Audi victory in Australian opener
Audi privateers James Koundouris and Marcus Marshall celebrated a win in the season opener of the Australian GT Championship in Adelaide. At the chequered flag, the two local drivers held an advantage of 1.282s in the second of three heats with their Audi R8 LMS. The German Christopher Mies was credited with the fastest lap of the weekend. Last year’s title winner set a lap time of 1m 20.321s in his no 1 Audi R8 LMS during the third heat.
Mike Rockenfeller in an Audi SQ7 TDI against jet aircraft
Audi campaigner Mike Rockenfeller experienced what was arguably the most unusual acceleration competition in his career as a race driver. In the new Audi SQ7 TDI* that celebrated its debut at Audi’s annual press conference, the DTM Champion was pitted against an Alpha Jet. At the Maribor airport in Slovenia a fierce sprint battle ensued in which the SQ7 TDI with an electric compressor, 435 hp of engine power, and the former Le Mans winner at the wheel delivered a brilliant performance. Video footage of the duel at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJCIp2J_iMw
Mattias Ekström on the world’s steepest road
Audi driver Mattias Ekström went to the limits of physics. In the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, the Swede tried out the capabilities of the new Audi A4 quattro*. Partner Red Bull prepared Canton Avenue in Pittsburgh with snow, slush and gravel. With a 37-percent grade, it is the world’s steepest residential street. On the slippery surface, Ekström easily chauffeured free skier Bene Mayr, snowboarder Heikki Sorsa and downhill mountain biker Aaron Gwin uphill, thanks to quattro drive. Subsequently, all four aces went downhill again using the sports equipment of their choice.
Big program for Phoenix Racing
Team Phoenix Racing will be contesting three GT racing series and two 24-hour races with the Audi R8 LMS in the 2016 season. At the Nürburgring, Frank Stippler/Anders Fjordbach (D/DK) will be on the grid at all rounds of the VLN Endurance Championship. In the ADAC GT Masters racing series, Markus Pommer/Markus Winkelhock (D/D) will be representing the team’s colors. In the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup, Phoenix Racing is going to battle for successes with Markus Pommer/Nicolaj Møller Madsen (D/DK) and Niki Mayr-Melnhof/Markus Winkelhock (A/D). In addition, the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and at Spa are on the squad’s agenda, just like customer commitments in the Audi R8 LMS Cup and other races in Asia.
Two new Audi R8 LMS for kfzteile24 APR Motorsport
Audi Sport customer racing team kfzteile24 APR Motorsport is entering two Audi R8 LMS in the ADAC GT Masters. This marks the fourth consecutive season that the team from Waldshut-Tiengen in the Black Forest region relies on the GT3 sports car from Audi. As in 2015, the duo of Swede Edward Sandström and Daniel Dobitsch team up again. Sandström won the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring last year. He shared the race winning Audi R8 LMS in the Eifel with Laurens Vanthoor. The Belgian is new to the team this year and will drive together with Florian Stoll, who was the best-placed Audi driver in the ADAC GT Masters last year.
Audi drivers and race car in Geneva
Four Audi drivers visited the Geneva Motor Show. DTM driver Nico Müller was present at Audi’s booth with the R8 LMS in which he won the Nürburgring 24 Hours. From the WEC, Loïc Duval and Marcel Fässler traveled to the event. Rahel Frey, who is active in GT3 racing with Audi, was a guest at gasmobil’s booth, where she promoted the alternative fuel with a natural gas powered Audi A3 Sportback g-tron*.
Oliver Jarvis at half marathon in Cambridge
Audi driver Oliver Jarvis contested a half marathon in the British university city of Cambridge in February. The race driver from the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) ran the 21-kilometer distance in 1h 24m48s, achieving 75th place in his class in a field of 975 entrants. “It was a fantastic event with an incredible atmosphere,” said the 32-year-old Briton. “Parts of beautiful downtown Cambridge were closed to traffic for our run. Together with a few good friends I really enjoyed the day.”
The DTM test at Monteblanco started the countdown to the season opener at Hockenheim. How great is the thrill of anticipating the new DTM season?
Really great – and that not only goes for me, but for all the mechanics, engineers and, obviously, the drivers. Even though this largely escapes the fans’ attention, we worked hard over the winter months to be even better prepared than before. Working with our new driver Nico Müller has already been a lot of fun as well.
What are the aims of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline for the 2016 season?
The same as in the past 16 years that we’ve been contesting the DTM: We want to win races and battle for the title. We know that the competition may even be fiercer than before, but that’s exactly the kind of challenge we love. Last year, two of our drivers, Mattias Ekström and Edoardo Mortara, still had chances of winning the title on the final weekend. We’d like to travel to the finale again this year with such a starting base.
In 2016, the company, ABT, is 120 years old. How are you celebrating your anniversary?
2016 is really a special year for us. Running a family-owned business across several generations can’t be taken for granted. That’s why I’m really proud of my family and, obviously, our employees. In the middle of February, we spent two nights celebrating with nearly 900 guests in Kempten. I was very happy to see so many friends and partners accept our invitation. It was an event loaded with fun and partying but, above all, a lot of fond memories.
What role has Audi been playing in the history of ABT Sportsline?
The main role. This year – which, by the way, is another small anniversary – we’ve been involved in touring car racing with Audi for 20 years and celebrated many successes together. In our daily business as a tuning company, we’ve always been exclusively working together with the Volkswagen Group. And we’re already planning our next joint projects – on the racetrack and on the road.
Coming up next week
12/03 Marco Bonanomi, 31st birthday
11-13/03 St. Petersburg (USA), rounds 3 and 4, Pirelli World Challenge