Archive for category Audi in sports

Audi R18 e-tron quattro: heading for Le Mans with all-wheel drive

– Latest electrified generation of the successful all-wheel drive
– Audi sets benchmarks in terms of assembly space, weight and performance
– Four more weeks to go before the start of the Le Mans 24 Hours

In a month from now a prestigious success will be at stake for Audi. On June 16/17, a hybrid vehicle could be winning the Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time.

Electrified drive and quattro all-wheel drive – what looks like two different worlds at first glance has been merged into a technological synthesis by Audi. “Soon after the TDI phase had begun we started to think about the hybridization of a Le Mans sports prototype, when it was foreseeable that the regulations would open up this option,” explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “After exploring the concepts we quickly saw the opportunity of bringing a new technological specification of all-wheel drive back into motorsport. Unfortunately, it had been banned from circuit racing since 1998.”

From 1981 to 1997, Audi won four titles in the World Rally Championship, clinched three victories at Pikes Peak, a championship win in the TRANS-AM, two DTM titles and eleven national Super Touring Car Championships plus a Touring Car World Cup with quattro models. For the first time since the 1998 ban an all-wheel drive model is now allowed to compete in the FIA’s circuit racing program.

Yet what sounds like a simply return has been one of the biggest tasks ever tackled by Audi Sport to date. Packaging an additional front-wheel drive and a hybrid system into a sports car is particularly difficult due to the space conditions. With a width of two meters and a length of 4.65 meters the car has large outer dimensions. But underneath the outer shell there is a monocoque construction which in motorsport has been quite classically optimized for totally different aspects than the integration of a drive axle and incorporation of a hybrid system.

Consequently, the achievements of the engineering team that has made the hybrid front-wheel drive reality are particularly impressive: for example, because the entire drive unit is installed inside the carbon fiber structure for optimal protection. Or because the monocoque has been stretched in forward length compared with the predecessor model. This shortens the crash structure in front of it which still has to successfully pass all crash tests, though. Or because of the extreme proximity to the driver, which requires special protection measures. Or because of the weight, as every gram counts in motorsports. Or because of the performance capabilities. Never before has such a small and light-weight system recovered so much energy.

With support from system partners, Audi has achieved a particularly compact MGU (motor generator unit) on the front axle. During energy recuperation, which is fully electronically controlled, drive shafts transmit the power to the inside of the MGU where the kinetic energy is converted into electric power during braking periods. The principle is similar to that of the commonly known dyno – albeit with extremely high energy flows. Converters integrated into the housing transform this energy from alternating into direct current which in turn drives a rotating mass storage device located alongside the driver. The energy is stored by the current accelerating this carbon fiber flywheel which runs in a high-vacuum to as much as 45,000 revolutions per minute. After cornering, this energy is available again to power the electric motors of the MGU unit which in turn drive the front wheels. Up to 150 kW of short-term power (204 HP) can be supplied to the front axle.

“The fact that in Audi’s Technical Development division ideas of driving the internal combustion engine and an axle via the electric motor have been in existence gave us strong motivation to steer the concept for the R18 e-tron quattro in this direction,” says Dr. Ullrich. “We’re convinced that by splitting the electric drive and the combustion drive between two axles we’re achieving a positive weight distribution in the vehicle while making use of at least some of the advantages of a quattro drive system. After presenting our concept to the ACO and the FIA for the first time we received a relatively quick response. They saw that in the case of our hybrid solution in combination with all-wheel drive the quattro factor certainly carries some weight. The FIA wanted to keep this within the limits of a reduced scope because its chief aim is hybridization, not the return of all-wheel drive. Therefore, a clause in the regulations was agreed that limits the advantage of a standard quattro drive when accelerating out of tight corners. The electrified axle may only be additionally used for acceleration above a speed of 120 km/h”

At the same time, the number of braking zones is specified by the FIA for each track. The prescribed 58-liter fuel tank capacity of the hybrid vehicle is two liters less than that of the conventional car. Last but not least, the amount of energy that may be recuperated between two braking zones is limited to 500 kJ. “The FIA defines these intervention options for itself in order to create a balance between the hybrid vehicles and the conventional models. The effects vary from track to track and are difficult for us to judge at this point in time,” says Dr. Ullrich.

Dr. Ullrich’s conviction that this has been the right step outweighs these imponderables, though. There is even a bit of nostalgia involved. “I’m really happy that we managed to bring quattro back into motorsport. It was the system I started my first hours in the Super Touring Car project at Audi Sport with,” explains the head of motorsport. “Audi proved back then that all-wheel drive offers an advantage on any track in any weather even with low engine output, just like our customers can experience it on the road every day as well. It’s nice that we’re bringing a form of quattro back into motorsport even though, to put it in jest, we’re only allowed to compete with ‘part-time’ quattro at the moment.”

