ILMC: Audi starts from second row at Zhuhai

ILMC: Audi starts from second row at Zhuhai

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ILMC: Audi starts from second row at Zhuhai

Posted: 06 Nov 2010 05:18 AM PDT

ILMC: Audi starts from second row at Zhuhai

The two Audi R15 TDI cars fielded by Audi Sport Team Joest will tackle the first major endurance race for sports prototypes in China from the second row of the grid. Rainfalls obstructed the work of the teams at Zhuhai on practice days and made qualifying a gamble as well.

  • ILMC finale at Zhuhai with changeable weather
  • Conservative tire choice in qualifying
  • Audi R8 LMS shines in GTC class

After all three free practice sessions had taken place on a wet track the rain stopped shortly before the qualifying on Saturday afternoon. Because the track still had some damp spots Audi Sport Team Joest decided to play it safe and to initially send both cars out on intermediates. When Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello switched to slicks rain set in again. The eight-time Le Mans winner was able to improve to grid position three despite the fact that the track was becoming increasingly slippery and missed the first row by merely 199 thousandths of a second. Dindo Capello changed to slicks one lap later and was no longer able to improve as the rain was getting heavier.

The Italian used the remaining minutes of qualifying to optimize the set-up of the Audi R15 TDI as sunshine and temperatures of up to 26 degrees in the shade have been predicted for the day of the race after the two previous days had seen rain and fog.

Audi Sport Team Joest will have another 20 minutes in warm-up on Sunday to optimize the Audi R15 TDI cars for dry conditions. Due to the many narrow turns at Zhuhai an optimal race set-up and efficient brakes will play a crucial part over the 1000-kilometer distance.

On the first showing of the Le Mans sports cars in China Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish will be running in the Audi R15 TDI designated as car number “7.” Dindo Capello shares the cockpit of car number “8” with Romain Dumas.

The Audi R15 TDI will start into a sports car race in current trim for the last time. From the 2011 season onward new Technical Regulations will apply to the Le Mans prototypes that prescribe smaller engines with less power output.

For the first time, at the finale, the grid of the new Intercontinental Le Mans Cup will include three Audi R8 LMS cars that caused a sensation as early as in qualifying. The former Formula 1 racer Alex Yoong clinched the pole position in the GTC class and position eleven overall.The two other R8 LMS cars will start from positions 13 and 22.

The 1000-kilometer race at Zhuhai will start on Sunday at 12 (local time) (5 a.m. CET) and will last a maximum of six hours.

Quotes after qualifying

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “At the beginning of the qualifying session the track was in such a condition that it was possible to either use intermediates or slicks. We decided to use intermediates for both cars in order to not take any risks. When we put the cars on slicks drizzling rain set in again. That’s why we couldn’t achieve a better result. Based on the weather forecast we’re expecting dry conditions. That means we’ll be seeing a new game.”

Tom Kristensen (Audi R15 TDI #7): “It’s great to be in Zhuhai, it’s great to be in China. We enjoyed the first days. The last two days, though, the weather changed to rain which lasted up to the qualifying. It was very difficult to find the right set-up and make the right tire choice. We went out on intermediates. It seems we should have gone out on slicks. When I changed to slicks they were definitely faster but it was already starting to rain again. P3 is fine but is not what we had hoped for.”

Allan McNish (Audi R15 TDI #7): “Even though we had a test day beforehand the pretty inconsistent weather conditions it has been quite difficult to find a setup for this circuit. It is very specific as well with so many hairpins, long straights and no really fast corners. From that point of view we did not see in qualifying the real performance of any of the frontrunners. Overall we are third and fourth of the grid. We have made some quite good improvements to the car in the wet. If it is a wet race we know the car very well. If it is a dry race everyone is very much in the open.”

