Season » 2014 » 6h Spa (B)

Audi motorsport-140424-2106

Audi Sport Team Joest set on battling for victory at Spa

For the first time this year, Audi Sport Team Joest will be entering three R18 e-tron quattro cars in the WEC race at Spa (Belgium) on May 3 – at round two of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The preparation phase for this event was particularly intensive. The accident damage sustained by the two cars in the season opener resulted in a lot of work.

The two accidents at Silverstone (Great Britain) were unfortunate for Audi in two respects. For the first time ever, the team of Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich and Chris Reinke, Head of LMP, had to endure the retirement of all cars and the total loss of valuable championship points. The incidents caused considerable vehicle damage. The two monocoques of the hybrid sports cars were damaged. Consequently, cars number ‘1’ and ‘2’ had to be prepared again completely from scratch. As a result, the WEC World Champions at Audi are tackling an extreme workload between Easter and May 1.

In comparison, the preparation of the third race car seems almost like a routine task. Audi has traditionally been using the 6-hour race at Spa to prepare its Le Mans squad for the year’s most important endurance race. Whereas Lucas di Grassi/Loïc Duval/Tom Kristensen (BR/F/DK) and Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F) compete in all eight World Championship rounds, the #3 R18 e-tron quattro will exclusively run at Spa and in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Belgium will see Marco Bonanomi (I) returning to the race car cockpit. Alongside Bonanomi, Filipe Albuquerque (P) will be celebrating his WEC debut with Audi after switching from touring cars to sports cars last winter. Oliver Jarvis (GB) has been released from the race at Spa and the test day at Le Mans – he will be battling for Championship points in the Japanese Super GT racing series at the same time. For the Le Mans 24 Hours, he will return to the R18 e-tron cockpit as the team-mate of Albuquerque and Bonanomi.

At Spa, car #3 continues an idea which Audi tested for the first time last year. The additional race car has a different body that can be recognized at first glance by the longer rear overhang. Its use in Belgium is very valuable for the Audi engineers, as the data generated by car #3 assists in validating the simulations which Audi previously performed. By the same token, the team can test how to handle the special body version and other technical modifications in racing conditions.

All three Audi driver squads are united in pursuing a single aim on the 7.004-kilometer circuit in the Ardennes with its unique combination of turns. Following the victories in 2012 and 2013, Audi is set on battling for the best positions at Spa again in 2014. The fastest single lap set by Tom Kristensen in qualifying at Silverstone and the best race lap achieved by André Lotterer show that the diesel hybrid sports car from Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm is fast on a single lap in the battle with Porsche and Toyota. In Belgium, Audi will be able to see for the first time whether this also strategically applies across the entire race distance when the effects of the energy regulations and the different ratings of the three hybrid concepts manifest themselves in the field.

Topics of the weekend

-Will qualifying be as thrilling as it was at Silverstone?
-What race strategy will result from the requirements of the new regulations?
-Will Audi be able to continue its good form this year as in the past at Spa?
-How will Filipe Albuquerque and Marco Bonanomi fare in their first joint WEC commitment?

Audi motorsport-140424-2106