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Audi one-two victory at FIA World Endurance Championship opener

  • Capello/Kristensen/McNish win with a four-lap lead
  • Successful farewell performance of the Audi R18 TDI
  • Tenth victory for Audi at Sebring 12 Hours

On the R18 TDI’s farewell performance Audi managed a brilliant start into the new FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). With victory by Dindo Capello/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish the brand celebrated its tenth overall success in total at the famous Sebring 12 Hours in the U.S. state of Florida. New signing Loïc Duval completed Audi’s one-two victory together with his team-mates Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas.

Suspense through to the end: In a race that was interrupted by a total of eleven caution periods, Capello/Kristensen/McNish in the Audi R18 TDI designated as car number “2” had to work hard for their victory. Their rivals from their own team in car number “3” consistently remained within a striking distance with gaps of a few seconds in the first ten of the race’s 12 hours. The safety car repeatedly reduced the gaps of the trio at the front but Bernhard/Dumas/Duval lost four laps shortly before the end of the race due to body contact with a competitor.

At the same time, Audi Sport Team Joest kept its opponents at bay with perfect tactics. The squad set alternating pit stop intervals for its two best Audi R18 TDI cars which consistently kept their quickest rivals from HPD-Honda one lap behind the two diesel-powered sports cars. The race was dominated by heavy traffic and a large number of accidents in the field of 63 entrants but thanks to the precision-work of the drivers the victorious R18 TDI managed to cover the whole distance without any body damage.

Yet not only the tenth Audi victory at the 60th anniversary run of the Sebring 12 Hours is a milestone in the history books. Tom Kristensen as the record holder celebrated as much as his sixth personal success at the classic race in Florida, Dindo Capello his fifth and Allan McNish his fourth. Three years before, the trio had clinched Audi’s last victory to date.

The third Audi initially had perfect chances of finishing in a top position as well. André Lotterer, who had clinched the first pole position in qualifying for the new FIA World Endurance Championship for Audi, together with his team-mates Benoît Tréluyer and Marcel Fässler was the fiercest rival of the subsequent winners. Shortly before the race’s midpoint, car number “1” lost 17 laps though. A defective electrical shifting unit on the transmission forced the team to make an unscheduled repair in the tent. In the end, the three Le Mans winners from last year finished in 16th place overall and fifth in the LMP1 category of the WEC classification.

While the Audi R18 TDI in the presence of Jean Todt, the President of the FIA, delivered its successful farewell performance at Sebring, media and guests of Audi of America had the chance to get a glimpse of the future. On the fringes of the event Audi presented to them the new R18 e-tron quattro which like the new R18 ultra will be fielded as of the second WEC round on May 5 at Spa (Belgium). A week before, the new Audi A5 DTM will also be making its eagerly awaited debut at the Hockenheimring.

Quotes after the race

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport):
“Obviously, it’s nice that after the tenth pole position for Audi at Sebring we managed to achieve the tenth victory as well. For us, it was a great start into the season and into the new FIA World Endurance Championship. We had three cars here that were running at absolutely equal speed. They allowed us to score this one-two victory. Unfortunately, there was a small problem with the third car which prevented us from having all three cars in front in the end. Still, everyone in the squad can be proud of this result.”

Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest):
“That was a pretty strenuous race. And our rivals were really close on our heels. They were a tiny bit slower than we but in the caution period they wouldn’t ease up on us. They only started having problems in the end. Those were eleven hours of hard work for us. Well done to Dindo (Capello), Tom (Kristensen) and Allan (McNish). It was a superb drive. Fortunately, we made believers out of all those who thought we’d forgotten how to drive cars. Congratulations, too, to the drivers of the other two cars. They were all at the same level. It’s a shame that car number “1” had the shifting problem. One repair stop at the tent and your race is over. The other car was a bit unfortunate in the caution periods in which we also had to act strategically. On the other hand, it had benefited from the yellow flags in the beginning. In the end, after slight body contact, they finished as the runners-up. And I’m proud of our mechanics too, who practiced a lot during the winter. A nice WEC opening victory! That motivates the whole squad.”

Dindo Capello (Audi R18 TDI #2): “Allan (McNish), Tom (Kristensen) and I have been waiting for this victory for three years. It was the right time to be back on the top of the podium. It’s a sweet success, also because we drove the Audi R18 TDI for the first time here at Sebring. Bringing the car home without any scratches in a field of 63 vehicles is no easy feat. We learned a lot last year. Today we showed that we can get through traffic without body contact in a closed car as well.”

