Eight Audi factory drivers attend employees’ day
· Audi Sport with big program in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm
· Another VLN win for Stippler/Basseng on the Nordschleife
· Honor for André Lotterer in JapanIngolstadt, July 22, 2012 - On Saturday, employees of the Technical Development (TE) of AUDI AG and their families gained a fascinating insight into the work of Audi Sport.
Big presence: no less than eight Audi factory drivers distributed between two locations attended the employees’ days of the Technical Development (TE) of AUDI AG. Rahel Frey, Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Mike Rockenfeller were in Ingolstadt on Saturday. Mattias Ekström, Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Edoardo Mortara visited the factory in Neckarsulm simultaneously. Audi Sport is affiliated to the TE and provided employees and their families an program including exhibition vehicles, demonstration pit stops and autograph sessions. Frey and Rockenfeller provided the fun and games during a slot car competition. Employees could also pit themselves against McNish and Kristensen on a driving simulator.
Fantastic fight back on way to victory: Frank Stippler and Marc Basseng celebrated their second victory of the season in the VLN endurance championship at the Nürburgring. During the four hour race the German duo scythed their way from twelfth on the grid to take the checkered flag first in the sixth event of the year in the Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra and, in doing so, set a new VLN distance record: for the first time the winning team of a 4-hour race covered 29 laps around the Nordschleife. "We’ve thrown down the gauntlet with this victory and the record. I’m in top form to take on the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps," said Stippler. Stippler/Basseng won the fourth VLN race in 2012 four weeks ago.
Honor in Japan: André Lotterer was honored by Audi Japan on Tuesday at a reception. Hiroshi Okita, President of Audi Japan K.K., received the Japan domiciled German in the presence of many journalists and media at the Conrad Hotel in Tokyo. Lotterer accepted a Monaco Steve McQueen Edition watch engraved with his name from Antoine Pin, General Manager of TAG Heuer Japan. The Le Mans winner also used the event to advertise the seventh round of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) on October 14 at Fuji.
Exhibition in Great Britain: An Audi R18 e-tron quattro will be on display for all to admire from next week in the London Design Museum. The exhibition ‘Designed to Win’ shows outstanding design objects from the world of high performance sports between July 26 and November 18.
Full weekend: Allan McNish returns to his adopted country Monaco on Monday after several appointments. On Wednesday and Thursday the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) overall leader delighted a sponsor as personal driving instructor at the Bedford Autodrome in England. On Friday the Scotsman commentated during the Grand Prix at Hockenheim as expert for British television channel Sky. On Saturday at the Audi employees’ day in Ingolstadt he was a popular guest for interviews and autographs.
A word from ... André Lotterer
Six weeks have passed since your Le Mans win on June 17 and the start of 24 hours Spa. In spite of this you haven’t had time to get bored.
"Absolutely not. After the win I treated myself to a week on Formentera and visited the GP in Valencia in between. On the final weekend in June I was at the Goodwood Festival of Speed for Audi, on July 2 we made a tour of the Audi factory in Neckarsulm. On July 8 I travelled to Le Mans again to visit the historical Le Mans Classic race. Then I left for Japan where I won the fourth round of the Formula Nippon and am now second in the championship standings."
This was followed two days later by another award for the Le Mans win. What was prepared for you on Tuesday?
"Audi Japan invited me to a reception. My Audi sportscar team mate Loïc Duval was also a guest. In Tokyo we drank a toast to Audi’s eleventh Le Mans victory and welcomed many journalists. It was great to see again that the 24 Hours of Le Mans is also ranked very highly in Japan."
Spa is now on the agenda two weekends on the trot.
"I came back from Japan on Thursday. On Friday I competed in qualifying at the Spa Race Festival in a classic Audi Coupé from 1981 and on Sunday in the race. My father was involved in the development of this Group 2 car 31 years ago. It was great fun to drive this wonderful car. I was at the Audi employees’ day in Neckarsulm on Saturday between qualifying and the race. And now I’m looking forward to next weekend and the 24-hour race at Spa. The last time I raced in it was ten years ago."
Coming up next week
27.07. Indianapolis (USA), GRAND-AM, round 9
28.07. 24 hours Spa-Francorchamps (B), Blancpain Endurance Series, round 4
29.07. Sugo (J), Super GT, round 4