Sunday 26 February 2012

12 H. Bathurst: Audi R8 LMS defends title at Bathurst




Audi R8 LMS defends title at Bathurst

• Christopher Mies/Darryl O’Young celebrate second victory in Australia
• Christer Jöns and Phoenix Racing win on making their Bathurst debut
• Performances by Mark Eddy/Craig Lowndes/Warren Luff went
unrewarded

Ingolstadt/Bathurst, February 26, 2012 – The Audi R8 LMS remains “King of the
Mountain” at Bathurst. On Australia’s most challenging race track the successful
GT3 sports car from Audi Sport customer racing defended its title at the 12-hour
race. Christer Jöns (D), Christopher Mies (D) and Darryl O’Young (HK) won the
endurance classic at Mount Panorama in extremely difficult conditions. Rain, fog,
several lead changes and numerous safety car periods repeatedly interrupted the
young trio’s race rhythm. But in the end they won with a 1m 13s advantage.
Audi remains unbeaten at Bathurst: For the second time in succession, the R8 LMS
prevailed in the most important GT endurance race on the fifth continent.
Conditions were far more difficult than they had been a year ago. Varying intensities
of rain and dense fog at times caused a number of spins, excursions and yellow
periods. The first four hours of the race alone saw the three different vehicles take
turns in leading the race. From the fourth hour onward, Phoenix Racing prevailed at
the front. Both R8 LMS cars of the squad from Meuspath (Germany) fought a
thrilling battle for the top position. Even a spin and an excursion into the gravel trap
that temporarily relegated the black number “1” R8 LMS to third place could not
prevent Jöns/Mies/O’Young from taking victory. On Saturday, the trio had already
been the measure of all things by setting the fastest time in qualifying and
capturing position one on the grid. Victory on Sunday completed a perfect weekend.
The triumph at Bathurst marked as much as the 119th win in the three-year career of
Audi’s successful customer race car.
The second Audi R8 LMS from Phoenix Racing was less fortunate. The Australian trio
Warren Luff/Craig Lowndes/Mark Eddy had initially shown a strong performance,
advancing to the front of the field after having started from fifth place. In the
fourth and fifth hour of the race the number “2” R8 LMS was even the leading car. A
five-minute time penalty for a severed refueling hose though caused the white Audi
to lose four laps at about the race’s mid-point. Afterward, on lap 157, Mark Eddy
lost control of his car in dense fog and heavy rain. He crashed into a concrete wall
with the left side of the car on “The Dipper” track section. He was forced to retire
with front and rear suspension damage. As early as on lap 60 the Audi R8 LMS of
Team United Autosports had become victim to the treacherous conditions as well.
Frank Yu from Hong Kong spun and damaged the frame of the vehicle on hitting a
wall. Neither of the two drivers sustained any injuries.
Audi has now won four major endurance races within twelve months, having
recorded two successes at the Bathurst 12 Hours and one victory each at the 24-
hour races on the Belgian circuits at Spa and Zolder, plus GT3 class victory at the
Nürburgring 24 Hours. This year, the 24-hour classics in the Eifel and the Ardennes
are again on the R8 LMS’ agenda. The coming weekend will also see the start of the
first of numerous GT3 championships in the 2012 season in which Audi customer
sport teams are represented. At Adelaide, Australia, Mark Eddy will be competing as
the title defender on the first weekend in March. Together with his team-mate
Warren Luff he is aiming to make up in the R8 LMS for what he unfortunately was
unable to achieve at Bathurst – the leap onto the podium.
Quotes after the race
Romolo Liebchen (Head of Customer Sport quattro GmbH): “After this weekend we
can be more than happy because we experienced a pretty rough day. We were
fighting for twelve hours straight, from the beginning through to the end, and we
did so in difficult overall conditions. We won but on the other hand two of the Audi
cars did not finish due to accidents – including our strong Australian car. In the end,
one R8 LMS made it, and our youngsters prevailed with a really cool showing. A
tremendous performance! The cars were running without any problem from the first
meter on. They’d been perfectly prepared at home and were perfectly fielded by
Phoenix Racing. And it’s nice for us to be able to beat our core competitors and to
finish ahead of Mercedes and Ferrari. That does fill us with a bit of pride. The two
24-hour races at the Nürburgring and at Spa are the next big aims for the R8 LMS.
In parallel, we’ll soon be starting into about 20 championships worldwide where the
R8 LMS will be fielded.”
Ernst Moser (Team Director Phoenix Racing): “The balanced performance of the
victorious driver trio was the secret of success. They were all very good because
conditions at Bathurst were really difficult. The competition was lying in wait up to
the final lap. A big ‘well done’ to the drivers and to my squad. In terms of strategy
we didn’t have an advantage throughout, as some rivals repeatedly managed to
make up ground in yellow periods. But we were always able to recover. We all love
endurance races. After the victories at the Nürburgring and at Spa, our team’s track
record now shows a success at Bathurst as well. Our second car was in contention for
victory too. Craig and Warren consistently remained without mistakes.
Unfortunately, Mark reached the limit in rain. Heavily touching the wall after a small
mistake is a really tough experience. Otherwise, the car would also have been at the
very front in the end. They were leading the race some of the time. They are three
tremendous guys. I’d really love to see them travel to Germany and drive an
endurance race at the Nürburgring with us some day.”
Christer Jöns (Audi Top Service R8 LMS #1)
“I can hardly believe it! I truly enjoyed watching the scenes at the end of the race on
TV once more. This is my first victory in the Audi R8 LMS, and on my Bathurst debut
of all times. Darryl (O’Young) safely drove the car to the finish line in the end. That
was really a rough, challenging race with a lot of unknown quantities. The weather
was unpredictable and the track conditions kept changing. And it was a true battle
all the way up to the end.”
Christopher Mies (Audi Top Service R8 LMS #1)
“This victory is fantastic because my race wasn’t exactly easy. A Ferrari overtook us
early on. Christer (Jöns) took over the car later and then I was driving in rain again.
We were running far in front when my rear wheels locked when I was braking into
the last turn. So I slipped into the gravel trap. We truly experienced some highs and
lows. In the end, we won with a lead of a little over a minute. In rain we were five
seconds faster some of the time than our sister car and the Mercedes that
ultimately finished as the runner-up. We also made the quickest pit stops. At the
end, I had tears in my eyes because this victory was the result of an ultra-tough
battle in incredibly bad weather against strong rivals.”
Darryl O’Young (Audi Top Service R8 LMS #1)
“The team was tremendous. The cooperation between quattro GmbH and Phoenix
Racing was fantastic. As well as for Phoenix, Australia was new territory for Christer
Jöns, who did a first-class job of driving. For me, it’s been one of my toughest races
due to the constantly changing conditions. There was a lot of hydroplaning and at
times we had to drive on slicks in the rain. A fantastic showing by all. Many thanks
from me to the whole squad.”

Mark Eddy (Audi Finance R8 LMS #2)
“Working with Phoenix Racing was great fun. We were competitive throughout the
weekend and the team did a really good job. In the race both Audi cars were running
at the front some of the time but as the race progressed conditions became more
difficult due to rain and fog. Unfortunately, I then had the accident on the mountain
and we retired. I let a warning message on the cockpit display briefly distract me.
Now I’m hoping for better luck next weekend when the Australian GT Championship
opens at which I’m competing with my own R8 LMS.”
Craig Lowndes (Audi Finance R8 LMS #2)
“It was great having contested a race again in the Audi R8 LMS. Phoenix Racing is
top-notch and gave us a very warm welcome. And the R8 LMS is simply a sensational
car that is very pleasant to drive and that you don’t mind trusting. Up to the accident
we had an outstanding weekend. The conditions were pretty difficult and it’s not
easy anyway to be quick at Mount Panorama. Mark Eddy was simply struck by
misfortune in the fog. I enjoyed driving again for Audi Sport customer racing. I hope
this wasn’t the last run.”
Warren Luff (Audi Finance R8 LMS #2)
“Even though the weekend didn’t end the way we’d been hoping it would it was
great driving with Phoenix Racing. Our speed during the first half of the race was
good and we were already faster than at our lap record last year. The car was very
quick and consistent. When the weather changed Mark (Eddy) unfortunately had an
accident on the mountain. But that’s part of racing too. Mark and I are now looking
forward to the next weekend. That’s when his title defense in the Australian GT
Championship starts and I’ll be running together with him. Hopefully, we’ll be at
the very front then in the Audi R8 LMS.”

Race results
1 Jöns/Mies/O’Young (Audi R8 LMS), 270 laps in 12h 03m 31.375s
2 Slade/Bleekemolen/Hackett/Curtis (Mercedes) + 1m 13.284s
3 Sun/Baird/Griffin (Ferrari) - 2 laps
4 Tinkler/Johnson/Richards (Porsche) - 16 laps
5 O’Donnell/Niall/McLennon (Porsche) - 26 laps
6 Alford/Leemhuis/Beechey (Porsche) - 33 laps
7 Pye/Barbour/Pither (Holden) - 39 laps
8 Thomlinson/Dippie/Maddren (Porsche) - 42 laps
9 Thomson/Klien/Harley (Lotus) - 43 laps
10 Newman/Lillie/Atkinson (Holden) - 48 laps
Audi Sport.