Tom Kristensen (Audi R18 TDI #2): “Audi Sport Team Joest did a fantastic job. Our R18 TDI had a good set-up. Allan (McNish) and Dindo (Capello) did a perfect job of driving. We had a tremendous battle with our team-mates. But the HPD-Hondas and the Rebellion-Toyota cars chased us for a long time as well. We were always able to work out a small advantage but that could also have easily gone wrong with the many caution periods. The car was running well but traffic was a real challenge and the temperatures around noon, when I was sitting in the cockpit for a long time, were pretty high. It was tough clinching victory here. Everyone in the team and at home at Audi can be proud of this. It’s great that we won the anniversary race and the WEC opener here. But we’re already looking forward to the next race when we’ll have something in our hands that production development will benefit from yet again as well: a hybrid vehicle.”

Allan McNish (Audi R18 TDI #2): “I’m very proud of the team. We worked very hard for this victory. Together with the engineers and the mechanics Tom (Kristensen), Dindo (Capello) and I invested a lot of time in working out the optimal race setup. That paid off because I think we had the best race car today. It was consistently fast and made it possible for us to be in contention from the beginning to the end. The new world championship couldn’t have started better for us than with a victory.”

Timo Bernhard (Audi R18 TDI #3): “It was a great race and we finished as the runners-up after being in contention for victory for a long time. Unfortunately, there was a collision with a slower car on the straight toward the end of the race. That’s why we had stop for a short repair in the pits. Afterwards, I drove to the car to a second-place finish. These are valuable championship points. The one-two victory is fantastic for Audi – well done to the team.”

Romain Dumas (Audi R18 TDI #3): “That was a nice race with good battles. We gave our best and were in contention for victory for a long time. Unfortunately, there was an incident of slight body contact toward the end. But ultimately we scored a nice second place.”

Loïc Duval (Audi R18 TDI #3): “Sebring yet again showed that it’s a difficult race. As late as on the final laps we encountered a small problem but achieved the aim nonetheless: Audi won and also took second place. Finishing on the podium right on my first run for Audi was a nice experience for me – a good race!”

Marcel Fässler (Audi R18 TDI #1): “We took off from pole, had a good start and were among the front runners in terms of speed. The car was running really well and I was very pleased. About halfway through the race we had a shifting problem which cost us a few laps. At least we scored a few points in the end. Obviously, we’re a bit disappointed because we could have achieved a better result. But we were among the front runners today and that’s why I’m looking ahead with a positive mindset.”

André Lotterer (Audi R18 TDI #1):
“Congratulations to Audi, to Tom (Kristensen), Dindo (Capello) and Allan (McNish). They did a perfect job. It’s nice that Audi won again at Sebring. I’m a little disappointed with the result of our car. We had a technical problem and afterwards the race was unfortunately over for us. We’ve got to settle with the fastest time in qualifying and the fastest race lap. These things can happen in motorsport. But the potential was there. Next time we want to at the front of the field again.”

Benoît Tréluyer (Audi R18 TDI #1):
“For Audi, it’s been a great day with a one-two victory. A nice team success! We would have liked to make our contribution to it. Our lap times were good but we had a difficult day. We were on the same lap as the leading car for a long time and took no risks. Unfortunately, a problem with the shifting unit came up about halfway through the race. That cost us a lot of time. Afterwards, the race was only about finishing without any mistakes.”

Race results

1 Capello/Kristensen/McNish (Audi R18 TDI) 325 laps
2 Bernhard/Dumas/Duval (Audi R18 TDI) – 4 laps

3 Potolicchio/Dalziel/Sarrazin (HPD-Honda) – 6 laps
4 Tucker/Bouchut/Barbosa (HPD-Honda) – 6 laps
5 Nicolet/Lahaye/Pla (Morgan-Judd) – 7 laps
6 Collard/Boullion/Jousse (Pescarolo-Judd) – 7 laps
7 Perez Companc/Kaffer/Ayari (Oreca) – 8 laps
8 Dyson/Smith/Kane (Lola-Mazda) – 8 laps
9 Zugel/Gonzalez/Julian (Zytek) – 9 laps
10 Leventis/Watts/Kane (HPD-Honda) – 9 laps

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A new era begins for Audi at Sebring

  • Premiere of the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC
  • Le Mans winning Audi R18 TDI modified for season opener
  • First run for new signing Loïc Duval

The 12-hour race at Sebring (U.S. state of Florida) on March 17 is shaped by major developments. For Audi, the new FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) is ringing in a completely new era. The brand with the four rings last won a world championship title in 1984 – then in rallying. At the same time, Audi has the chance of clinching its tenth overall victory on the 60th anniversary of the classic endurance race.

Audi is starting into its most important sports car season so far. For the first time, the brand with the four rings will be battling to clinch a world champion’s title in road course racing. Audi has been successfully competing in sports car races since 1999 and has won many series, including the American Le Mans Series on nine occasions. This year, for the first time since 1992, the FIA is again awarding a world champion’s title for Le Mans prototypes, the race cars that currently feature the most sophisticated technology of all.

