During the first three races of the 2012 DTM series, Audi has been outpaced by the competition of Mercedes-Benz AMG and BMW. Replacing the successful A4 (a car that carried Audi drivers to 7 of the 10 points-scoring DTM races in 2011), the A5 coupe-based race car did enter the 2012 season with some big tire tracks to fill. For the one and only visit to the country of Austria, Audi entered determined to mount a concentrated effort to mount a podium-topping DTM effort at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. To the delight of Audi boosters, the Austrian spectacle was the event where the A5 DTM race car would reign supreme.
The successful weekend for Audi started on Saturday when the A5 claimed its second series pole of DTM. For the first time since the debut race at the Hockenheimring where Mattias Ekström’s Red Bull-sponsored A5 scored a qualifying victory, the Audi Sport Team Rosberg car of Edoardo Mortara garnered the top spot at the 10-turn, 2.688-mile Red Bull Ring. “It’s simply incredible: my first pole position in the DTM! What can I say? Thank you to my guys from Team Rosberg, thank you to Audi Sport!” said the 25-year old driver Mortara after collecting the pole position.
On race day, the Playboy-sponsored Audi A5 DTM car of Edoardo Mortara only needed to preserve his position from the start in order to set up an ideal course over 47 laps. Placed on his first pole, the launch to begin Sunday’s main event was a challenge for second-year Italian driver Mortara. Contending with DTM points leader Gary Paffett and his Mercedes-AMG C-Coupe at the start, the Team Rosberg Audi A5 had an eventful entrance into the first corner but successfully fought off Paffett.
Fending off Gary Paffett early, the latter part of the DTM race at the Red Bull Ring, Edoardo Mortara and Audi’s plans for victory were put in danger by a former pilot of the four-ring badge products. Winning the 2011 championship with the Audi A4, Martin Tomczyk had jumped ship to the new BMW effort for 2012. Tomczyk’s BMW M3 hounded the rear of the Montara’s Audi A5 looking to exploit any mishap of the Team Rosberg race machine. Undaunted, Edoardo Montara flew to the checkered flag first holding off Tomczyk by a 1.068-second gap.
For what was a series of firsts, Edoardo Mortara celebrated at the top of the podium for what is a first official DTM win (Mortara won a round in the Munich Olympic Stadium last year but the race was not classified as part of the points-paying 2011 DTM tour). “After a few difficult weekends I wouldn’t have necessarily expected to win. You always try and give your best and today we achieved the maximum.” said Mortara. The first win for the Audi A5 is also the first DTM series victory for Team Rosberg since joining Audi in 2006.
Mattias Ekström brought the Audi A5 sponsored by the owner of the Austria track to a 4th place finish. Ekström commented in post-race about his 4th top-5 in the opening 4 DTM events saying, “I had a very good start in the race but then unfortunately lost a few places on lap one. In the end, I finished in fourth place. It’s definitely a bit disappointing that I didn’t finish on podium and manage to score big points.“
Finishing sixth, Timo Scheider with the ABT Sportsline Audi A5 was actually having a better race until taking a trip through the gravel trap. Finishing more than 35 seconds behind the leader, Scheider’s race was still a strong outing that included posting the fastest lap time around the Red Bull Ring during the 47-lap event.
Phoenix Racing’s Mike Rockenfeller (two weeks away from joining the Audi Sport Team Joest squad at the Le Mans 24 hour race) finished 7th and Filipe Albuquerque in the second Team Rosberg Audi A5 finished 8th.
Audi’s first win comes ahead of a nearly one month lay-off for the 2012 DTM series. The next race will take place at the Norisring where Audi hasn’t since 2002.
Information source: Audi AG, DTM
Photo source: Audi AG
The Audi A5’s DTM career started optimistically in the first 2012 race of the popular German Touring Car tour. With Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline driver Mattias Ekström leading the way with a pole in qualifying and a podium result in the Hockenheimring main event, the A5 coupe performed admirably in its series debut. For race number two of the 2012 schedule, the whole 8-driver racing squad of Audi A5 race cars arrived at the Lausitzring seeking their first win with their new DTM vehicle.