12 H. Bathurst: Phoenix Racing-Audi wins Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour






Phoenix Racing-Audi wins Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour

BATHURST (February 26th, 2012) – The number 1-Phoenix Racing-Audi has won the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour. In the Australian endurance race at the scenic and challenging Mount Panorama circuit, its drivers Christopher Mies, Darryl O’Young and Christer Joens completed a total of 270 laps, most of them in very difficult conditions, notching up the second straight win for Audi in the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour. The 6.213 kilometres long sweeping, fast and undulating track already being challenging enough in itself, heavy rain for the better part of the race did more than its best to spice up the action even more. The number 20-Erebus Racing-Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG (Tim Slade, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Peter Hackett, Bret Curtis) ended up second, only 1.13.2838 minutes down on the winners, followed by the number 33-Clearwater Racing-Ferrari 458 Italia (Weng Mok, Craig Baird, Matt Griffin) in third place, two laps down.

After practice and qualifying in bright sunshine, weather conditions dramatically changed for race day. As scheduled, the race got underway at 6.15 am under heavy clouds, but still in the dry. The first drizzle then set in after two hours and soon turned into a genuine downpour. Pretty soon, conditions had their effects on the field too as the first drivers spun off the track, some of them damaging their cars beyond repair. Among them were, in numerical order, the number 21-Black Falcon-Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG (Rob Wilson, Sean-Paul Breslin, Vimal Mehta, Sean-Patrick Breslin)number 22-United Autosport-Audi R8 LMS (Mark Patterson, Alain Li, Frank Yu) and the number 23-JBS-Lamborghini LP600 (Roger Lago, David Russell, Wayne Park).

One of the early front-runners, the number 17-Il Bello Rosso-Ferrari (Allan Simonsen, Dominik Farnbacher, John Bowe, Peter Edwards) had problems of a different kind, firstly running out of fuel and then, after a spirited drive during which Simonsen set a new outright race lap record at Mount Panorama in 2.06.3311 minutes, eventually retired due to electrical trouble. Just an hour past the halfway-mark, the event was also over for the number 2-Phoenix Racing-Audi R8 LMS (Craig Lowndes, Warren Luff, Mark Eddy) as well following an impact into the barriers.

Until that point, the battle for the lead had largely been a three-way affair between the number 1 and 2-Audis and the number 20-Mercedes-Benz, the three at times only half a second apart, making for some highly spectacular racing. The Audi’s retirement promoted the number 33-Clearwater Racing-Ferrari up into the top three where it remained for the balance of the race.

Victory in class B for GT3 Cup cars went to the number 3-Hunter Sports Group-Porsche 997 GT3 Cup (Nathan Tinkler, Steven Johnson, Steven Richards) from the number 65-Southern Cross Lubes-Porsche 997 GT3 Cup (Scott O’Connell, Brett Niall, Simon McLennon), both teams putting in a fine performance to finish fourth and fifth overall respectively. Class C GT4 honours were taken by the number 54-Donut King-Nissan R35 GTR (Anthony Alford, Peter Leemhuis, Adam Beechey) who led their class for most of the race to win from the number 62-queenslandhouseandland.com-Lotus Exige that ex-Formula 1-driver Christian Klien shared with team owner/driver Robert Thomson and lady racer Sarah Harley. The number 53-Boss Plaster-Holden HSV GTS (Rick Newman, Dean Lillie, James Atkinson) more than made up for its misfortune in qualifying by winning class D (Production-high performance) with a huge margin. The number 50-Racer Industries-Holden HSV VX-R (Scott Pye, Elliot Barbour, Chris Pither, Ryan McLeod) came out on top in class E (Production-performance), while the Dutch-Australian line-up of Ivo Breukers, Henk Thijssen and Martin Bailey were victorious in the Invitational class with their www.24hseries.com/Red Camel Racing-SEAT Leon TDI, carrying starting number 14.

Dutch agency CREVENTIC, specialised in promoting endurance races and, among others, initiator, organiser and promoter of the Dunlop 24H DUBAI, first-ever endurance race in the Gulf region, had teamed up with the organisation of the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour and served as co-promoter for the first time. It helped attract more foreign teams to this year’s Australian endurance race. “We have seen a very spectacular race in which the battle for overall victory went down to the wire”, says CREVENTIC’s Gerrie Willems. “For us, it was a pleasure to have been involved in the promotion of this event, which certainly deserves to become even better-known throughout the world. Its tie-in with our 24H SERIES can add to that.” The next 24H SERIES event is the 24H BARCELONA, September 7th till 9th.
Gerrie Willems/Creventic.

Saturday 25 February 2012

Phoenix-Audi on pole for Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour





Phoenix-Audi on pole for Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour

BATHURST (February 25th, 2012) – One year after the 1-2 for Audi in the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour, an Audi R8 LMS is on pole position again for this year’s running of the Australian endurance race at the beautiful Mount Panorama circuit. A total qualifying time of 6.28.65 minutes, an aggregate of the fastest individual lap times set by the three drivers Christer Joens, Christopher Mies (both Germany) and Darryl O’Young /Hong Kong) saw the number 1-Audi, entered by German team Phoenix Racing, qualify on pole position. The Audi is followed by a pair of Ferrari 458 Italias, with the number 17-Maranello Motorsport entry (Allan Simonsen, Dominik Farnbacher, John Bowe, Peter Edwards) in second place and the identical number 33-Clearwater Racing car (Weng Mok, Craig Baird, Matt Griffin) in third place.

Fourth place on the grid is for the number 23-JBS Lamborghini (Roger Lago, David Russell, Wayne Park), with the second Phoenix Racing Audi (Craig Lowndes, Warren Luff, Mark Eddy) ending up fifth, followed by Erebus Racing’s Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG (Tim Slade, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Peter Hackett, Bret Curtis) in sixth place.

Qualifying for the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour was split into two sessions. There were 90 minutes of qualifying early on Saturday morning, followed by a second session of another 30 minutes to round out the day’s activities late in the afternoon. It turned out that for most of the teams, the times set in the morning session were the fastest and were used to determine their starting grid positions as a result. The only team to do better in the afternoon was German team Black Falcon Racing, that saw its number 21-Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG move up from tenth to ninth after the second session.

Obviously, sprits were upbeat within the Phoenix Racing team after claiming pole position for tomorrow’s race. “Last year, we started from second place and we won. This year, our chances are even better”, said Christopher Mies. Darryl O’Young commented: “The car is good, preparation is good, but we still have got a long race ahead of us.” While Mies and O’Young were already part of last year’s winning team, Christer Joens is making his debut in Bathurst. “I am very excited. I have done many laps on the simulator and seen a lot of video footage, but nothing beats the real thing”, he said.

The race starts at 6.15 h local time tomorrow (Saturday, 20.15 h CET) and finishes at 18.15 h local time (Sunday, 8.15 h CET). Live timing and streaming can be found on the event website: www.bathurst12hour.com

Gerrie Willems.

WTCC: 1500 KMS OF TEST FOR THE FORD FOCUS



1500 KMS OF TEST FOR THE FORD FOCUS

Team Aon completed a comprehensive test schedule ahead of their first WTCC campaign with the 1.6 litre turbocharged Ford Focus. The team and drivers Tom Chilton and James Nash, spent three different test sessions in Spain (Valencia and Guadix) and Portugal (Estoril), working on engine mapping, focusing on engine durability and getting used to the new chassis.
They managed to complete over 1500 kms without any issues and now look forward to the start of the season.
Having developed the car over the off season and after putting in a vast amount of mileage during the three test sessions, Tom Chilton said: "I'm very happy with the work we have done so far with the new car, the package is improving day by day which is really positive. The WTCC car is an evolution of the BTCC car, and the chassis is sensitive to small changes which is a good sign we have built a great race car."
Driving the car the first time and getting to know Team Aon, James Nash added: "I've bonded with the team well over the three test sessions and we've had a really positive test schedule. The team put a lot of miles on the car and we worked on a variety of different components. The chassis and engine feels great - I can't wait to get out on track at Monza."

Team Aon's WTCC Ford Focus completed 1500 km during the winter tests

LUKOIL RACING COMPLETE TEST IN PORTUGAL
The Lukoil Racing Team have also completed their pre-season test programme with two days at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão.
Once again Gabriele Tarquini and Aleksei Dudukalo took turns at the wheel of the team's SEAT León 1.6 turbo car, under the supervision of SEAT Sport's Chief engineer Xavier Serra.
"It was a very useful test," Tarquini explained. "We ran for more than 2000 km with the same engine without the least technical issue. It was very encouraging, as engine reliability will be everybody's priority in 2012. I have mainly worked on the engine mapping, keeping on with the work we had started in Spain. I always drove on used tyres and did not care too much about the chassis set-up, because we already have enough data."
Dudukalo focused on taking the most out new tyres, in order to improve his qualifying performances.
The team will hit the track again at Monza on March 8, on the official testing day.
"At Portimão we have made another step forward and we have also indentified what to do for further improving the engine efficiency. The mapping for Monza have been decided and we will use the WTCC test day to fix the final details," Tarquini concluded.