The technical development at Audi Sport in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm is running at full stretch. No less than three different versions of the R18 LMP1 race car will be fielded during the course of the season. The Audi R18 e-tron quattro and Audi R18 ultra cars unveiled at the end of February are currently subjected to an extensive testing program and will be making their racing debut at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) at the beginning of May. At the world championship season opener at Sebring, Audi Sport Team Joest will rely once more on the R18 TDI that was victorious at Le Mans last year.

Effective immediately, new rules will reduce the engine output of the diesel-powered vehicles by around seven percent. To achieve this, the size of the air restrictors will be reduced from a diameter of 47.4 to 45.8 millimeters. The charging pressure drops from 3,000 to 2,800 millibar. The fuel tank capacity has been reduced as well. At a pit stop, the Audi R18 TDI can be filled with a maximum of 60 instead of the previous 65 liters of diesel fuel. In addition, it has to take 15 kilograms of ballast on board. The ballast compensates for the fact that the complex aerodynamic modifications of the fenders, which are prescribed as of 2012, have not been implemented on the R18 TDI but will only be made on the successor cars. Surprising but true: On its farewell, the R18 TDI will be experiencing a premiere as the closed-wheel sports car has never before competed in a 12-hour race at Sebring. The engineers, though, can draw on valuable historical data gathered with the Audi R18 TDI on many kilometers of testing on the famous race track in Florida.

Acid test for “man and machine”

The challenging 12-hour classic on the old airfield complex at Sebring stands for a notorious acid test at the season opener. The bumpy track consisting of tarmac and concrete slabs is rough on the race cars and the drivers’ physical condition. Sweltering heat was often another challenge in the past. Plus, being a 12-hour race, the competition in Florida is the second-longest one on the 2012 WEC calendar. With currently 61 entries – 31 from the American Le Mans Series and 30 from the WEC – the race will demand maximum concentration. Heavy traffic on a track that is slightly less than six kilometers long harbors the risk of body contact and accidents while lapping. For Audi, the 60th running of the race marks an anniversary as well. For the tenth time since 2000 a race car emblazoned with the four rings will have the chance of clinching victory. On achieving its ninth success in 2009 with Dindo Capello/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish, Audi set a distance record that has remained unbeaten to date. The trio covered 2,280.5 kilometers in the Audi R15 TDI back then.

Several premieres in the driver line-up

Whereas Audi Sport Team Joest fielded two cars at each of the past runs at Sebring, the squad is now putting three R18 TDI vehicles on the grid. Car number “1” is shared by Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F), with each of the three Le Mans winners from last year experiencing a Sebring premiere. Fässler has never before started from the Sebring grid in a sports prototype. André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer have never raced at Sebring before at all but know the track from tests. Car number “2” is shared by Dindo Capello/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish (I/DK/GB). Kristensen, with five victories under his belt, is the record holder, Capello has won the endurance race four times, and McNish three times. Car number “3” will be driven by Timo Bernhard (D) and Romain Dumas (F), who jointly mounted the winners’ podium as early as in 2008. They will be sharing their R18 TDI with Audi’s new signing Loïc Duval (F). The Frenchman is bringing a fitting “inaugural gift” to the squad. He was celebrated as a winner at the 12-hour race at Sebring last year. The nine drivers combined thus boast as many as 15 individual Sebring successes.

Topics of the weekend

– Will the diesel-powered vehicles still be competitive with the new rules?
– What will be the impact of the 15 kilograms of weight handicap on the cars with last year’s specifications like the Audi R18 TDI have to compete with at Sebring?
– Who will be Audi’s strongest challenger at Sebring?

Quotes by the officials

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport):
“Sebring is just around the corner; we’ve completed our preparations. It’ll be a grand and no doubt thrilling inaugural event of the new WEC. The entire fields of the WEC and the American Le Mans Series will be competing together. So, the field of entrants will be made up of more than 60 cars. For the fans and for motorsport, this is a tremendous beginning of a world championship. For those who are driving there and wanting to take their cars across the finish line unharmed, this is a pretty complex and strenuous mission. We’re running with three cars, which also serves to get the team to gel again at an early stage of the year. It’ll be difficult to get through such a race without any collisions. You need to stay clear of all trouble while maintaining a good pace, which is always important at Sebring. Only then will you have a chance of being at the very top in the end. Last year we had a quick car but, unfortunately, weren’t successful. Obviously, we want to make up for that this year and clinch Audi’s tenth victory on this historically important race track.”

Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): “This is the first world championship round for all of us. For the first time, we’re running with three cars at Sebring, which will be a great challenge. Naturally, we’re happy that the season will open there and we’ll be competing with the modified 2011-spec model. Things are continuing the way we experienced them last year at Atlanta – with an incredibly full field of more than 60 cars. You’ve got to get through without any problems and mistakes. If you do, then you’ll have good chances of taking places at the front. Our tasks are clear. We need to get into a rhythm for the full season and score as many championship points as possible.”

Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers

Marcel Fässler (35/CH), Audi R18 TDI #1 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
– Last year’s Le Mans winner has never driven a sports prototype at Sebring before
– He is sharing the Audi R18 TDI with his fellow Le Mans winners
“We’re in for a thrilling race because the situation will be a bit tight for everyone with more than 60 cars on the track. Of course I’m expecting for us to be able to set the pace at the front of the field. I’m personally pleased to be able to battle for overall victory in an LMP car for the first time at Sebring. I’m also hoping for us to have the necessary bit of racing luck to do so.”

André Lotterer (30/D), Audi R18 TDI #1 (Audi Sport Team Joest)

– The German has never been on the Sebring grid before
– Last year’s Le Mans winning trio is competing together again for the first time
“I’m really excited because the new world championship will no doubt be very interesting. Expectations are high. Naturally, we’re driving to win. I’ve never contested this 12-hour race before. I’ve reeled off a large number of test kilometers at Sebring though. The track really suits me well. It is great fun and I enjoy driving there. That’s why I’m really looking forward to the event.”

Benoît Tréluyer (35/F), Audi R18 TDI #1 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
– The Frenchman is starting his third season with Audi
– In 2011, he won Le Mans with Marcel Fässler and André Lotterer
“I’m very much looking forward to my run. For the first time I’ll be racing on this track that I’ve only known from tests so far. This probably won’t be an easy task but the atmosphere is excellent with a large crowd. I’ve heard a lot about this race – and now I’m finally part of it.”

Dindo Capello (47/I), Audi R18 TDI #2 (Audi Sport Team Joest)

– With four victories, is ranking in second place of the Sebring roll of honor
– In 2001, celebrated his first victory at the endurance classic in Florida
“At Sebring, the Audi brand and we drivers have seen many nice successes. I’ve personally won four times there. Naturally, another victory with Audi Sport Team Joest would be a great thing that I would truly enjoy. We last achieved that in 2009. That seems like a pretty long time ago. Our adrenaline level is rising again. A success at the 60th anniversary of this endurance race that is really significant in the United States would be particularly nice and important.”

Tom Kristensen (44/DK), Audi R18 TDI #2 (Audi Sport Team Joest)

– No other driver has been more successful at Sebring than the five-time winner
– On the debut of new Audi sports prototypes at Sebring he clinched victory in 2000, 2006 and 2009
“The 2012 season is starting with a nice big race – the Sebring 12 Hours. In all these years the circuit has remained almost unchanged. The track’s character, the bumps, the tarmac – almost everything is the way it used to be in the past. A legendary circuit plus more than 60 entrants on the anniversary event: The season could hardly be off to a better – or tougher – start.”

Allan McNish (42/GB), Audi R18 TDI #2 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
– Was part of Audi’s last winning team at Sebring in 2009
– Was on the podium six times between 2000 and 2009
“This year, Sebring stands for something really special. The new world championship is attracting a lot of attention. And, as always, Sebring is a tough race. For the many fans it is a nice season opener. The atmosphere and passion there are unique. For Audi, this race is linked to a large number of nice successes. Hopefully, we’ll be able to continue this list with the R18 TDI. This is an unusual feeling. We fielded the car for almost a whole season, but not at Sebring. Normally, our race cars are making their debut there but this time it’ll be the last run of the previous version of the car. After our test in December, I’m sure that the R18 TDI will be strong.”

Timo Bernhard (31/D), Audi R18 TDI #3 (Audi Sport Team Joest)

– Was the overall winner at Sebring four years ago
– Will be running with Loïc Duval as his new team-mate
“I’m very much looking forward to Sebring. I drove there for the first time in 2001. That was also my first endurance race and I’ve got many fond memories of this track. With Romain Dumas I managed to clinch overall victory there in 2008. Last year, our pace was good but we had two punctures which cost us any chance of victory. This year, I’m traveling there with high expectations. Sebring is always a great opener, a challenging race track and a superb event. I’m happy to be part of it again.”

Romain Dumas (34/F), Audi R18 TDI #3 (Audi Sport Team Joest)

– Won at Sebring in 2008 together with Timo Bernhard
– The 2010 Le Mans winner is experiencing his fourth season with Audi
“Sebring is one of the nicest races of the year. It’s also a very difficult one – in 2012 more than 60 cars will be in the field. You’ve got to stay on track and avoid problems. I think the outcome will really only be decided in the final hour of the race. Timo (Bernhard) and I won in 2008, Loïc (Duval) last year. The three of us have a good chance for victory.”