Dindo Capello (Audi R15 TDI #8): “It was tricky. Looking back, we made a mistake by starting on intermediates. But now this is easy to say. Unfortunately I stopped for slicks one lap too late. When I joined the track it started to drizzle. On the second lap I felt good grip from the slicks on the first part of the track, but on the second part it was already wet. I immediately understood that every chance to fight for higher positions was gone. What is good is that we improved the car during qualifying. At the beginning it was very harsh over bumps. I even had problems to keep my feet on the pedals. After the stop we made it much smoother. But unfortunately the rain came.”

Romain Dumas (Audi R15 TDI #8): “For sure it was very difficult with the changing weather conditions. It is not easy to find a good setup. On the first day when it was dry we had a few vibrations from the brakes, so we could not set the car up properly for the dry. So far it hasn’t been easy. But we have the warm-up again tomorrow to work and to be ready for the race.”

Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): “We had some time on a dry track on Thursday. The track was still pretty dusty though and new to us, that’s why our learning curve wasn’t that good yet. Then it was wet the whole time and almost dry again for qualifying. That was a little bit of a lottery. We’re hoping that what we worked out in the rain will work on a dry track too. But we’ll only know that tomorrow. We sent both cars out on intermediates in qualifying so that the drivers would see the damp spots. That was the right thing to do. Unfortunately, it started to rain again when we changed slicks. We didn’t draw the best lot in the lottery. But the race tomorrow will be long. We’ll try to be more on the mark tomorrow.”

Qualifying results

1 Montagny/Sarrazin (Peugeot) 1m 21.868s
2 Bourdais/Pagenaud (Peugeot) 1m 22.953s
3 Kristensen/McNish (Audi R15 TDI) 1m 23.152s
4 Capello/Dumas (Audi R15 TDI) 1m 24.589s

5 Drayson/Cocker (Lola-Judd) 1m 28.916s
6 Wakisaka/Mitsuyama (Courage-Oreca) 1m 30. 869s
7 Nicolet/da Rocha/Lafargue (Pescarolo-Judd) 1m 32.936s
8 Zacchia/Zhang/Lee (FLM-Oreca) 1m 33.227s
9 Iiri/Sekiguchi/Yuya (Lamborghini) 1m 33. 516s
10 Bergmeister/Long (Porsche) 1m 33.789s
11 Lee/Yoong/Marsh (Audi R8 LMS) 1m 34.959s (1st GTC)

13 Watts/Meins/Yu (Audi R8 LMS) 1m 35.682s (2nd GTC)
22 Richard/Li (Audi R8 LMS) 1m 37.888s (4th GTC)

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WTCC: SEAT scores points in Japan

Posted: 05 Nov 2010 07:49 AM PDT

WTCC: SEAT scores points in Japan

At a wet and rainy World Touring Car Championship race weekend in Okayama, Japan SEAT was unable repeat its winning form from its home race at Valencia which ended with two race wins. However, at the penultimate race of the year the drivers also collected plenty of points in their Leon TDI.

In the first race the young Hungarian Norbert Michelisz in fifth place was the best SEAT driver and winner of the Rookie classification as a result. Defending world champion Gabriele Tarquini was seventh, Michel Nykjaer eighth. “The conditions were the toughest I have ever experienced during a race,” said Michelisz.

After finishing eighth in the first race Nykjaer started the second race from pole position. “This wasn’t necessarily an advantage as I was the first to drive through the puddles and there was a huge amount of water on the track,” reported the Swede who was nevertheless seventh and best SEAT man and, on top of this, won the Rookie classification. Norbert Michelisz and Tom Coronel followed in eighth and ninth positions.

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Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid celebrates debut in China

Posted: 05 Nov 2010 07:36 AM PDT

Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid celebrates debut in China

Photo: © 2010 Corey Beaman |

With the race premiere of the innovative Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid in China, Porsche sets another highlight to conclude a successful year of motorsport. At the 1,000 kilometre race in Zhuhai on 7 November, Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) take the wheel of the ground-breaking sports car from Weissach, which features two electric motors at the front axle each developing 60 kilowatts to supplement the 480 horsepower combustion engine.