Dudukalo and Tarquini with SEAT Sport's Chief Engineer Xavier Serra

COUNTDOWN: - 16 DAYS

Fabio Ravaioli - FIA WTCC Media Delegate

12 H. Bathurst: Audi R8 LMS on grid positions one and five




Audi R8 LMS on grid positions one and five

• Best time for Jöns/Mies/O’Young in Australia
• Eddy/Lowndes/Luff to start from third row at Bathurst
• Quickest trio donates 5,000-dollar prize money to a charity

Ingolstadt/Bathurst, February 25, 2012 – Phoenix Racing managed to score an
excellent result in qualifying for the Bathurst 12 Hours in unusual conditions. The
six racers had to lap the challenging circuit in Australia fast but not too fast as
those who stay below a specified minimum time at Mount Panorama in qualifying
have to compete in the race with ballast. Heavy traffic on the circuit and two
kangaroos that crossed the track in the first qualifying session made the task even
more difficult.
Kangaroo meets kangaroo: The first encounter of the black number “1” Audi R8 LMS
sporting a kangaroo design with a real pouched mammal occurred right at the
beginning of the first qualifying session. Christopher Mies (D) was on his warm-up lap
when two of the Australian marsupials were hobbling across the track in front of him.
Unfazed, the 22-year-old professional racer managed to set a lap time of 2m
09.1254s on lap three of an unusual qualifying session: The best time set by each of
the three drivers of a vehicle is aggregated for the starting grid. The other special
feature of this format: Those who require less than 2m 08s per lap have to run with 50
kilograms of ballast in the race. In addition, this best time is cancelled.
Christer Jöns (D), who as Mies’ team-mate is running at Bathurst for the first time,
immediately achieved a time of 2m 10.3129s despite heavy traffic on the track. Darryl
O’Young from Hong Kong, who won last year’s race together with Christopher Mies,
completed the qualifying session for car number “1” with a time of 2m 09.2213s. The
international driver squad thus secured the pole position. The team donated the prize
money of 5,000 Australian dollars for the best time in qualifying to a charity. The sum
will go to the Inwood family from Bathurst who will be burdened by exceptional costs
due to an impending organ transplant.

The second Audi R8 LMS with the Australian driver trio completed the team’s success.
Mark Eddy/Craig Lowndes/Warren Luff, who started from position one at Bathurst last
year, drove their white number “2” R8 LMS to grid position five. The fastest lap of the
weekend in an Audi was achieved by Warren Luff. He lapped the 6.213-kilometer
roller-coaster circuit in 2m 08.9396s. Craig Lowndes achieved a time of 2m 10.0394s.
Team United Autosports with its drivers Alain Li/Mark Patterson/Frank Yu will start
into the race in another Audi R8 LMS from position seven.
In the afternoon’s second qualifying session in hotter outside temperatures no further
lap time improvements were possible. At the same time, Team Phoenix Racing which
is competing in Australia for the first time saved valuable sets of tires for the race. The
Bathurst 12 Hours will start on Sunday at 6:15, local time (Saturday night 20:15
Central European time). All fans can watch the race on www.audi.tv by live streaming
provided by the organizer.
Quotes after qualifying
Romolo Liebchen (Head of Customer Sport quattro GmbH): “We successfully
mastered a challenging task at Bathurst. We weren’t allowed to break the sound
barrier of 2m 08s yet had to fight for every tenth as our rivals were aiming to get as
close to this time as possible too. One opponent even beat the mark and now has to
add 50 kilos of ballast. In heavy traffic on the narrow track our drivers hardly caught a
free lap. We deliberately avoided risks and now we’re in front despite our conservative
strategy. ‘Well done’ to Christer Jöns, Christopher Mies and Darryl O’Young who
achieved the fastest time with a balanced performance. We also know though that in
the 12 racing hours on Sunday endurance qualities count, not grid positions. We’re
extremely well prepared for this endurance race with the R8 LMS.”
Ernst Moser (Team Director Phoenix Racing): “The aim was for all drivers to be in a
lap time window of 2m 08.5s to 2m 09.5s. We didn’t quite make that but came
relatively close. When Mark (Eddy) was driving he repeatedly saw red flags, so he
couldn’t improve his time of 2m 13.2949s. Afterwards, we didn’t take any more risks.
We’re pleased with our grid positions. For Phoenix Racing, Bathurst is a nice new
challenge which we truly enjoy. With its combinations of turns and 170 meters of
vertical difference it reminds us of the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. We feel very
comfortable in Australia.”

Christer Jöns (Audi Top Service R8 LMS #1)
“Grid position one is very nice. My team-mates did a really good job. Unfortunately, I
wasn’t able to take advantage of the tires’ top performance because I was driving in
traffic. I set my personal best time when the tires had started degrading. Still, the
aggregate of our times was enough for the best result.”
Christopher Mies (Audi Top Service R8 LMS #1)
“On my first run at Bathurst in a year I saw the kangaroos in qualifying of all times.
But I wasn’t on a flying lap yet so nothing happened. When I started, the tire pressure
was a bit too low. We then improved that for Darryl (O’Young) and Christer (Jöns) once
more. Still, I was driving a pretty decent time on the track that at first was relatively
clear. Afterwards, Christer and Darryl did very good laps as well. I believe we’ve got an
extremely well prepared car for the race.”
Darryl O’Young (Audi Top Service R8 LMS #1)
“Fortunately, I caught a free lap and I also achieved a nice time in the process. I really
like the qualifying format with the aggregation of the times set by all three drivers.
That’s true team sport. And each one of us showed a good performance today.”
Mark Eddy (Audi Finance R8 LMS #2)
“In the end, the qualifying result was quite okay because the conditions were really
difficult: a lot of cars on track, several red flags. So we decided not to take any more
risks and to instead save tires for the race. The car feels very good and we’ll be able to
drive a good rhythm with it in the race. I think that strategy will also be very crucial in
the end.”
Craig Lowndes (Audi Finance R8 LMS #2)
“It’s a great feeling to be sitting in the Audi R8 LMS again. Unfortunately, traffic was
very heavy in qualifying. Especially up on the hill in the narrow track sections
overtaking is hardly possible. After a few changes since the free practice, the R8 LMS
feels fantastic. The rear is now nice and stable particularly on the fast sections. I feel
really comfortable in the car. The Audi is reliable, consistent and easy to drive. That’s
good for a 12-hour race.”
Warren Luff (Audi Finance R8 LMS #2)
“The Audi R8 LMS’ balance is top-notch. The guys improved the car once more from
Friday to Saturday. We’re all very happy and confident to have a fast car for the race.
Saturday wasn’t so important. Sunday is the day that counts.”

Qualifying results
1 Jöns/Mies/O’Young (Audi R8 LMS) 6m 28.65s
2 Simonsen/Farnbacher/Bowe (Ferrari) 6m 29.61s
3 Sun/Baird/Griffin (Ferrari) 6m 29.63s
4 Lago/Russell/Park/Edwards (Lamborghini) 6m 29.73s
5 Eddy/Lowndes/Luff (Audi R8 LMS) 6m 32.25s
6 Slade/Bleekemolen/Hackett/Curtis (Mercedes) 6m 39.68s
7 Li/Patterson/Yu (Audi) 6m 45.41s
8 Tinkler/Johnson/Richards (Porsche) 6m 54.20s
9 O’Donnell/Niall/McLennon (Porsche) 7m 10.39s
10 Wilson/Breslin/Mehta/Breslin (Mercedes) 7m 11.39s
Audi Sport.

Friday 24 February 2012

ADAC GT Masters: Only two available starting positions






ADAC GT Masters: Only two available starting positions

The starting field of the ADAC ​​GT Masters Championship for the 2012 season is almost complete. So far, the second largest automobile club in the world 42 nominations for the "league of super sports car" and received only two free places available. A total of 44 places will be awarded.

A few days before the official closing date of first March, the ADAC ​​GT Masters Championship in 2012 and attractive brand variety can hardly be surpassed. The latest addition to the starting field are Prosperia uhc speed with the Audi R8 LMS Ultra, lambda performance with the Ford GT that Need for Speed ​​Team Schubert with the BMW Z4 and a BMW ALPINA B6 with defending champion Dino Lunardi (F, 33) and the Belgian Maxime Martin (25).

The best ever, the ADAC ​​GT Masters Championship already in the portfolio strength. With Audi, BMW, BMW ALPINA, Corvette, Ferrari, Ford GT, Lamborghini, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and the new players of Aston Martin, Chevrolet Camaro, McLaren, Nissan GT-R in the 2012 season super sports cars of at least 13 different brands in the grid.