Loïc Duval (29/F), Audi R18 TDI #3 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
– The Frenchman aims to repeat his 2011 Sebring victory
– He is the only new signing to compete in Audi’s driver line-up
“This is a special season opener for me. I’m running for Audi for the first time, which has been a dream of mine for quite some time. The inaugural race of the World Endurance Championship at Sebring marks the beginning of a new era. And for me personally the return to Florida is very special too as I won the race last year together with two team-mates. At Audi, I’m competing together with Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas and am eager to see how well we’ll gel. One thing is certain: In my first few weeks I noticed that the team spirit at Audi is outstanding.”

The Audi drivers at Sebring

Timo Bernhard (D): * Feb 24, 1981 in Homburg (D); residence: Dittweiler (D); married to Katharina; height 1.73 m; weight: 61 kg; Audi driver since 2009; Sebring victories: 1.

Dindo Capello (I): * Jun 17, 1964 in Asti (I); residence: Canelli (I); married to Elisabetta, one son (Giacomo); height: 1.72 m; weight: 66 kg; Audi driver since 1994; Sebring victories: 4.

Romain Dumas (F): *Dec 14, 1977 in Alès (F); residence: Basel (CH); single; height: 1.74 m; weight: 60 kg; Audi driver since 2009; Sebring victories: 1.

Loïc Duval (F): *Jun 12, 1982 in Chartres (F); residence: Tokyo (J); single; height: 1.78 m; weight: 70 kg; Audi driver since 2012; Sebring victories: 1.

Marcel Fässler (CH):
*May 27, 1976 in Einsiedeln (CH); residence: Gross (CH); married to Isabel, four daughters (Shana, Elin, Yael and Delia); height 1.78 m; weight 78 kg; Audi driver since 2008; Sebring victories: –

Tom Kristensen (DK): *Jul 07, 1967 in Hobro (DK); residence: Monaco (MC); single (partner: Hanne), two sons (Oliver and Oswald) and one daughter (Carla Marlou); height: 1.74 m; weight: 72 kg; Audi driver since 2000, Sebring victories: 5.

André Lotterer (D):
*Nov 19, 1981 in Duisburg (D); residence: Tokyo (J); single; height 1.84 m; weight 74 kg; Audi driver since 2010; Sebring victories: –

Allan McNish (GB): *Dec 29, 1969 in Dumfries (GB); residence: Monaco (MC); married to Kelly, one son (Finlay), one daughter (Charlotte Amelie); height: 1.65 m; weight: 58 kg; Audi driver in 2000, since 2004; Sebring victories: 3.

Benoît Tréluyer (F): *Dec 07, 1976 in Alençon (F); residence: Gordes (F); married to Melanie, 1 son (Jules); height 1.78 m; weight 68 kg; Audi driver since 2010; Sebring victories: –

All winners of the Sebring 12 Hours (since 2000)

2000 Frank Biela/Tom Kristensen/Emanuele Pirro (Audi)
2001 Dindo Capello/Laurent Aiello/Michele Alboreto (Audi)
2002 Dindo Capello/Johnny Herbert/Christian Pescatori (Audi)
2003 Frank Biela/Philipp Peter/Marco Werner (Audi)
2004 Frank Biela/Pierre Kaffer/Allan McNish (Audi)
2005 Tom Kristensen/JJ Lehto/Marco Werner (Audi)
2006 Dindo Capello/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish (Audi)
2007 Frank Biela/Emanuele Pirro/Marco Werner (Audi)

2008 Timo Bernhard/Romain Dumas/Emmanuel Collard (Porsche)
2009 Dindo Capello/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish (Audi)
2010 Anthony Davidson/Marc Gené/Alexander Wurz (Peugeot)
2011 Loïc Duval/Nicolas Lapierre/Olivier Panis (Peugeot)

Track info

Track length: 5.954 km
Race duration: 12 hours
Pole position 2011: Stéphane Sarrazin, Peugeot 908, 1m 46.571s = 201.128 km/h (March 18, 2011)
Fastest lap 2011: Alexander Wurz, Peugeot 908, 1m 48.141s = 198.208 km/h (March 19, 2011)

Marcel Fässler about Sebring

“Compared with a modern European race track Sebring is a relic from the 1960s. This gives the track a lot of character. The concrete slabs of the old airfield are lined up with clearly notable joints that are offset quite a bit in certain places. Not least due to this fact the track has an incredible number of bumps. The first and final bends are regarded as courage testers. You can’t see into the first turn – the track width there is reduced from about 20 to only eight meters. At the end of the turn, you’ve got to watch out for heavy bumps. They can be tricky, particularly in the dark. Generally speaking, there’s not much lighting on the track but fortunately we’ve got LED lights at Audi. They helps us a great deal and I wouldn’t want to do it without them anymore. The trackside atmosphere is unique. The Turn 10 Club is famous. If you should retire near Turn 10 it’s pretty difficult to get back to the pits. The loyal fan club there really likes to hang on to the drivers for a long time.”