The first outing of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid in China is awaited with much anticipation. Porsche uses the final race of the newly created Intercontinental Le Mans Cup season to showcase its prototype, which perfectly embodies the philosophy of “Porsche Intelligent Performance’, to the important market of China. At its first race, Porsche Motorsport’s ‘rolling test laboratory’ caused a sensation by almost winning the Nürburgring 24 hour race. The Hybrid-911 led the overall classification until shortly before the flag. At its race debut in the United States of America, the #911 vehicle thrilled not only the fans at the 1,000 mile classic at Road Atlanta with its strong performance. Environmental politicians, who had come from Washington D.C. especially, were obviously impressed, stating that Porsche was forging the way of the future in motorsport with this vehicle.

Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid celebrates debut in China

Photo: © 2010 Corey Beaman |

For Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long, who clinched the GT class title of the American Le Mans Series this season with the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR for the second time in a row, the race in China marks an exciting conclusion to the year. “Having the chance to contest my first race in Asia with the 911 GT3 R Hybrid is something quite special,” says Joerg Bergmeister, who has already manned the Hybrid racer on the Nürburgring. “For me, this project was great fun right from the start. It is a completely new technology for which there is no basis. So, as a driver, you can also contribute a great deal more than would normally be the case. And, of course, better still is when you see how everything runs so smoothly.” Patrick Long is also looking forward to the race: “It’s a great experience to be able to work on a project that writes history. Many only dream of such a thing, but for me this dream comes true.”

On the 4.319 kilometre Zhuhai International Circuit, which was completed in 1996 as China’s first permanent race track, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid competes in the GT Experimental class and hence is not eligible to earn points. Its innovative hybrid system was developed specifically for use in the race car, differing significantly in its configuration and components from conventional hybrid systems. An electric front-wheel-drive with two electric motors supplements the four-litre flat-six at the rear. Under braking, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid converts kinetic energy into electrical energy and stores it in a flywheel. During acceleration, this energy is automatically delivered to the front wheels, supporting the combustion engine. This leads to a reduction in fuel consumption and increases the cruising range on the circuit. Moreover, drivers can manually utilise the stored energy with a boost-paddle on the steering wheel for overtaking. Performance on call.

Patrick Long, Flying Lizard

Photo: © 2010 Corey Beaman |

Racing alongside the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid in Zhuhai, which borders the Macau peninsula in southern China, are three Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. At the wheel of the most successful GT racer this season, which also won the environmental Michelin Green X Challenge as the vehicle with the best overall efficiency, are two favourites in the GT class, Porsche factory pilots Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria). This season the pair has already clinched their second Le Mans Series title in succession. Former Porsche-Junior Martin Ragginger (Austria) as well as Gianluca Roda (Italy) and Christian Ried (Germany) share driving duties in the second Felbermayr-Proton 911 GT3 RSR. The double Porsche Supercup champion and former FIA GT Championship title holder Richard Westbrook (Great Britain) teams up with Darryl O’Young (Hong Kong) in the 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Prospeed Competition.

The race in Zhuhai starts on Sunday, 7 November, at midday local time (0.5.00 hrs CET) and runs over 1,000 kilometres.

- Porsche Motorsport

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ILMC: Chinese debut for the Audi R15 TDI at the 1000KM of Zhuhai

Posted: 05 Nov 2010 06:45 AM PDT

ILMC: Chinese debut for the Audi R15 TDI at the 1000KM of Zhuhai

Zhuhai Gallery after the jump!

Six years after its last motorsport commitment in China with the DTM, Audi returns to the “Middle Kingdom.” Audi Sport Team Joest will field two Audi R15 TDI cars at the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) finale at Zhuhai on November 7. The two diesel race sports cars will be driven by Dindo Capello/Romain Dumas and Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish.