Interested teams for the final two starting positions of the ADAC GT Masters in 2012, until 1 March enroll online only. To ensure a most interesting and diverse starting field, the ADAC awarded the final grid positions. The start to the season of the FIA ​​GT Championship takes place from 30 March to 1 April at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben instead. In individual events, even as guest drivers will be possible
ADAC GT Masters Presse.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Dual programme for IMSA Performance Matmut team


Dual programme for IMSA Performance Matmut team
The IMSA Performance Matmut team, defending champions of LM GTE Am in the Le Mans Series, will defend his title with a Porsche 997 in 2012 and will run in parallel in the GT Open championship. The trophy awarded at the end of the Le Mans Series season granted an invitation to the LM GTE Am class for the next 24 Hours of Le Mans. The team based in Rouen, have a second car is on the list of reservists for LM GTE Pro.

The owner-driver Raymond Narac, who has a Porsche dealership in Rouen, will focus mainly GT Open (it will clash only the first two races of the European Le Mans Series) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He will leave it up to Nicolas Armindo, with whom he won the title in the Le Mans Series, the task of defending the honours of the team in European Le Mans Series with Anthony Pons, who won the 'V de V' championship 2011. The three drivers will be gather at Le Mans in an attempt to repeat the victory of 2007. Patrick Pilet, Porsche factory driver, will support Raymond Narac in GT Open and is registered as a race driver of the reserve car in LM GTE Pro.

Nicolas Armindo, champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup in Germany in 2010, has ambitions for the 2012 season: “It is no secret that for everyone at IMSA Performance Matmut the priority remains the Le Mans 24 Hours. We have a very solid base after finishing fifth there with this car last year. We have in hand all the tools to show well at La Sarthe. In the course of a year I have raced at the Le Mans 24 Hours and, just a few weeks ago, the Daytona 24 Hours so I have learnt a lot on a personal basis. The team also operates at a fantastic level; remember the effort it put in to repair the car following free practice at last year’s Le Mans? Currently it’s one of the best GT teams around.”

The team from Rouen will run in LM GTE Am in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2012 with the Porsche 997 GT3 RSR that raced at Le Mans last year in LM GTE Pro.

Cecile Bonardel (according to team statement)

Photo: Le Mans (Sarthe, FRANCE), CIRCUIT OF 24 HOURS, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, Saturday, June 11, 2011, WARM-UP. The IMSA Performance Matmut car that raced the Le Mans 24 Hours 2011 in LM GTE Pro, will return to La Sarthe in 2012, but in LM GTE Am
lemans.org
Photo : Pascal Saivet - P.SAIVET/VSC Pictures

Sebring Entry List Takes Shape with an Impressive Line Up of 30 Cars


Press Release
LE MANS - 21 February 2012
Sebring Entry List Takes Shape with an Impressive Line Up of 30 Cars

The entry list for the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship has been unveiled with an exciting entry of 30 cars for the 12 Hours of Sebring on the 17th March 2012. Over half the grid will consist of Le Mans Prototypes, which is split evenly at nine cars for LMP1 and nine for LMP2, with five entries for LMGTE Pro and seven for LMGTE Am.

The first ever grid for the FIA World Endurance Championship will be truly international and feature teams from eight different countries (France, Germany, Switzerland, USA, Great Britain, UAE, Argentina and Italy) and drivers from at least twenty nations.

The LMP1 entry is headed by three Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18s, which boasts a line up of 8 Le Mans 24 Hour winners, including 2011 victors André Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer and Marcel Fässler in the nr1 Audi. The second Audi entry is crewed by Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello, who between them possess no less than thirteen wins at Sebring, including victories as teammates in 2006 and 2009. The third Audi will be crewed by 2008 12 Hours of Sebring winners Timo Berhnard and Romain Dumas, with the identity of their teammate still to be unveiled by the team.

Rebellion Racing are fielding a two car entry with the nr12 Lola B12/60 Coupe Toyota driven by Nicolas Prost, Neel Jani and Nick Heidfeld and the nr13 Lola Toyota crewed by Andrea Belicchi, Harold Primat and Jereon Bleekemolen. Oak Racing will enter a single Pescarolo-Judd with Guillaume Moreau as the lead driver and will be the only LMP1 car using Dunlop rubber against the eight other Michelin shod entries.

The Pescarolo Team will have one entry in Sebring with 2008 Sebring winner Emmanuel Collard being joined by Jean-Christophe Bouillion and Julien Jousse to form an all French line up in the Pescarolo-Judd.

Strakka Racing is the first of two British teams racing an HPD ARX 03a-Honda and also features an all British line up with Nick Leventis, Danny Watts and Jonny Kane sharing the driving duties in Florida.

The second British team is JRM, which make their endurance racing debut after a successful season in 2011 when they won the FIA GT1 World Driver’s Championship with Michael Krumm and Lucas Luhr. Their drivers for Sebring will be 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours winner David Brabham, who is joined by Karun Chandhok and Peter Dumbreck.

The nine car LMP2 entry is headed by 2011 ILMC LMP2 Champions Signatech Nissan with Olivier Lombard, Franck Mailleux and Jordan Tresson forming the second all French team. Tresson has impressed since winning the Nissan GT Academy in 2010 after beating 1.2 million other online gamers in a special version of Grand Turismo on the Sony Playstation. He then went on to become the 2011 Blancpain Endurance Series GT4 Champion and now makes his next big step to racing Le Mans Prototypes.

Oak Racing are fielding a Morgan-Judd alongside their LMP1 entry with Jacques Nicolet is the lead driver. The car marks the return to endurance racing for the quintessential British car manufacturer 40 years after it won its class at Le Mans in 1962.

British team ADR-Delta are running a Oreca 03-Nissan for Australian John Martin and Britain’s Robbie Kerr and Tor Graves.

Gulf Racing Middle East with run a pair of Nissan powered Lola B12/80 Coupés with Fabien Giroix heading the crew for the n28 car and Frédéric Fatien the nr29 Lola. The Lotus team is running a single Lola B12/80 Coupé with Thomas Holzer the lead driver in Florida.

Greaves Motorsport is the sole Zytek entry, with the Z11SN being powered by a Nissan engine. Christian Zugel, Ricardo Gonzalez and Julian Elton with crew the British entry.

Starworks Motorsport are the first of two American teams on the grid with the HPD ARX03b-Honda driven by Vicente Potolicchio, Ryan Dalziel and 2007 LMS Champion Stéphane Sarrazin. The final LMP2 entry is the Pecom Racing entered Oreca 03-Nissan of Luis Perez Companc, Pierre Kaffer and Soheil Ayari.

The five car LMGTE Pro entry will be a straight fight between three icons of GT racing, Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin.

2011 ILMC LMGTE Pro Champions AF Corse are running two Ferrari 458 Italias with Giancarlo Fisichella and Gianmaria Bruni in the nr51 car and 2010 FIA GT1 World Champion Andrea Bertolini racing with Le Mans Class winner Olivier Beretta in the nr71 Ferrari.

French team Luxury Racing is also running the Ferrari 458 Italia, with Frédéric Makowiecki the lead driver.

Team Felbermayr-Proton entered Porsche 997 RSR will be crewed by Richard Lietz, Marc Lieb and Patrick Pilet, while the Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8 will see Stefan Mücke, Adrian Fernandez and Darren Turner taking their turn behind the wheel in Florida in the cars first international race.

The LMGTE Am entry of seven cars will feature the mighty Corvettes take on the challenge of Ferrari and Porsche. 2011 ILMC LMGTE Am Champions Larbre Competition are running a pair of Chevrolet Corvette C6-ZR1 with Pedro Lamy, Julien Canal and Patrick Bornhauser in the nr50 car and Jean-Philippe Belloc, Pascal Gibon and Christophe Bourret in the nr70 Chevrolet.

British team JWA-Avila is the first of two Porsche entries, with the 911 RSR driven by Allan Simonsen, Markus Palttala and Paul Daniels on Dunlop tyres, while the Michelin shod Team Felbermayr-Proton Porsche will see Christian Ried, Gianluca Roda and Paolo Ruberti.

AF Corse are running a third Ferrari 458 Italia alongside their pair of LMGTE Pro entered cars, with double Daytona 500 winner and NASCAR team owner Michael Waltrip racing with fellow American Robert Kauffman and Portugal’s Rui Aguas.

Luxury Racing’s second Ferrari 458 will be crewed by Pierre Ehret, Anthony Beltoise and François Jakubowski, while the third Ferrari 458 is entered by American team Krohn Racing will driven by Tracy Krohn, Niclas Jönsson and Michele Rugolo.

“We are very pleased to announce thirty entries for the first ever FIA World Endurance Championship race in the United States at Sebring,” said FIA WEC CEO Gérard Neveu. “With so many countries represented on the entry list, it is an international grid that truly symbolizes the newest World Championship co-organised by the FIA and the ACO. In addition please do not forget that Toyota will join us in LMP1 with a hybrid engine in the next round at Spa.”

The 12 Hours of Sebring will be the first race of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship and will be the 60th edition of the classic American race. The FIA WEC will also race in Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps), France (Le Mans), Great Britain (Silverstone), Brazil (São Paulo), Bahrain (BIC), Japan (Fuji) and China (Shanghai).