With five Audi A5 braking into the top-10 during the weekend’s qualifying at the 3.478-kilometer road course on Saturday, Mike Rockenfeller’s Schaeffler-sponsored Audi Sport Team Phoenix entry was the fastest with a fourth-quickest time in the final time trial session. The BMW M3 race cars’ speed in qualifying demonstrated themselves to be a formidable force at the Lausitzring against the Audi A5 DTM team.
On what was a very cold race day at the German track, the 52-lap event was not exactly the outing Audi had been looking for in the second DTM race of 2012. The fourth place-starting Audi A5 of Mike Rockenfeller suffered setbacks from the beginning. Receiving contact in the rear, Rockenfeller misjudged the turn 1 corner during the opening lap causing his A5 to jump the curbing. “Something on the car probably got damaged in the process. We lost a few places. Afterward, there was no pace in the car anymore.” said Mike Rockenfeller. The driver of the Schaeffler Audi A5 would also experience a slow pit stop later in the race resulting in what would be a 13th place finish.
While Bruno Spengler prevailed at the Lausitzring for what would be BMW’s first DTM series victory in more than 19 years, the day for the Audi A5 teams was overall a strong effort that resulted in four cars in the top-10. Following up his third place at the Hockenheimring, Swedish driver Mattias Ekström again carried the flag for the Audi team at the second DTM event. A 5th place run for the #3 Red Bull Audi A5 is a consistent job Ekström who said after the race, “Naturally, it’s a nice thing to be the best Audi driver. Fifth place isn’t perfect but we scored important points for the championship. We’ve got to continue to work hard in order to have a better pace at the next race weekend.” Mattias Ekström’s Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline would also bring the second team car home in 6th place. Charging from 12th place on the grid to narrowly miss the top-5, Timo Scheider’s performance at the Lausitzring was much appreciated after misfortune in the opening event a week ago. “Performance was good afterwards, I moved forward with a few overtaking maneuvers and a good strategy. In the end, I caught Mattias (Ekström) and that meant I couldn’t advance any more. We had a nice fight.” said Scheider.
In 8th and 9th place, Team Rosberg performed another impressive team effort with Audi DTM cars. Italian Edoardo Mortara lead teammate Filipe Albuquerque across the line for the Team Rosberg organization. Behind Mike Rockenfeller’s 13th place finish, the remaining Audi drivers included Miguel Molina in 15th, Adrien Tambay in 18th and Rahel Frey who recorded 20th at the line.
With the Brands Hatch scheduled on May 20th, Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich looks back on the Lausitzring event saying, “It was a very tough race. Unfortunately, we didn’t find the overall performance we’d been hoping for. In the case of Timo (Scheider) and Mattias (Ekström) we tried something between warm-up and the race – I think that was a step in the right direction. But we’ve got to use the two weeks between now and the next race at Brands Hatch to be in contention for victory there again.”
Lausitzring DTM Race Results
1 Bruno Spengler Canada BMW Team Schnitzer BMW M3
2 Gary Paffett England THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé
3 Augusto Farfus Brazil BMW Team RBM BMW M3
Audi Team Results
5 Mattias Ekström Sweden Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline Audi A5
6 Timo Scheider Germany Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline Audi A5
8 Edoardo Mortara Italy Audi Sport Team Rosberg Audi A5
9 Filipe Albuquerque Portugal Audi Sport Team Rosberg Audi A5
13 Mike Rockenfeller Germany Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi A5
15 Miguel Molina Spain Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi A5
18 Adrien Tambay France Audi Sport Team Abt Audi A5
20 Rahel Frey Switzerland Audi Sport Team Abt Audi A5
One of the fastest-growing auto racing tours in Europe, the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) series launched into its 2012 season with a 40-lap main event at the 4.574-mile Hockenheimring GP Circuit April 29th.
Winning 7 of the 10 official DTM races last season with the Audi A4, the 2012 season presented a major transition for the German auto manufacturer. Firstly, their 2011 DTM championship-winning driver Martin Tomczyk defected to the newly-activated BMW effort in the series (BMW returns to DTM competition for the first time since 1993). Drivers Mattias Ekström for Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline and Mike Rockenfeller with Audi Sport Team Phoenix are favoured to be lead contenders for the championship title in Audi’s 2012 DTM effort.