Schedule (local times; CET – 5 hours)

Thursday, March 15
10:00–11:00 Free practice
14:50–15:50 Free practice
19:35–21:20 Night practice

Friday, March 16

09:55–10:55 Free practice
15:20–15:35 Qualifying (GT vehicles)
15:35–15:50 Qualifying (GT vehicles)
15:55–16:10 Qualifying (LMPC/LMP2 vehicles)
16:10–16:25 Qualifying (LMP1 vehicles)

Saturday, March 17

08:00–08:25 Warm-up
10:30–22:30 Race (12 hours)

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Title and 1-2-3-4-5-6 result for Audi at Valencia

  • With a podium finish Martin Tomczyk celebrates his first DTM title
  • Mattias Ekström remains undefeated at Valencia
  • Filipe Albuquerque with first podium result

Triumph at Valencia: With a 1-2-3-4-5-6 result and an early title win Audi managed to crown its 2011 DTM season. Mattias Ekström celebrated his third victory of the season, Filipe Albuquerque, as the runner-up, his first podium finish and Martin Tomczyk in third place is the new DTM Champion.

Third place was sufficient for Martin Tomczyk to be determined as the early title winner. With a 13-point advantage over his title rival, Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz), the Bavarian managed a special feat: For the first time he won the coveted DTM trophy, for the first time Audi Sport Team Phoenix achieved this with a year-old car, and it has been seven years that an Audi driver was determined as the champion even before the finale. In 2004, Mattias Ekström, who now celebrated overall victory at Valencia, had last secured an early title win. Tomczyk had managed a perfect recovery after having started from position ten on the grid. As early as on lap one he was on position six, and in third place after his second stop.

“I extend warm congratulations to Martin Tomczyk, his team and the entire Audi squad on this outstanding achievement. The fans experience captivating duels at the highest sporting level and in Martin an absolutely deserving champion of the 2011 season,” says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. “After the triumph at the Le Mans 24 Hours and numerous other victories this title is already crowning a successful Audi motorsport year now.” His fellow board member Michael Dick, who is responsible for Technical Development, also congratulated the new champion: “’Well done’ to Martin Tomczyk, who has driven an outstanding season and always proved to be a fair and tremendous sportsman both on and off the track. At the same time, the fifth DTM title of the Audi A4 DTM since its debut in the 2004 season is a fantastic farewell gift. The development of our new Audi A5 DTM for the next season is concurrently in full swing. At Audi, we’re working on this car to follow in the successful footsteps of its predecessor with all our passion.”

The driver who definitely dominated the racing action in Spain was Mattias Ekström. The two-time champion led the field on 38 of the 45 laps. After the successes at the Nürburgring and Oschersleben the Swede from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline celebrated his third race victory within four races. Behind him, Filipe Albuquerque complemented what was a perfect weekend for him. The DTM rookie from Portugal had started from position two, defended his place up to seeing the checkered flag, and thus gave himself and Audi Sport Team Rosberg the best result of the season. He finished 15.847 seconds ahead of Martin Tomczyk.

Subject to an appeal which two Mercedes-Benz teams have filed against the disqualification of their drivers, three other Audi racers finished in the subsequent places at Valencia. Timo Scheider, who managed setting the fastest lap, achieved fourth place in front of his Abt team-mates Miguel Molina and Oliver Jarvis. Mike Rockenfeller took ninth place, Rahel Frey 14th. Edoardo Mortara retired in the pits three laps before the end of the race due to a handling problem.

“This has been a fantastic day for Audi,” said a pleased Dr. Martin Mühlmeier, the Technical Director of Audi Sport. “Six Audi A4 DTM cars on the top six positions, Mattias Ekström has shown another top-class performance, Martin Tomczyk has clinched the title with a tremendous recovery on his own power, and Filipe Albuquerque has achieved his first podium result. We’re overjoyed.”

From the United States Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, who was on location at the ILMC race at Road Atlanta, sent his congratulations as well: “Absolutely well done, I’m tremendously happy for Martin. He has been a member of our Audi family in the DTM for eleven years and has experienced many ups and – no doubt – downs. But he has never lost his spirit and has emerged as a leader, particularly in this season. Now he has rewarded himself and his team for the hard work and the fighting spirit with the title. We’ve always known that Martin is a strong racer and a great guy – now he’s also a true champion.”

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Audi offers unique live experience from Le Mans

  • Le Mans 24 Hours live on the internet
  • Onboard footage and telemetry data of the three Audi R18 TDI cars
  • Extensive reports on Facebook and Twitter

Audi offers motorsport fans the opportunity to watch the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend closer than ever before – on various channels on the internet.