For more information on the FIA World Endurance Championship visit www.fiawec.com

Jeff Carter
Media Delegate FIA/WEC

Porsche junior programme Six finalists shine at young driver selection









Porsche junior programme
Six finalists shine at young driver selection

Stuttgart. The selection process to find Porsche juniors for the 2012 season is now on the finish straight. At track tests in Vallelunga (Italy) six finalists aged from 18 to 21 years excelled with outstanding lap times and showed impressive progress over the two days. Klaus Bachler (20, A), Tom Blomqvist (18, GB), Michael Christensen (21, DK), Mario Farnbacher (19, D), Ramon Pineiro (21, E) and Dennis Trebing (20, USA) had earlier come out on top at a rigorous selection process against other talented youngsters from around the globe.

Currently, Porsche Motorsport is evaluating the data from all the test laps and will then compare these with the comprehensive sports medicine results. The chosen drivers will receive support as Porsche juniors in the Carrera Cup Deutschland. Porsche provides most of the season’s budget. The junior pilots choose their own teams for whom they want to compete. A junior coach looks after the training of the Porsche juniors and is on hand in a mentoring capacity.

Professional race driver Sascha Maassen (42) takes on this role. The German was a Porsche works driver from 2000 to 2009, and this season contests the American Le Mans Series in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Maassen has a great deal of experience as a talent scout, coach and driving instructor. At the wheel of sports prototypes and GT race vehicles from Weissach, Maassen won the American Le Mans Series three times and celebrated class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Sebring 12 hour race.

“The six finalists have had very little opportunity to get experience at the wheel of a GT race car. They have far exceeded our expectations,” praises Maassen. “All of the pilots very quickly grasped how you have to drive the 450 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in order to be fast.”

Aside from financial support, the drivers receive assistance similar to the internationally successful Porsche factory pilots. Fitness tests with constantly adapted training plans as well as media coaching and sponsor obligations are also part of the programme. Initially, the programme runs for four years.

Porsche has intensively supported talented youngsters in motorsport since 1997. Today’s Porsche factory pilots Timo Bernhard, Marc Lieb and Patrick Long were trained as Porsche juniors. Recently in 2011, Marco Holzer made the leap from Porsche junior to works driver. Other big-league names in motorsport to emerge from this scholarship programme are Dirk Müller, Lucas Luhr and Mike Rockenfeller.

Communication Porsche AG
Motorsportpress
Oliver Hilger

Sunday 19 February 2012

Audi presents hybrid race car in Munich




Audi presents hybrid race car in Munich

􀀁 World premiere on the eve of the Audi Annual Press Conference
􀀁 Swiss female racer Cyndie Allemann in the Audi R8 LMS
􀀁 National Geographic ranks Le Mans as “world’s greatest sporting event

Ingolstadt, February 19, 2012 – The place and date for the world premiere of the
new Audi hybrid race car for the Le Mans 24 Hours have been set. The forwardthinking
LMP1 vehicle will be presented at the Munich Airport on February 29
before the Audi Annual Press Conference 2012.
Red carpet: The Annual Press Conference on March 1 is one of the most important
events in AUDI AG’s fiscal year. And exactly on this occasion Audi Sport will be
presenting its major and arguably most ambitious project for the 2012 motorsport
season: the new hybrid race car for the Le Mans 24 Hours. The Le Mans prototype
will be celebrating its world premiere at the Munich Airport on the eve of the Annual
Press Conference. The evening to which about 300 journalists from around the world
have been invited is billed as “Looking to the future – tomorrow’s automotive
technology.”
Six out of eight: Slightly modified Sporting Regulations are designed to add
suspense to the new FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). In the
manufacturers’ classification of the top LMP1 category only the best-placed vehicle
of one automobile manufacturer will score championship points. In addition, only
the results of six of the eight races – including the Le Mans 24 Hours for which the
points awarded are doubled – will be counted. In the 2012 WEC Audi is fighting with
Toyota for the World Champion’s title.
Lady in the GT3 Audi: Cyndie Allemann is the first woman to contest a racing series
in the Audi R8 LMS. The 25-year-old Swiss is competing for the Audi customer team
Hitotsuyama Racing in d the GT300 class of the Japanese Super GT Championship.

Mikio Hitotsuyama’s squad won the Super Taikuyu Series with the Audi R8 LMS last
year and scored the 100th victory of the successful Audi customer sport race car.
Honor for Le Mans: The renowned “National Geographic” magazine has ranked the
Le Mans 24 Hours as the world’s greatest sporting event that anyone should have
visited at least once in their life. The combination of skill, speed and endurance, it
said, made Le Mans the world’s best auto race.
Honor for Audi engineer: Leena Gade, the vehicle engineer for the 2011 Le Mans
winning Audi R18 TDI, was invited to the “Motor Sport Hall of Fame 2012” at the
Roundhouse in London on Thursday night. The event held by “Motor Sport”
magazine is regarded as one of the most important social functions of the British
motorsport scene.
Double: Last weekend, Audi “factory” driver Timo Scheider attended two major
sporting events. On Saturday evening, the two-time DTM Champion witnessed the
World Championship victory of boxer Vitali Klitschko over Dereck Chisora in
Munich's Olympic Hall . On, Sunday Scheider visited the Ski Flying World Cup in
Oberstdorf.
Following in his father’s tracks: Audi “factory” driver André Lotterer contested the
historic “Legend Boucles de Spa” rally this weekend. Lotterer has close ties to
Belgium. The German spent his youth there and his father Henry Lotterer worked for
the Belgian RAS rally team. At the “Legend Bouclés des Spa” rally the Le Mans
winner piloted a Porsche 911 SC RS, a car resembling the one his father, who died in
2009, had prepared in the nineteen-eighties.
Finale in India: The place and date for the tenth race of the FIA GT1 World
Championship in which the Audi customer team WRT is putting two Audi R8 LMS
ultra cars on the grid have been set. The season finale will be held at the Formula 1
circuit near New Dehlhi in India on December 2. The season will open at Nogaro
(France) on April 8.
Indoor session: A photo shoot with DTM racer Mike Rockenfeller and the new Audi
A1 Sportback for the Audi Sport magazine “Adrenalin” had to be moved indoors to
the Audi Forum Ingolstadt at short notice on Wednesday due to a heavy snowstorm.
The change in venue gave the 2010 Le Mans winner an immediate opportunity to
view the re-designed new car delivery section with his expert eyes.

On the controller: The five-time Le Mans winner Frank Biela has discovered a new
passion: slot car racing. With an Audi R8 LMS and a team of his own the former DTM
Champion and long-standing Audi factory driver is contesting the legendary rallye
racing Carrera Cup this year. The season will open in Hamburg next Wednesday.
A word from ... Mattias Ekström
In a little more than ten weeks from now the new DTM season will start, marking
a completely new era for the DTM. Are you excited about that?
I’m definitely very excited because we’ve been waiting for this for a long time in the
DTM. A new manufacturer is joining the series and the regulations are new. At Audi,
we’ve been doing a lot of development work over the winter. That’s why I’m very
eager to finally go to Hockenheim and to see how good our work has been compared
with BMW and Mercedes. Tests never really give you the right answer to this; that
only happens at the first qualifying session and the first race.
The new DTM vehicles will be homologated on March 1. What does that mean for
the next two weeks?
Obviously, our technical staff would be much better qualified to answer this
question. But principally speaking there’s only fine-tuning work left at this stage.
The key decisions were made a long time ago. Every manufacturer will now try and
guard their little secrets up to the last moment. After March 1 the cards will be
revealed a little more – also during the track tests.
You’ve already covered many kilometers at the wheel of the new Audi A5 DTM.
What’s your impression? Where does Audi stand compared with the competition?
What can the fans expect of the 2012 DTM season and, most importantly, of
Audi?
The car is definitely a bit different to drive than the A4. The biggest difference is
made by the new Hankook tire which is a bit wider – that changes the driving style to
some extent. And we’ve got the gearshift on the steering wheel now. That, too,
makes a bit of a difference. There are many things you can’t fully judge at this point
in time because we haven’t driven the latest racing version yet. But I’m pretty sure
that the new cars will be about as fast as the A4. We’ve got a little more downforce
but also slightly higher weight. I think these two aspects balance each other.
Nobody can tell at the moment where we stand compared with the competition. We
really have to wait until the first race at Hockenheim. In any event, the fans can
expect things to get really tight. The new regulations have reduced the freedom of
the engineers quite a bit. That’s why the whole field will be very close. Saturday will
be the most important day for a successful weekend. You’ve simply got to be very
far at the front of the grid. The fans can expect Audi to run at full throttle to repeat
the champion’s titles of the past few years. But BMW and Mercedes-Benz will be
driving flat out as well. The three premium manufacturers in the same
championship with the same aims: That’ll be a tough number! If I were a fan I
definitely wouldn’t miss that.
Coming up next week
Feb 23 Rahel Frey, 26th birthday
Feb 24 Timo Bernhard, 31st birthday
Feb 24–26 Bathurst (AUS) 12 Hours
Audi Sport

Saturday 18 February 2012

Strakka’s Honda shakedown exceeds expectations


Strakka’s Honda shakedown exceeds expectations
Strakka Racing gave its brand new P1 race car, the Honda Performance Development ARX-03a, its initial shakedown test at Snetterton today, with the early performance of the car exceeding the high expectations of all three team drivers, Nick Leventis, Danny Watts and Jonny Kane.