Bracing for fierce competition with luxury car rival BMW’s M3 and Mercedes-AMG’s C-Coupe in the DTM series, Audi decided to retire the A4 from series in 2012. Replacing the steadfast performance of the sedan, the A5 coupe carries the integrity of the four rings. The Audi A5 DTM car conforms to new series regulations designed to standardize the parts among the three manufacturers for better competition and reduced costs. Despite what these vehicles might share, Audi was determined to demonstrate they still have an edge on their DTM competition.
After months of testing for all manufacturer and teams, Mattias Ekström started the career of the Audi A5 off right during Saturday’s qualifying. Scoring pole in the #3 Red Bull-sponsored Audi A5 at the Hockenheimring GP Circuit, Ekström entered Sunday needing to hold into this position over 40 laps in order to usher in 2012 victory. In front of the 22-car field, the #3 Audi A5’s chance of an early season win promising as Ekström led through the first four laps of the DTM main event. Unfortunately, Mattias Ekström efforts were thwarted by mistimed braking into turn two on lap 5. Ekström and the Red Bull Audi A5 lost the lead to Mercedes-AMG driver Jamie Green.
Ultimately in the Hockenheimring event, the Mercedes-AMG C-Coupes were just too strong in the season opener of the 2012 DTM series. Winning the event was #11 Mercedes-AMG C-Coupe of Gary Paffett finishing ahead of Jamie Green’s car. After 40 laps, Ekström brought the A5 of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline across the finish line 19.4 seconds behind Paffett in 3rd place. “It’s always nice to be on podium. Our aim today was to be at the very top. Unfortunately, we only managed third place.” said the two-time DTM champion and lead Audi driver Mattias Ekström after the Hockenheimring event.
In fifth place, the #9 Schaffler-sponsored Audi A5 of Mike Rockenfeller secured a hard-earned top-5. “The race was very strenuous, I had a good start. After that, I was struggling because we’d changed the brake beforehand and tire pressure was a bit low. I had to let (Gary) Paffett pass at the start.” said Rockenfeller. In front of 142,000 spectators over the course of the race weekend, the Audi A5 DTM cars had four cars placed in the top- 10 with Miguel Molina crossing the line 9th and Filipe Albuquerque’s A5 finishing 10th.
While some of the Audi A5s were able to fight for top runs on the Hockenheimring road course, brand drivers Timo Scheider and Adrien Tambay had less than stellar finishes caused by on track incidents. The #4 Auto Test-sponsored Audi A5 of Scheider dropped out of the competition on lap 13 after race contact. “After running as the last car in the field I managed to advance to 14th place.” Timo Scheider commented about his early race run. “Then I overtook Roberto Mehri under braking and he hit my car. After that the car was so heavily damaged that it made no more sense to keep on driving.”
Calling his race result a shame, France’s Adrien Tambay spent only lap 3 behind the wheel of his Audi A5 DTM car before retiring. “ On lap one everything was going really well and I was shooting for seventh place. But then an accident happened in front of me and there was a lot of commotion. I was right in the middle of a sandwich.” said Tambay. The French driver would add, “Still, I take positive stock of my first DTM weekend and am already looking forward to the Lausitzring.”
Viewing the race as a whole for the new Audi A5 DTM car, Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich said, “It was nice that we were able to decide the new DTM’s first qualifying event with Mattias Ekström’s pole position. Naturally, we wanted to convert that into victory as well. Yet we were lacking the race performance to do so today.”
Completing the first of ten point-scoring DTM events in 2012, the Lausitzring is next on May 6th. “Now it’s our task to do everything we can so that we won’t be able to only show a perfect performance in qualifying but also in the race at the Lausitzring.” proclaimed Dr. Ullrich.
