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Looking ahead to 2014, taking a closer look at the championship-winning team and a Q&A with Chris Reinke, head of LMP.
Audi is Ready for a New Era
The countdown to an exciting future has begun. At round eight of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), a technological era came to an end. 2014 will mark the beginning of a new epoch in which nothing but maximum energy efficiency counts. This is what a completely new race car generation stands for. Exactly eight days after the season’s finale, World Endurance Champion Audi will provide an initial glimpse of the future of its LMP sports car.
The World Champions in Private
Loïc Duval, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish experienced a varied photo shoot before the WEC finale in Bahrain. The brand new World Endurance Champions had their pictures taken at different locations on the island. The photographs showing the trio in its leisure time, while visiting the Riffa Fort built in 1812 and at the Audi Centre Bahrain.
Q&A: Chris Reinke, Head of Audi LMP
Audi successfully defended its two titles in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) this year. You were responsible for the program as Head of WEC for the first time. Did you expect this success?
“Something like this can’t be planned, but it was obviously our aim. And it’s a dream to have finished so many races in such a commanding way. These results reflect a convincing team performance which covers a much longer time span than one racing season. The races are run over a period of seven months. But for us, this marks the conclusion of a much longer process of preparing a race car generation. Even though the current Audi R18 e-tron quattro was the ‘evolution of a revolution,’ the work in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm started long before the 2013 season. As a result, we were able to enter a well-engineered car together with Audi Sport Team Joest.”
The two driver squads presented themselves in a well-balanced form and each clinched three victories. How do you rate your share in this success?
“Competition is good for business. Our competitor is strong and we decided not to strategically position our two cars but to let them compete against each other. This way, we’re driving the performance potential of each driver squad to the max. While they jointly competed for Audi they didn’t give each other the slightest break on track. That has paid off.”
No other motorsport discipline promotes technological innovation as much as the WEC does. Audi’s hybrid sports car has won ten of its 16 runs. How do you assess this ratio?
“It makes us proud to compete against a manufacturer like Toyota that has great experience in the hybrid drive segment, and to win. Audi clearly positions itself with sustainable technologies such as e-tron or ultra lightweight – in production cars and in racing. On the race track, a success rate is the most objective measure. And this rate speaks a clear language.”
The spectators are now in for a winter break but your squad isn’t…
“There’s no such thing as a break. The development of a new project in parallel to a racing season demands a lot of energy. While the previous Audi R18 e-tron quattro is now starting its well-deserved retirement we’re concentrating all our energies now on the new project after the end of the season. The new regulations represent an unknown level of complexity. We can look forward to a thrilling season.”