close gaps as at all the
races this year. If, on top of that, we’ve got that necessary bit of racing luck and fair
play prevailing in the field, then I think we’ll have good chances.”
Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers
Timo Bernhard (30/D), Audi R18 TDI #1 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
􀀁 Most recently, at Road Atlanta, started from the front row together with Marcel
“I’ve never driven at Zhuhai before and have never been to China in my career before
either. That’s why I prepared for the track with onboard camera footage. On
location, you walk the track before you drive it the first time. As a professional,
you’re able to quickly implement the things you’ve learned in the cockpit. The many
tight turns after the long straights will be rough on the brakes. But that also makes
nice passes under braking possible. The fact that only 29 cars will be on the grid will
help us after almost twice as many were in the field most recently. The risk of
accidents thus clearly drops. Our lap times were absolutely competitive at the past
two races but we often found ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m
hoping for better racing luck in China. It’s nice that we’re arriving as a strong squad.
At Audi, we never give up and always support each other a lot.”

Marcel Fässler (35/CH), Audi R18 TDI #1 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
􀀁 Took the lead after eight laps at Road Atlanta
􀀁 Is aiming for his second victory of the season in the R18 TDI after the Le Mans
24 Hours
“I’m already very much looking forward to competing at Zhuhai again. When the
circuit was inaugurated in the nineteen-nineties we drove in the Formula Campus
there. Rolled sod alongside the track that would get caught in the radiator and
workmen with bamboo poles – that was definitely adventurous back in those days.
Meanwhile the track has established itself on the international calendar. The last
race I drove in China was in 2004, in the DTM, at Shanghai. It would be nice if we
could be as competitive with the Audi R18 TDI at the ILMC finale as we were at
Silverstone and Road Atlanta. At Silverstone we saw that the R18 TDI is very
competitive even in slow corners. Zhuhai has several very slow corners. We are
expecting strong competitors and I’m hoping for a fair and nice sporting decision at
the end of the season.”
Tom Kristensen (44/DK), Audi R18 TDI #2 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
􀀁 The eight-time Le Mans winner just barely missed victory last year
“I’m already looking forward to the last ILMC race in history. Next year the series
will become a world championship. Last year I drove at Zhuhai for the first time. The
track is narrow and has quick, longer straights and many very slow corners. The
brakes have to work hard and good traction is important. The crowd was incredibly
enthusiastic. I’m looking forward to seeing the fans again. As their interest in our
sport keeps growing, so do their knowledge and enthusiasm. And China has
meanwhile become the number one market for Audi in terms of deliveries. It’ll
definitely be a very exciting race for us.”
Allan McNish (41/GB), Audi R18 TDI #2 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
􀀁 Finished the race at Zhuhai as the runner-up last year
“While our rivals have decided the title among themselves I’ve got one goal left: to
win the last race of the year. After Audi was the winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours I’d
like to end what personally has been a rather frustrating year on a strong, positive
note. The Audi R18 TDI has been updated since Le Mans and at Silverstone and
Atlanta we saw that our pace was really good. We’ve always battled for victories but
they were thwarted by incidents. In China I’m again expecting a thrilling battle
between Peugeot and us, like last year. In 2010, a safety car cost us a lot of time
and our rival also made a few doubtful moves to slow us. Zhuhai has some narrow
corners whereas the R18 TDI tends to be designed more for fast turns like those at
Le Mans. But maybe the weather will also be playing a crucial role.”

The Audi drivers at Zhuhai
Timo Bernhard (D): *Feb 24, 1981 in Homburg (D); residence: Dittweiler (D);
married to Katharina; height 1.73 m; weight: 61 kg; Audi driver since 2009; ILMC
races: 8; ILMC victories: 0; pole positions: 1; fastest laps: 0; best result at Zhuhai: –;
victories at Zhuhai: –
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; ILMC races: 6; ILMC victories: 1; pole positions: 0;
fastest laps: 0; best result at Zhuhai: –; victories at Zhuhai: –
Tom Kristensen (DK): *Jul 07, 1967 in Hobro (DK); residence: Monaco (MC); single
(partner Hanne), two sons (Oliver and Oswald) and one daughter (Carla Marlou);
height: 1.74 m; weight: 72 kg; Audi driver since 2000; ILMC races: 9; ILMC victories:
0; pole positions: 0; fastest laps: 0; best result at Zhuhai: 2; victories at Zhuhai: –
Allan McNish (GB): *Dec 29, 1969 in Dumfries (GB); residence: Monaco (MC);
married to Kelly, one son (Finlay), one daughter (Charlotte Amelie); height: 1.65 m;
weight: 58 kg; Audi driver since 2000; ILMC races: 9; ILMC victories: 0; pole
positions: 1; fastest laps: 0; best result at Zhuhai: 2; victories at Zhuhai: –

All winners of the ILMC race at Zhuhai (since 2010)
2010 Franck Montagny/Stéphane Sarrazin (Peugeot)
Track info
Track length: 4.319 km
Race duration: 6 hours
Pole position 2010: Stéphane Sarrazin (Peugeot), 1m 21.868s = 189.920 km/h
(November 06, 2010)
Fastest lap 2010: Franck Montagny (Peugeot), 1m 22.296s = 188,933 km/h
(November 07, 2010)
Tom Kristensen about Zhuhai: “Zhuhai is a friendly city, and it is much larger than
you think. You travel there by ship via Hong Kong. The temperatures in November
are perfect with a little humidity. The track is very tight and the circuit layout not
exactly fluid. This is due to the slow corners at the end of the long straights. It’s also
very hard on the brakes. You can take the fast corners 2 and 6 flat out. I like corners
10 and 14 the most. The turn 5 chicane is very aggressive and gives good feedback
to the cockpit. The pit lane entry is the quickest one on the whole calendar. At
Zhuhai it’s about having very high-quality and durable brakes combined with good
traction and acceleration. In a nutshell: I’m convinced that the Audi R18 TDI is the
best solution ...”

ILMC LMP1 manufacturers standings after 6 of 7 rounds:
1 Peugeot, 182 points; 2 Audi, 108
ILMC LMP1 team standings after 6 of 7 rounds:
1 Peugeot Sport Total, 97 points; 2 Audi Sport Team Joest, 74; 3 Team Oreca
Matmut, 47; 4 Rebellion Racing, 41; 5 Oak Racing, 25; 6 Aston Martin Racing, 15
Schedule (local times)
Friday, November 11
10:30–12:00 Free practice 1
15:00–16:00 Free practice 2
Saturday, November 12
10:15–11:15 Free practice 3
14:15–14:35 Qualifying (GT vehicles)
14:50–15:10 Qualifying (prototypes)
Sunday, November 13
08:00–08:20 Warm-up
11:00–17:00 Race

Audi Sport.

No comments:

Post a Comment