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Motorsport News Update: FIA WEC and Le Mans


24 Hours of Spa: Le Mans Winners and DTM Champion to Compete for Audi
[source: Audi Sport]
Four Le Mans winners, a DTM Champion, plus many GT winners – the four new Audi R8 LMS cars will be well-filled at the Spa 24 Hours on July 25/26, 2015. In Audi Sport Team WRT, last year’s winners, René Rast/Laurens Vanthoor/Markus Winkelhock (D/B/D) will share an R8 LMS. Sitting in the second race car will be two former winners of the iconic race in the Ardennes, Frank Stippler (D) and Stéphane Ortelli (MC), plus DTM driver Nico Müller (CH), who celebrated the first 24-hour race victory for the new R8 LMS at the Nürburgring in May. Audi Sport Team Phoenix will field a GT3 sports car for Marcel Fässler (CH) and André Lotterer (D). The three-time Le Mans winners will share driving duties with Mike Rockenfeller (D), the 2013 DTM champion and 2010 Le Mans winner. In the second Phoenix cockpit, three 24-hour Nürburgring race winners, Christopher Mies (D), Christian Mamerow (D) and Nicki Thiim (DK), will take turns at the wheel.

Leena Gade

Leena Gade Advertises for Her Profession
[source: Audi Sport]
Experience from Le Mans in the auditorium: Leena Gade, who has won the 24 Hours of Le Mas three times as Audi race engineer, spoke as guest speaker at the ‘National Women in Engineering Day’. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London had invited female students as well as working female engineers to share experiences. “It’s great to meet other female engineers,” said Leena Gade. “This event has developed positively for many years now and inspires young women for our occupation.”

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Tom Kristensen Visits DTM at Norisring
[source: Audi Sport]
With Tom Kristensen and Edward Sandström, two racing drivers from Scandinavia connected with Audi performed different jobs at the Norisring. Sandström jumped between driving the Audi RS 5 DTM Race Taxi and the Audi R8 LMS. The Swede steered his original winning car from the 24 hours at the Nürburgring in May. Tom Kristensen attended the event at the Norisring as ‘Race Consultant’ for the Race Stewards. The Dane also presented the trophies during the FIA Formula 3 European Championship victory ceremony. The nine-time Le Mans winner finished his career last year. In November, he returns to a race car cockpit for the ‘Race of Champions’ in London.

Fascination Le Mans at Goodwood and Norisring
[source: Audi Sport]
Audi brought the flair of the 24 Hours of Le Mans to Germany and England. Benoît Tréluyer drove the Audi R18 e-tron quattro from Le Mans in front of huge crowds at the ‘Festival of Speed’ at Goodwood. His stablemates André Lotterer and Oliver Jarvis were in demand for autographs and interviews. Their WEC team mate Marcel Fässler visited the DTM at the Norisring, where the Swiss drove the Audi RS 5 DTM Race Taxi and presented a trophy at the Audi Sport TT Cup victory ceremony. Like the public at Goodwood, the German fans could also admire an Audi R18 e-tron quattro, which was on display on Audi’s stand in Nuremberg.

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Le Mans: President of France Visits Audi Sport
[source: Audi Sport]
Great honor for Audi: before the start of the 83rd running of the 24-hour race at Le Mans, France’s President François Hollande visited the Audi Sport Team Joest pit. Together with Chairman of the Board of Management Rupert Stadler and Member of the Board of Management, Technical Development Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Motorsport Boss Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich received the President and accompanying Ministers Bernard Cazeneuve and Stéphane Lefoll. In addition to the leading politicians, the top motorsport officials Pierre Fillon (ACO) and Jean Todt (FIA) also honored Audi Sport. The Audi drivers were obviously also reluctant to miss such important visitors from their homeland, especially the French Le Mans winners Loïc Duval and Benoît Tréluyer.

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Le Mans: VIPs Visit Audi Sport at French Enduro
[source: Audi Sport]
The race weekend at Le Mans traditionally attracts many prominent guests to the paddock. Representing the top management: Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management, Volkswagen AG, and Prof. Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management, AUDI AG, as well as the other Audi Board Members Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Hackenberg, Luca de Meo, Thomas Sigi and Hubert Waltl. In addition, skiers Frida Hansdotter, Jessica Lindell-Vikarby and Adrien Théaux as well as football trainer Siniša Mihajlović are trackside keeping their fingers crossed for their brand. Also spotted: DTM Team Boss Ernst Moser and Phil Schiller, Marketing Boss at Apple.

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Le Mans: Special Moment for Returning Le Mans Winners
[source: Audi Sport]
Even though they’ve now enjoyed it for a third time, it was still a very special moment for André Lotterer, Marcel Fässler and Benoît Tréluyer: On Monday afternoon, at the Place Saint-Nicolas in the Le Mans city center, ACO President Pierre Fillon unveiled the bronze plaque on which the handprints of last year’s Le Mans winners are captured for posterity. In 2014, the three Audi drivers celebrated an amazing third win together in the Le Mans 24 Hours, and this weekend will battle for yet another win at the wheel of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro in the world’s most important endurance race.

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Le Mans: Four Rings for Safety
[source: Audi Sport]
Anniversary at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: Audi supplies the security cars for the world’s most famous endurance race for the tenth time in succession. No less than 25 vehicles from the Audi RS 3 to the R8 are stationed around the 13.629-kilometer track in Le Mans, and ensure safety and rapid assistance in the sign of the four rings. In action for the first time in 2015: an Audi RS 4 for Race Control, which transports the high-voltage specialists from the relevant teams to the stricken hybrid sportscars. However, Audi does not only supply the security vehicles at Le Mans: as early as 2010, Audi expanded its involvement to cover every round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC), which in 2012 became the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), which also includes the French classic.