Sporting a stunning new blue and white livery, each driver did two stints in the 3.4-litre normally aspirated HPD V8 engined car, going through a detailed pre-planned systems check in preparation for the opening round of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship, the Sebring 12 Hours (17 March).

Jonny was given the honour of being the first to drive the car in the cold conditions, signalling a return to LMP1, after two years in LMP2, for the Silverstone-based team.

Nick Leventis: “The car feels extremely good. It has a lot of power, the engine feels very solid and powerful and it’s good to get back in the driver’s seat after the winter break. Expectations were high, and this initial shakedown test of the car has superseded all expectations.”

Danny Watts: “It’s great to be back in a race car after a few months away – and what a car to come back to! It exceeded my expectations being back in LMP1. The conditions at Snetterton were cold and a little bit damp, so you couldn’t push too hard, plus it’s only the shakedown test, but the car did everything and more than I expected it to.”

Jonny Kane: “The car feels good and the engine sounds amazing. The car looks very British this year with its blue and white colour scheme and red decals, and everyone is very pleased how the car looks and performs. It was nice to be the first driver to do the roll-out and as a team we’re looking in really good shape ahead of Sebring.”

Piers Phillips, Team Principal and Technical Director: “It’s been eight weeks since the new tub arrived at Strakka, and the team has done an incredible amount of work to enable us to shake the car down at Snetterton. It’s good to be out of the workshop and back at a race track – and the sound of the V8 engine has put a huge smile on all our faces.”

Picture: NORWICH (NORFOLK, UNITED-KINGDOM), SNETTERTON RACE-TRACK, FRIDAY FEBRUARY, 17 2012.
lemans.org

WTCC: TARQUINI TESTED THE NEW SEAT ENGINE



TARQUINI TESTED THE NEW SEAT ENGINE
After missing the first outing of SEAT's new 1.6-litre turbo engine because of the snowfall that hit Italy, Gabriele Tarquini was finally able to drive the Lukoil Racing Team's León car at Valencia last Monday.
The Italian driver was then replaced by his team-mate Aleksey Dudukalo who tested on Tuesday.
"Although we are rather behind with the timing, I have to say that I was impressed by the test," the 2009 World Champion said. "This was only the second time the engine ran on track, and yet it showed an interesting potential. Reliability is there - as we completed the test without suffering from the least technical issue - the power is already comparable with that of the SUNRED unit we used last year. But the big step forward is a wider range of power that was our main issue last year. Now, in order to fully exploit it, we have to fine-tune the engine management that is brand new and very sophisticated."
The team is now heading to Portugal for further testing at Estoril (Saturday and Sunday) and Portimão.

Gabriele Tarquini tested the León with SEAT Sport's new 1.6-litre engine

TEAM AON HAPPY WITH IBERIAN TESTS
The Team Aon spent a few days testing between Guadix (Spain) and Estoril. Tom Chilton and James Nash took turns at the wheel of the team's two Ford Focus cars, one in British Touring Car Championship specs and the other a brand new WTCC machine.
"So far everything is going well as we had planned," team principal Mike Earle said to Eurosport TV crew. "Our aim for this first WTCC season is to gain experience; we expect to be competitive next year and fight for the world title in three years. I think we have a great potential, especially because we may count on two young and fast drivers like Tom and James. I'm sure they won't have problems in learning the tracks they don't know. It will be more difficult for the team because of the lack of data. However, we haven't ruled out the possibility to add a third car during the season."

Chilton and Nash shared driving duties in Team Aon's Ford Focus at Estoril

ROAL MOTORSPORT HIT TRACK AT VALENCIAThe ROAL Motorsport team made his first outing of the season at Valencia, for a two-day test on Monday and Tuesday."We really needed it, to wake up from hibernation!" Team principal Roberto Ravaglia said.Both drivers of the Italian team, Tom Coronel and WTCC newcomer Alberto Cerqui, had the opportunity to spend long time at the wheel of their BMW 320 TC cars."Tom completed about 500 laps and Alberto about 400," unveiled Ravaglia, adding: "It was a very important occasion for Alberto: his first proper test in a WTCC car. All in all he did very well and showed a good potential that I'm confident we will be able to exploit from the first event at Monza."The age difference between Coronel and Cerqui is twenty years. "This is not going to be a problem," Ravaglia commented. "Tom has a much younger spirit than his forty years and is a very easy person. For now they have a few communications problems as Alberto is not very familiar with English. But he will learn fast and I'm sure that he will benefit a great deal by racing alongside Tom."LADA SPORT CONFIRM THOMPSON FOR WTCCLADA Sport confirmed to have signed James Thompson for driving the new LADA Granta Sport in the two outings they will to do in 2012 WTCC, at Budapest's Hungaroring and Estoril in Portugal."The agreement we have with him includes all the testing we will do in 2012 to develop the WTCC Granta," unveiled LADA Sport programme manager Viktor Shapovalov, who added: "We have also a pre-agreement with him for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015 in the case that LADA Sport will decide in favour of a WTCC works programme after these two exploratory events.""I'm really pleased to have this deal. They have a brand new racing structure at LADA Sport and this gives me a lot of confidence that this can go somewhere," said Thompson who had raced for the Russian manufacturer in the 2009 WTCC, claiming two sixth places with a Priora car at Imola.The LADA Sport team is due to start testing the WTCC Granta car in April.D'ASTE RETURNS TO WIECHERS-SPORTStefano D'Aste and Wiechers-Sport will be reunited once again for the 2012 season. The Italian driver had first raced for the German outfit back in 2007, when together they claimed the WTCC Yokohama Trophy title; then he was back with the team in 2009 and again last year for three events that culminated in a Yokohama Trophy race win at Oschersleben. "I'm very happy to be back in WTCC and to Wiechers-Sport. I missed the championship a lot as racing with Lotus in the Gt4 was nice, but WTCC is another world. I know it will be tough and that I will need some races to be back on top. We will arrive at Monza without any testing and it won't be easy, but we have a good car, a great technical support and I trust the team," D'Aste declared.Team manager Dominik Greiner commented: "We have worked hard to fix our 2012 programme in the WTCC. And I'm really happy that we managed to find a deal with Stefano once again. He has a lot of experience and we have been very successful together. I think we have a very strong package for the season.

COUNTDOWN: - 22 DAYS

Fabio Ravaioli - FIA WTCC Media Delegate

Friday 17 February 2012

Blancpain Endurance Series: STUNNING ENTRY LIST TOTALS 50 CARS FOR SEASON OPENER IN MONZA


STUNNING ENTRY LIST TOTALS 50 CARS FOR SEASON OPENER IN MONZA
A total of 50 of the world’s most desirable race-bred sportscars will line up on the grid for the first race of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Monza on the 13-15th April after the official entry list was released today.
The list boasts a number of renowned teams and there is star quality among the driver ranks.
The line-up reads like a who’s who of GT cars – Aston Martin DBRS9, Audi R8 LMS Ultra, BMW Z4, Dodge Viper, Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini Gallardo and LP600, McLaren MP4-12C, Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 and Porsche 997 GT3 R are among the 10 brands assembled. There are also five cars on the waiting list.
Having dipped their toes in the series in 2011, McLaren return with a vengeance in 2012 with 9 cars entered to do battle.
Featured in the drivers confirmed to date are sportscar luminaries such as David Brabham, Anthony Beltoise, Mark Blundell, Bas Leinders, Alvaro Parente and Richard Westbrook.
Belgian Audi Club Team WRT will defend their Pro Cup teams’ title with a pair of Audi R8 LMS Ultras. The GT4 Cup winner in 2011, Alex Buncombe, steps up to the Pro-Am class in the RJN Motorsport Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3. Also returning is the Gentlemen Trophy Class winner Georges Cabannes in the Ruffier Racing Lamborghini Gallardo.
The Blancpain Endurance Series was an instant success in its inaugural season in 2011. The proven formula of three-hour races at iconic circuits remains with the Spanish circuit of Navarra completing the race schedule.
The 2012 calendar features six rounds and a number of Europe’s most prestigious circuits. Races will take place at Monza, Silverstone, Paul Ricard and Nurburgring with the Total 24 Hours of Spa at the end of July, the highlight of the season. It will be the 64th edition of the premier 24-hour event for GT cars.
“To have 50 cars on the grid for the first race of the 2012 season underlines the immense popularity of the Blancpain Endurance Series,” Stephane Ratel, the Founder and CEO of SRO Motorsport Group, said.
“Iconic sportscars competing over three hours on legendary circuits has proven to be a potent blend. We are pleased to welcome back a number of teams and drivers from the 2011 season and delighted that the ranks have been bolstered by a number of newcomers. We are also pleased to welcome Navarra to the series.
“With the addition of so many famous brands, the racing is sure to be highly competitive. We are grateful for the continuing support of Blancpain who share our vision and passion for compelling endurance racing.”
The season-opener at Monza on 13th-15th April, will be preceded by a Balance of Performance Test at Paul Ricard on 20th-21st March.
The series will feature in live broadcast across 22 channels globally with a number of other key broadcasters showing extended highlights in territories such as Europe, Australia, North America and Latin America.
Bloomberg Television will also broadcast highlights worldwide (Americas, Pan Euro, Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific). That all adds up to a global audience reach of over 350 million homes.
Live streaming of each race will also be shown on the official web site.
Commercial and technical support for the series comes in the shape of Michelin as the official tyre supplier and Audi as the official car supplier. Hexis, a long-time supporter of the SRO Motorsports Group, continues as official partner.