  • First Audi racing commitment in China since the 2004 season
  • Two Audi R15 TDI cars for Capello/Dumas and Kristensen/McNish
  • Three private Audi R8 LMS cars in the GTC class

For the first time ever, China will host an important endurance race for sports prototypes. The permanent race track of the city of Zhuhai in the province of Guangdong that was inaugurated in 1996 will be the venue of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC). The event will be a good opportunity for Audi to demonstrate the brand’s competence in motorsport and in a country in which Audi has already assumed a leading position: in October, the one millionth vehicle was delivered to a Chinese customer – no other automobile manufacturer in the premium segment has achieved this to date.

Major logistical effort

Audi will contest the 1000-kilometer race at Zhuhai with two of the Audi R15 TDI cars that were successful at Le Mans. Before the event, Audi Sport Team Joest had to perform a major feat in logistics. “As early as September, after the race at Silverstone, we dispatched a sea container,” explains Ralf Jüttner, Technical Director of Audi Sport Team Joest. “We shipped all the garage equipment parts and refueling rigs that we didn’t need for the race at Road Atlanta as we had separate equipment for that event.”

All the other equipment was sent on its way by air from Germany on October 25. Five single loading units with a total of 27.5 tons of material including the two race cars departed from Frankfurt/Main, Germany. The customs declarations were particularly complex. “We had to capture and document the contents of each individual drawer,” says Jüttner. “Several employees were busy handling the entire logistics operation for weeks.” By comparison, the entry preparations for the near 50 team members of Audi Sport Team Joest involved far less formalities.

As at Silverstone and Road Atlanta, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish will spearhead the Audi squad at Zhuhai. The eight-time Le Mans winner from Denmark and his Scottish team-mate who has won the French endurance classic twice will contest the race in the Audi R15 TDI designated as car number “7.” After his victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours, Romain Dumas is returning to the cockpit of an Audi R15 TDI for a racing commitment: for the first time the Frenchman will share the car designated as number “8” with Dindo Capello.

United Autosports, Audi R8 LMS

Audi R8 LMS to compete for the first time in the same field as the R15 TDI

In addition to the Chinese debut of the sports prototypes the many fans of the Audi brand will witness another premiere at Zhuhai: for the first time, the Audi R8 LMS entered by private teams will compete in the same field as the “factory”fielded Audi R15 TDI sports prototype. No less than three of the GT3 customer sport race cars will fight for the honors in the GTC class at Zhuhai. The United Autosports team is preparing two vehicles. Britons Danny Watts and Richard Meins will share a car with the Hong Kong Chinese Frank Yu, while the second car will be driven by Frenchmen Alain Li and Henri Richard. The newly founded KK Performance team is banking on the Audi R8 LMS in the LM GTC class as well. This cockpit will be shared by the former Formula 1 driver Alex Yoong, from Malaysia, and Hong Kong racers Marchy Li and Matthew Marsh.

Topics of the weekend

- Will Audi, after success at Le Castellet and at the Le Mans 24 Hours, manage to clinch its third victory of the season with the “R15 plus”?
- Will Audi be able to capture the ILMC title in the LMP1 class despite a 36-point gap to Peugeot after all?
- How hard will the track with its tight turns be on the brakes of the Audi R15 plus?
- How well will Dindo Capello and Romain Dumas harmonize with each other in their first joint run?
- Will the Audi R8 LMS manage to claim victory in the GTC class at the inaugural Chinese race?

Quotes by the officials

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “The 1000-kilometer race at Zhuhai concludes the 2010 prototype season in which we achieved an impressive one-two-three victory including a new distance record at the Le Mans 24 Hours with the Audi R15 TDI. China is an extremely important market for Audi. That’s why we’ll do everything within our means to leave a good impression at our first showing with our diesel race sports cars in China. At the ILMC opening race at Silverstone we had both cars on the front row of the grid. At Road Atlanta we were leading the race for a long time. At Zhuhai we want to win – knowing full well that we’ve got an extremely strong rival.”

Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): “At our last races we were beaten under par. Our pace has been consistently good: at Silverstone we started from pole position, at Road Atlanta the battle between Peugeot and Audi was very close. That’s why we want to try and shake off our misfortune at Zhuhai and end the season with a victory. For almost all of us competing on this track is a new experience and everyone is excited about it. Our engineer Leena Gade is the only one who’s been there before, once with the A1 GP Series, and Romain Dumas won a race in a junior series on this track 13 years ago. Apparently the circuit is very hard on the brakes of the car and very good traction is important there as well.”

Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers

Dindo Capello (46/I), Audi R15 TDI #8 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
- Will compete alongside Romain Dumas for the first time
- Is the only Audi driver to have mounted the podium at each of his five races with the R15 TDI in the 2010 season
“I’m hoping that our run in China will bring us good fortune. My season started in April with a victory in the R15 TDI at Le Castellet, so a victory at the finale would be very nice. At the beginning of the season, Allan McNish was my team-mate. Now I’m running with Romain Dumas, who won the Le Mans 24 Hours. It’s the first time for me to have a French co driver since sharing a cockpit with Laurent Aiello in 2001 at Le Mans. I’m not racing for the first time in China. This country brings back memories of the DTM for me – and my best DTM result. At Shanghai I achieved fifth place six years ago in the Audi A4 DTM. Now I’m eager to see what Zhuhai will bring.”

Romain Dumas (32/F), Audi R15 TDI #8 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
- Has celebrated success at Zhuhai before in his career
- Will contest his first race again in the Audi R15 TDI after his victory at Le Mans
“It’s a nice feeling to return to the cockpit of the Audi R15 TDI. It’s my first race in this sports car after our victory in June at Le Mans – and this break seems pretty long to me. Obviously I’m hoping that we’ll be competitive with the Audi R15 TDI in China and experience a thrilling race. I’m happy about competing for the first time with Dindo (Capello). He was the racer who gave us younger drivers a lot of valuable advice at the beginning of our time with Audi. I enjoy racing in China and Zhuhai brings back very special memories to me: in 1997 I competed there in a Formula Renault invitation race and won.”

Tom Kristensen (43/DK), Audi R15 TDI #7 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
- Has been on the podium this season three times
- Has never raced at Zhuhai before but many times in China
“I’ll be driving a sports car in China for the first time although I’ve contested other races in this country before. I also ran in the DTM at Shanghai, in the Race of Champions at Beijing and I’m also familiar with Macao. It’s nice that we’re competing with the Audi R15 TDI now in a market that’s so important to Audi. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to win the hearts and minds of the spectators for our sport with our showing. I’d really love to win the finale of the ILMC for Audi with Allan McNish. We’ll give everything to make this happen.”

Allan McNish (40/GB), Audi R15 TDI #7 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
- Is traveling to China for the first time
- Clinched the first pole position, one victory and three third places in the Audi R15 TDI this year
“I’ve never contested a race in China before; in fact I’ve never been to the country at all. Just a few years ago I heard for the first time that there was a circuit at Zhuhai. The only thing I know about the track is that it’s located near Hong Kong and Macao. But I enjoy traveling to countries and race tracks which are new to me. The race will probably be tough because it’s the finale. Both Peugeot and Audi want to end the sports car season with a victory.The track is new to all of us. We’ll only have a short time for testing before the standard practice sessions start. So we need to learn quickly and adjust. After our victory at Le Castellet at the beginning of the season it would be nice to end the year with another win. That’ll be difficult but that’s what we’re aiming for. And if our pace and the strategy are right, we’ll be in contention.”