When the race starts at 3 p.m. on Saturday the “Audi Live Racing” microsite will go online at http://www.audi-microsites.com/lemans. On the microsite Audi will be delivering a 24-hour live stream with onboard footage of the three Audi R18 TDI cars. In addition, telemetry data of the respective vehicle such as speed, selected gear and position on the track will be available online. Every two hours the microsite will provide a summary of the race. On Twitter the five-time Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro will contribute current information and assessments of how the race is developing.

At http://www.twitter.com/Audi__Sport and http://www.facebook.com/AudiSport motorsport fans have been able to find brief info, photos and videos from Le Mans since the Technical Scrutineering event on Monday. Users are receiving behind-the-scenes insights into Audi Sport Team Joest and have the feeling of being part of the action “live” themselves. The Facebook page of Audi Sport has already recorded more than 35,000 “friends”, with thousands of new fans joining them every day. The free “Audi Sport” iPhone app offers a live ticker.

Audi.tv is airing extensive reports from Le Mans as well – and TV coverage of the world’s most important race will be more comprehensive than ever before. Eurosport is broadcasting a total of 40 hours live from Le Mans, with non-stop coverage of the race on its two channels, Eurosport 1 and 2. The program of SPEED TV in the USA is similarly extensive.

In addition, in Germany, SAT.1 will air live reports from Le Mans. Presenter Verena Wriedt and the former Audi factory driver Hans-Joachim Stuck will be on the air with special programs on Saturday night at 18:30 and on Sunday morning at 07:50 (CET). On Tuesday night SAT.1 will broadcast an extensive background report of the “race of the year” on its “24 Stunden” (“24 Hours”) program.

Audi has already won the Le Mans 24 Hours nine times since 2000 and is competing for its tenth overall victory in total with the innovative Audi R18 TDI this year. The three cars are fielded by Audi Sport Team Joest. The drivers running in car number “1” are last year’s winners Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Mike Rockenfeller. Car number “2” is driven by Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer. In car number “3” Dindo Capello, Le Mans record winner Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish are taking turns at the wheel.

The race will be started by FIA President Jean Todt at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

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Free Asphalt Audi RS 3 game for the iPhone

  • Asphalt Audi RS 3 racing game offers exclusive driving experience
  • International competition – grand prize is an Audi A3 Sportback
  • Free Asphalt Audi RS 3 game for the iPhone

Just in time for the exhibition debut of the Audi RS 3 Sportback at the Geneva Motor Show, a new app arrived on March 3rd that allows all iPhone owners to take the new Audi model for a test drive. With the free racing game for the iPhone called Asphalt Audi RS 3, players can choose between two tracks (Bahamas and Tokyo), both of which feature thrilling graphics.

The iPhone app, which is available from the Apple App Store, was designed in partnership with Gameloft. Gameloft is the world’s biggest developer and publisher of video games for mobile devices. The sixth edition of the Asphalt racing game series, which has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, has been available since December 2010.

Winning in the Asphalt Audi RS 3 game involves more than just driving over the finish line: with skilled driving maneuvers players can beat their competitors or explore hidden short cuts. “This is a way for our customers to get to know the new Audi RS 3 Sportback even before the official market launch,” said Lothar Korn, Head of Marketing Communications at Audi.

In the game, the youngest member of the Audi RS family can be controlled using the touch-screen or via tilt control, which the iPhone allows to be used as the steering wheel. Customized configuration of the car is also possible.

For people who want more than just virtual driving fun, there’s a link that leads to Audi’s mobile website as well as to a page with an overview of all Audi apps (www.audi.de/apps). From there, iPhone owners can download numerous other Audi apps.

In the Asphalt Audi RS 3 Contest players can climb their way to the top of a worldwide online list. In this international competition, the player with the fastest time after three rounds on the Bahamas track will win an Audi A3 Sportback 2.0 TFSI quattro with the S line sports and exterior package, quattro drive, leather trim, xenon plus headlights and a BOSE sound system. The contest runs from March 3 to 16.

Starting March 3, the Asphalt Audi RS 3 iPhone racing game will be available worldwide at no cost from the Apple App Store in German, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese and Korean versions. After installing the program players can use all of the content of the app with an active Internet connection. The game is designed for the iPhone, but also functions on an iPad and iPod touch.

The contest is being offered in Germany, Australia, Belgium, China, France, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Japan, Canada (except for Quebec), Mexico, the Netherlands, Austria, Russia, Switzerland, Spain, South Korea and the United States (including the District of Columbia). Participants must be of full legal age and possess a valid driver’s license.

You can find more information about Gameloft and the Asphalt Audi RS 3 game at http://www.gameloft.de and at http://www.audi-mediaservices.de.

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