Blancpain Endurance Series – 2012 calendar
Official Test | March 20th – 21st Paul Ricard, France ?
Round 1 | April 13th – 15th Monza, Italy ?
Round 2 | June 2nd – 3rd Silverstone, UK ?
Round 3 | June 29th – July 1st Paul Ricard, France ?
Round 4 | July 25th – 29th Total 24 Hours of Spa, Belgium ?
Round 5 | September 22nd – 23rd Nurburgring, Germany ?
Round 6 | October 13th – 14th Navarra, Spain?
Blancpain Endurance Series.

Audi R8 LMS as title defender at Bathurst




Audi R8 LMS as title defender at Bathurst

􀀁 DTM-winning team contests 12-hour race in Australia
􀀁 Two Audi R8 LMS cars from Phoenix Racing with spectacular graphics
􀀁 Audi Sport customer racing aims to repeat last year’s victory

Ingolstadt, Februar 17, 2012 – The Audi R8 LMS will compete at the 12-hour race
at Bathurst on February 26 as the title defender. Audi customer sport celebrated a
one-two result on the legendary Australian race track at the beginning of the
2011 season. This year, Team Phoenix Racing as well is set on battling for overall
victory with two R8 LMS cars – and the two race cars fielded by the DTM-winning
team from the Eifel are causing a stir even before the event.
A kangaroo and a spider: The two Audi R8 LMS from Phoenix Racing unmistakably
stand for Australia’s wildlife. The black GT3 race car designated as number “1”
displays the typical yellow road sign with the marsupial on its flanks. And the
graphics of the white number “2” show a Redback spider and its web. This brings
back fond memories to Audi fans. On December 31, 2000, Dindo Capello and Allan
McNish won the “Millennium Race” at Adelaide, Australia, in an Audi R8 sporting the
now legendary crocodile design.
The entertaining exterior though is not designed to – and should not – mislead
anyone about the high ambitions pursued by the run as two prominent driver teams
supported by Audi Sport customer racing – Audi’s customer sport department – and
Audi Australia are to drive for overall victory yet again. Like last year, the home
round to the Australian trio is about fighting for a great honor. Mark Eddy, the
current Australian GT Champion in the Audi R8 LMS, is sharing the cockpit of car
number “2” with Australia’s touring car legend, the three-time V8 Supercar
Champion Craig Lowndes, and Warren Luff. Lowndes set the fastest race lap last
year in the Audi R8 LMS, Luff achieved the fastest time in qualifying.
Two of the three winners from last year – the German Christopher Mies and Darryl
O’Young from Hong Kong – are at the wheel of car number “1.” Their new teammate
Christer Jöns (Germany) is making his debut in Australia.

For Phoenix Racing, the fifth continent is new territory as well whereas the field of
“endurance racing” is not. The German team proved its marathon qualities by
achieving two overall victories at the Nürburgring 24 Hours and one at the Spa
24 Hours as well as numerous other podium places and class victories. In addition,
Ernst Moser’s squad that has been part of the program from day one and a longstanding
partner of quattro GmbH knows the R8 LMS inside and out.
Romolo Liebchen, Head of Audi Sport customer racing: “The Australian market is
very important for Audi. In view of this, we are very happy to be able to compete and
make our mark at this prestigious race.”
Phoenix Racing is meeting strong rivals in the GT3 class at Bathurst. A total of
33 cars will be on the grid, including an Audi R8 LMS from United Autosports. The
Anglo-American customer sport team is competing for the first time with the native
South African Mark Patterson, the Franco-Chinese Alain Li and Frank Yu from Hong
Kong at the 12-hour race.
For the fans and the drivers, the 6.213-kilometer race track at Mount Panorama is a
dream. The roller-coaster circuit features a 170-meter vertical difference, includes
23 turns, makes for high suspense with its unusual radii and barriers close to the
track and is considered the home of Australian motorsport. It is also the venue of
the annual Bathurst 1000 race which Craig Lowndes has decided in his favor as many
as five times.
Fans around the world can watch the qualifying sessions and the race via live
streaming provided by the organizer at www.audi.tv.
Topics of the weekend
􀀁 Will the Audi R8 LMS manage to repeat its 2011 victory?
􀀁 Will the Australian trio prevail this year?
􀀁 How will the Audi R8 LMS fare against the GT3 competition?
Quotes by the officials
Ernst Moser (Team Director Phoenix Racing)
“Our team has never run in Australia before. In addition, February as the first month
of racing is very early as we normally just test at this time of year. Obviously, such a
special track as Bathurst suggests a comparison with the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Bathurst has high vertical differences. The circuit with its barriers close to the track
is very difficult to drive. Since the Audi R8 LMS celebrated a one-two result last year
it is only natural that there are certain expectations this year. Mercedes and Ferrari
will be tough rivals for us. We’ve got to be sure not to make any mistakes. quattro
GmbH with its experiences from last year helped us a great deal to prepare for the
event. Five of the six drivers know the track and as a team we’re intimately familiar
with the Audi R8 LMS and are also at home in endurance racing. We’re reinforced by
four employees from Australia who are joining our team via Mark Eddy. I’m very
excited. It remains to be seen which Michelin tire compounds we’ll be allowed to
use.”
Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers
Mark Eddy (51/AUS), Audi R8 LMS #2 (Phoenix Racing)
􀀁 Won the Australian GT Championship in the Audi R8 LMS last year
􀀁 Started from pole position at Bathurst in 2011
􀀁 Is sharing the cockpit in this year’s Australian GT Championship with
Warren Luff
“Last year we had a nice battle between the two Audi R8 LMS. It was an exciting race
all the way to the end. The car was very reliable and fast. It felt good on a wet and
dry track and was easy to drive! We three Australians would now like to finish one
place farther in front after the close outcome last year. But this year the competition
with the international teams and even more makes in the field is even tougher.”
Christer Jöns (24/D), Audi R8 LMS #1 (Phoenix Racing)
􀀁 Has known the Audi R8 LMS since 2010
􀀁 Is the only one of the six drivers to have never competed at Bathurst before
􀀁 Is arriving a week earlier in order to get used to the climate and time zone
“I’m proud to be driving an Audi with Phoenix on the other side of the world! I don’t
know Bathurst in real terms yet. But I’m familiar with the track from the
PlayStation. Ever since my first virtual laps on this track I’ve been thrilled with
Bathurst. Now the time has come for me to actually compete in the Audi R8 LMS,
my absolute favorite. A dream is coming true! After three years the Audi R8 LMS is
an advanced and stable car. The cornering dynamics and powerful brakes in
particular will give us advantages on this winding track. I’m very excited about
Australia. Our preparations in terms of track knowledge using onboard videos and
our fitness training are running at full stretch. Hopefully we’ll manage to defend the
title on my first run at this event.”

Craig Lowndes (37/AUS), Audi R8 LMS #2 (Phoenix Racing)
􀀁 Drove the fastest race lap at Bathurst last year
􀀁 Started from the front position last year
“I’m happy to be returning to Bathurst with an Audi and fighting for victory again.
The battle with our team-mates a year ago was fantastic. Our driver team only
missed victory by a very small margin. It’ll be great to work with Warren and Mark
again. The fact that we’ve driven together before is a great help. Perhaps that’ll put
us ahead of the competition a bit. I’m also looking forward to the Audi R8 LMS. The
car is wonderful. On a track like Bathurst, it seems like it’s exactly made for the
winding sections up on the hill. The R8 LMS is a good-natured car. It allows you to
run your stints in a gentle and consistent way. The competition will even be a lot
tougher this year. But it’s not a sprint. You’ve got be in contention at the end. I’m
expecting good chances for the three of us being able to make that happen.”
Warren Luff (35/AUS), Audi R8 LMS #2 (Phoenix Racing)
􀀁 Achieved the best time in qualifying last year
􀀁 Contested a race on the Nürburgring in the R8 LMS in May of 2011
“This year the Bathurst 12 Hours will be a much tougher battle than last year. I’m
expecting us to have particularly strong rivals in the Ferrari 458 and the Mercedes
SLS and a thrilling fight all the way to the end. But I expect our strongest opponents
to be in our own team again. And I’m particularly looking forward to the updated
version of the Audi R8 LMS. I’m excited to see how it’ll feel at Bathurst.”
Christopher Mies (22/D), Audi R8 LMS #1 (Phoenix Racing)
􀀁 As 2009 FIA GT European Champion was among the first title winners in the
Audi R8 LMS
􀀁 Was already driving for Ernst Moser’s team back then
􀀁 Is returning to Bathurst as last year’s winner
“After the successful race last year I’m happy to be able to run again. Bathurst is
always worth a visit, the country and the track are unique. The Audi was the
strongest car in the field last year. quattro GmbH has continued to develop it during
the season. I believe that with the Audi R8 LMS and Team Phoenix Racing we’re the
strongest pairing. Yet our rivals should not be underrated. The competition is
becoming bigger and tougher. Our strongest opponents will likely come from our
own ranks though – our Australian team-mates. Last year, they finished barely a
second behind us. So that means we’ve got to give everything throughout the
12 hours.”