Track info

Track length: 4.317 km
Race distance: 1,000 km / maximum of 6 hours
Pole position in 2009: –
Fastest lap in 2009: –

Romain Dumas about Zhuhai: “At Zhuhai we’ll find a track with 14 turns some of which are very narrow. The start-finish straight on the other hand is very long. This leads to a rhythm that’s hard on the brakes but should also offer some overtaking opportunities. Since it’s been a long time that I raced there I don’t think I’ll have any kind of track advantage now any more.”

ILMC LMP1 manufacturers standings after 2 of 3 rounds:
1 Peugeot 95 points; 2 Audi, 59.

Schedule (local times)

Thursday, November 4
09:00–12:00 Free practice
14:00–17:00 Free practice

Friday, November 5
10:30–11:30 Free practice 1
15:30–16:30 Free practice 2

Saturday, November 6
10:00–11:00 Free practice 3
14:30–14:50 Qualifying (GT vehicles)
15:00–15:20 Qualifying (prototypes)
16:00–17:00 Meet the Audi Team (Audi Team Hospitality)

Sunday, November 7
09:00–09:20 Warm-up
12:00–18:00 Race (1000 km/6 hours)

- Audi Motorsport

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Audi R8 LMS at Race of Champions

Posted: 05 Nov 2010 06:10 AM PDT


When the prestigious Race of Champions as a contest of the world’s best race and rally drivers visits Düssseldorf on November 27 and 28, Audi will be part of the action too. The Audi R8 LMS will be one of the cars in which past and present motorsport stars like Tom Kristensen, Sebastian Vettel, Alain Prost and their colleagues will compete with each other.

  • Successful Audi customer sports car to run in front of a large audience
  • Tom Kristensen meets with Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost and company
  • Comparison race co-initiated by former Audi “factory” driver Michèle Mouton

With a track record of 60 victories in two years it has long become a star in GT3 competitions and at the Race of Champions the world’s best motorsportsmen will place their trust in it too: the Audi R8 LMS will be one of the protagonists at the Esprit-Arena Düsseldorf on Sunday, November 28. “We’re happy that the world’s best race and rally drivers will also be seen in the Audi R8 LMS,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “In the hands of our customers the GT3 sports car has proved its racing capabilities by clinching 60 victories and five title wins in just 24 months. The model has also provided the expected commercial impulses. The customer sport program has long become the desired third pillar of Audi’s motorsport strategy. That such an illustrious driver line-up and the Audi R8 LMS can now be watched together will be a spectacular culmination of the year for motorsport fans in Germany.” Audi provides two GT3-specification R8 LMS cars that will be fielded by Phoenix Racing in Düsseldorf.


Unique driver line-up including Audi “factory” driver Tom Kristensen

Audi “factory” driver Tom Kristensen will again meet with the world’s best rivals this year. At his tenth Race of Champions the Dane, who won the ROC Nations Cup for Scandinavia together with Mattias Ekström in 2005, will meet with former Formula 1 World Champions Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost, challenge Sebastian Vettel and World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx and compete with record World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb. Many other names complete the line-up – including Filipe Albuquerque, who two weeks ago finished the Italian GT Championship as the runner-up in the R8 LMS.

ZDF to broadcast the spectacular event on Saturday and Sunday

Not only the fans on location in Düsseldorf can look forward to the Race of Champions as the German TV channel ZDF will air reports of the event in Düsseldorf on Saturday on “das aktuelle sportstudio” and on Sunday as part of its “SPORTreportage” program.


Audi’s connection to the Race of Champions dates back to its beginnings

When Michèle Mouton, who finished the 1982 World Rally Championship as the runner-up in the legendary Audi quattro, came up with the idea of the Race of Champions together with Fredrik Johnsson, the Four Rings participated in the inaugural event. In 1988 all former world rally champions competed against each other in the spectacular Audi Sport quattro S1 at Montlhéry in France and a year later the Group B vehicle thrilled fans at the second edition of the Race of Champions that was held at the Nürburgring. Now the event returns to Germany for the first time in 21 years.

- Audi Motorsport

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