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Le Mans: Audi Sport Bikes for 2014 Winners Courtesy of Michelin
[source: Audi Sport]
Audi’s tire partner Michelin honored last year’s winners of the iconic 24-hour race at Le Mans with ultra-sporty gifts. Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer received a personalized version of the Audi Sport Racing Bike. The light, 5.8-kilogram carbon race machines bear the names of the respective drivers and sport special liveries that take on graphic elements of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro. “These are literally unique gifts that found their way into the right hands with us,” said a delighted André Lotterer, who, like his Audi team mates, is an enthusiastic cyclist.

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Le Mans: Tom Kristensen in New Audi R8 LMS
[source: Audi Sport]
Tom Kristensen made his first outing at the wheel of the new Audi R8 LMS at Le Mans. The Le Mans record winner completed two laps of the ‘Circuit des 24 Heures’ in the new GT3 racecar on Thursday evening. On Saturday, he appears in a new production R8: in his function as the race’s ‘Grand Marshal’, he leads the field of starters on their warm-up lap in the leading car.

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Le Mans: Mike Rockenfeller Supports Le Mans Team
[source: Audi Sport]
Between the DTM races at the Lausitzring and at the Norisring (27/28 June), Audi DTM driver Mike Rockenfeller made a detour to the 24 Hours of Le Mans to support Audi Sport Team Joest at the track. The 2010 Le Mans winner is involved as test and reserve driver in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro development program. An ARD camera team accompanied ‘Rocky’ in Le Mans.

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Le Mans: Mario Götze Visits Audi Team at Le Mans
[source: Audi Sport]
Le Mans has gained another prominent fan: Mario Götze witnessed the 83rd running of the iconic race live in the garage of Audi Sport Team Joest. The soccer player from FC Bayern München, who had shot the winning goal for Germany in the 2014 World Cup, had already stopped by for a brief visit of the paddock during the night from Saturday to Sunday. In the morning, the Chairman of Audi’s Management Board, Prof. Rupert Stadler, personally gave him a guided tour of the pits. “An incredibly fascinating race. Watching it live, the speed is even more impressive than what it is on TV,” said Mario Götze. “I was delighted about the opportunity to take a peek behind the scenes. If it fits my schedule, I’d like to be here again next year.” Audi has been a partner of FC Bayern München since 2002.
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Le Mans: Tom Kristensen Visits Police in Le Mans
[source: Audi Sport]
Tom Kristensen was given a Police escort last year as he drove through Le Mans city center at the wheel of an Audi R18 e-tron quattro. On behalf of Audi Communications, the record winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans thanked the local authorities by visiting the ‘Hôtel de Police’ in the French city where he met the motorcyclists who had escorted him on his drive through Le Mans in 2014. Kristensen busily signed autographs and presented a freshly printed copy of his biography ‘Tom Kristensen – The Book’. “The visit was a wonderful surprise, because usually the Police get hardly any recognition for their work,” said delighted acting Division Inspector François Chaumard. Kristensen received a special plaque as memento of his visit and was allowed to sit in a Police car to conclude the occasion. Of course, he couldn’t resist testing the police siren…

Tom Kristensen

Tom Kristensen Tries High-Speed Sailing
[source: Audi Sport]
Audi Sport legend Tom Kristensen paid yet another visit to the Kieler Woche when he attended the 121st running of the event on Monday and Tuesday. The nine-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans insisted on taking the opportunity during the regatta, held since 1882, to sail on the Baltic Sea on the Oman Sail team’s MOD70-Trimaran skippered by Frenchman Sidney Gavignet. With a maximum speed of up to 40 knots, this racing class is regarded as one of the fastest in the world. Audi is premium partner to the Kieler Woche since 2010.

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Q&A: André Lotterer Looks Back at His 3rd Place Finish at the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans
[source: Audi Sport]
Following three victories in four years, André Lotterer, together with his team-mates Marcel Fässler and Benoît Tréluyer, took third place at Le Mans. The German in a brief interview.

Third place at Le Mans: Is the joy of the podium predominant or the disappointment following three victories in four years?

Taking on the Le Mans challenge also means that you have to expect not to win for once. That’s why we congratulate the guys from Porsche on their success. From our own experience we know exactly how hard it is to clinch victory here. Everything has to fit together perfectly, plus you need some racing luck as well – unfortunately, that wasn’t the case with us this weekend. That’s why we have to settle for third place this year and be happy about it.

Why didn’t the victory work out?

Obviously, we’re disappointed, but today is not a day to be sad. We fought hard, but had a few difficulties too many. The repairs on our engine cover kept costing us valuable time. We did everything we could to make up for that and, in any event, delivered a thrilling race for the spectators that way. I believe it was motorsport at the highest level.

Even though it wasn’t enough to clinch victory, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro was the fastest car in the field.

We managed setting the fastest lap with a new lap record in the race. This shows that we’ve got a very good car and that the whole squad did a fantastic job, both in preparation and during the week here at Le Mans.

After taking third place, you’re continuing to lead the WEC overall standings together with your team-mates. Is that some consolation?

Le Mans is such an outstanding race which everybody wants to win. Still, these were important points today in our battle for the WEC title that continues to be a big aim for us that we’re concentrating on. We’re now going to analyze the findings from Le Mans and then enter the remainder of the WEC season that will only really get started after the summer break.

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