Darryl O’Young (31/HK), Audi R8 LMS #1 (Phoenix Racing)
􀀁 After runs at Bathurst, the Nürburgring and Sepang has long become an expert
in the Audi R8 LMS
􀀁 Is returning to Bathurst as last year’s winner
􀀁 Was nominated for the Hong Kong Sports Star Awards in January 2012
“Last year we had a sensational race in the battle with our Australian team-mates.
But this year we’ll have additional competitors with various makes. The Audi R8 LMS
is particularly strong on the fast sections on the hill and in the braking zones. The
car can display its strengths really well on this circuit. The R8 LMS is pleasant to
drive, which helps on a challenging track like Mount Panorama. I met our new teammate
Christer Jöns at the Audi Sport Finale in Germany in 2011. The chemistry
between us three drivers was great from the outset. And I’m looking forward to
Phoenix Racing. I once drove for the squad in the DTM. We’ve got all the key
elements to be in contention for victory again.”

The Audi drivers at Bathurst
Mark Eddy (AUS): * May 12, 1960 in Melbourne (AUS); residence: Canterbury (AUS);
married to Margaret, one son (Daniel) and one daughter (Tayla Portia); height:
1.80 m; weight: 86 kg; Audi driver since 2010; Bathurst 12 Hours: races: 3;
victories: 0; pole positions: 1; fastest laps: 0.
Christer Jöns (D): * Jul 23, 1987 in Wiesbaden (D); residence: Ingelheim am
Rhein (D); single; height: 1.89 m; weight: 78 kg; Audi driver since 2010; Bathurst
12 Hours: races: 0; victories: 0; pole positions: 0; fastest laps: 0.
Craig Lowndes (AUS): * Jun 21, 1974 in Melbourne (AUS); residence:
Mt Kilcoy (AUS); one son (Levi), one daughter (Chilli); height: 1,82 m; weight: 81 kg;
Audi driver since 2011; Bathurst 12 Hours: races: 2; victories: 0; pole positions: 1;
fastest laps: 1.
Warren Luff (AUS): * Apr 21, 1976 in Sutherland (AUS); residence: Hollywell (AUS);
single; height: 1.83 m; weight: 75 kg; Audi driver since 2011; Bathurst 12 Hours:
races: 6; victories: 0; pole positions: 1; fastest laps: 0.
Christopher Mies (D): *May 24, 1989 in Velbert (D); residence: Heiligenhaus (D);
single; height: 1.74 m; weight: 62 kg; Audi driver since 2009; Bathurst 12 Hours:
races: 1; victories: 1; pole positions: 0; fastest laps: 0.

Darryl O’Young (CHK): * Mar 26, 1980 in Vancouver (CDN); residence:
Hong Kong (CN); engaged to Amber Wong; height: 1.73 m; weight: 75 kg;
Audi driver since 2010; Bathurst 12 Hours: races: 1; victories: 1; pole positions: 0;
fastest laps: 0.
Track info
Track length: 6.213 km
Race duration: 12 hours
Pole position 2011: Mark Eddy/Craig Lowndes/Warren Luff (Audi R8 LMS),
6m 35.3s (aggregate result) = 169.746 km/h (Feb 05, 2011)
Fastest lap 2011: Craig Lowndes (Audi R8 LMS), 2m 09.0861s = 173.270 km/h
(Feb 06, 2011)
Warren Luff about Bathurst: “Bathurst is a very special race track, naturally that’s
the way we Australians feel about it too. Even though the track is a public road when
no races are run it is a permanent circuit. It is very fast and forgives no mistakes. The
high vertical differences are typical for Bathurst. Last year we saw that the Audi R8
LMS is a perfect fit for the challenges at Mount Panorama. Its excellent aerodynamic
balance is the key to good lap times.”

Schedule (local times, CET +10 hours)
Friday, February 24
08:15–08:50 Free Practice 1
11:00–11:35 Free Practice 2
14:50–15:25 Free Practice 3
Saturday, February 25
08:15–09:45 Qualifying 1
16:30–17:00 Qualifying 2
Sunday, February 26
06:15–18:15 Race (12 hours)
Live broadcast of the race on audi.tv
Sunday, February 26, starting at 06:00 (local time; CET +10 hours)
Audi Sport.

Pescarolo Team take delivery of Dome.


Pescarolo Team take delivery of Dome.
As previously announced, the Pescarolo Team has entered two cars for the next 24 Hours of Le Mans. The choice fell on two completely different cars; a Pescarolo 03, based on the late Aston Martin AMR1, and a closed prototype in association with Dome. Two drivers, Nicolas Minassian and Sebastien Bourdais, both former of Peugeot Sport, attended the unpacking of the car.

The Dome S102 was developed for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2008 by the Japanese manufacturer that has devoted a large budget and a lot of time in design. Dome entered the prototype under its own name with a 100% Japanese crew, but although the white car showed its potential, the technical problems accumulated. Since 2008, the car has been on display in the lobby of Dome and Minoru Hayashi, the director, decided that the S 102 should be raced. Dome is a car manufacturer, it does not have a team that can operate the car, so he turned to Henri Pescarolo (see interview) and the Pescarolo Team.

The Japanese carmaker has (so far) no partnerships, having been burned in the past by financial disagreements. Dome decided to fully fund the program in 2012 with their own money and not seek any sponsors. Several practice sessions are scheduled so as not to repeat the mistakes of 2008 and two experienced drivers, both of whom have spent time before with the team of Henri Pescarolo, have already been announced: Nicolas Minassian and Sebastien Bourdais (in addition to his season in IndyCar). The third driver will be Japanese, as requested by Dome.

The Pescarolo Team took delivery of the car and parts yesterday at Le Mans. It should take the track next month before heading to Belgium for the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and get back to his base for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Cécile Bonardel

PHOTO LE MANS FRANCE, WORKSHOPS OF PESCAROLO TEAM 16th FEB 2012. Drivers Nicolas Minassian and Sebastien Bourdais look over the new delivery.
lemans.org
Photo: Photo : Dominique BREUGNOT - teamdbc-pictures.com

Thursday 16 February 2012

ADAC GT Masters: Albert von Thurn und Taxis: "We want to take the title"






Albert von Thurn und Taxis: "We want to take the title"

Albert von Thurn und Taxis in the Lamborghini picks up again. In an interview with the ADAC says the ADAC GT Masters Champion of 2010, the goals for his fifth season in the "league of super sports cars."

The champion of the 2010 season, Albert von Thurn und Taxis (28, Regensburg), sets out to hunt for his second title in the ADAC GT Masters. The young nobleman is the "league of super sports car" in 2012 and runs faithfully in the season opener (31 March to 1 April) at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben with a proven team and vehicle, but a new teammate. The Lamborghini Gallardo by Reiter Engineering, the nine-time race winner shares the cockpit with the Slovaks Stefan Rosina (24).

Last year it did not work with the title defense. Are you after a difficult last season, now doubly motivated?
Albert von Thurn und Taxis.. "The last season is certainly not run as you wish We have learned a lot of experience up some and we tried to shake off the bad luck, but unfortunately we have not always succeeded, but we also have some. can achieve great success and esteem contributed to Reiter Engineering has won the team title. I'm back fully motivated and can hardly wait for the season starting. "

They compete in the fifth season in the ADAC GT Masters for Reiter Engineering in a Lamborghini. Your connection with the team of Hans Reiter seems to have become inseparable.
"I ride for Hans Reiter in other series even since 2006. Meanwhile, the team is like a second family to me. We are simply grown together and really almost inseparable. Therefore, it was immediately clear that I am back with Reiter Engineering in the ADAC GT Masters would start. "

Your new team-mate Stefan Rosina's many fans still unknown. Did you know him already?
"We were there last year at a European Championship event in Slovakia team-mates. He was on a human level, the same very personable and very professional in the way he works and how it communicates. After its performance over the entire weekend of time remarkably well was, we knew this is someone whom it is to watch. fact that we now compete together in the ADAC GT Masters, I am very pleased. I am convinced that we are a powerful duo. "

What goals have you set for the new season?
"I have very high goals. After last year was not optimal, we owe ourselves and the team some good results. The title this year is clearly our goal and I am convinced that we again have a good chance used to name a say. "
ADAC GT Masters Presse.