Information and photo source: Audi AG, DTM
North America auto buyers would be amused at the potpourri that is the global Audi vehicle range. Through high-profile auto exhibitions, the version of the A1 subcompact and Q3 compact crossover are models unaccustomed to Audi owners (or potential Audi owners) in the United States. Making judgement calls for what mind of vehicles a certain market can sustain, we (as North American enthusiasts) are kept in the dark of Audi’s accomplishments in other parts of the world. Thankful to the theatrics of several major auto shows, car companies are finally encouraged to display their many faces to a global audience.
In China, Audi produces a wider wheelbase version of the A6 sedan in association with (FAW) First Automobile Works Group Corporation. A solid selling vehicle in China‘s premium car segment after a short time on the market, the Audi A6 L is 3.7 inches longer compared to the standard sedan in overall length. For the 2012 Auto China exhibit, Audi and FAW collective success of the A6 L is being highlighted to the world with e-tron treatment. The newest appearance of Audi’s electrified plug-in hybrid powertrain, A6 L e-tron Concept pushes the bounds of their gasoline-saving technology deeper.
The combination of a gasoline and electric power train on a large sedan (as shown on the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept) is nothing new for Audi. The A8 Hybrid sedan is slated for sale in Europe following the A6 Hybrid already found in showrooms east of the Atlantic Ocean. Of course, the main difference with the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept is the use of electrical power as primary motion. Using the same 211-horsepower, 2.0 TFSI engine used in the conventional A6 and A8 hybrid vehicles as a range extender, the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept adaptation to a plug-in hybrid motoring caused a rethink of the electric-mode hardware. Instead of the 40-kilowatt electric motor found on the A8 hybrid, the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept employs a more powerful 70-kilowatt electrical propulsion unit. A larger lithium-ion battery pack is also a property of driving plug-in hybrid vehicle such as the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept.
On pure electric power, the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept can run up to 80 kilometers (about 50 miles) on a single change at a maintained speed of 37.3 miles per hour. The Audi A6 L’s lightweight aluminum construction and use of highly efficient LED lighting plays well to optimize the e-tron powertrain.
Still a very stylized premium sedan, the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept wears its fins in a much tighter fashion than that found on the production car. As the ultra-modern Audi sedan receives propulsion from gasoline and electric power, the A6 L e-tron Concept coasts on 21-inch wheels featuring the same aggressive turbine blade design featured on the Audi e-tron Spyder.
Despite the intense focus on energy efficiency, the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept sedan continues to pamper the driver and passengers with modern comfort. Features such as ventilated seats, automatic climate control, Bose Surround Sound System and Audi MMI navigation plus are all found inside of the four-door luxury sedan. For the driver of the plug-in hybrid, the instrument panel features a subtle but important change. Replacing the tachometer, a powermeter is incorporated into the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept so drivers can actively monitor the lithium-ion battery along with other crucial gauges.
Thanks to show cars like the A6 L e-tron Concept, Audi has convinced observers of the German luxury car brand there are far-reaching merits to Audi’s e-tron technology. Combining the eco-friendly motoring both government agencies and motorists will require through the upcoming decades, we have seen e-tron bringing the same confidence as well as performance refinement expected from the upscale car badge. However, customers of Audi are still several years away from seeing e-tron for sale. The first planned e-tron production model is the Audi A3 e-tron set for 2014 release in Europe. The Audi A6 L e-tron Concept (a possible pipedream of a lower tailpipe emission future) seems likely to remain a showpiece for the immediate future.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Adding credence to rumours spread last week, Audi officially announced Wednesday there is the new owner of Italian motorcycle company Ducati. Buying share holdings from Investindustrial the Canadian-based Hospitals of Ontario Pension Plan and BS Investimenti, the purchase of Ducati by Audi has been quoted to be in excess of 1.1 billion US dollars. In presenting this major acquisition, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG Rupert Stadler declared, “As a sporty, global premium brand, Ducati is an excellent fit for Audi.”
In the announcement, Audi pinpoints several desirable attributes in the Ducati company that made the acquisition mutually beneficial for both companies. Citing Ducati’s knowledge of lightweight material and engineering, Audi has describe this information could offer great opportunities for future Audi and Volkswagen Group products. Audi has also been impressed by Ducati’s small engine technology and their utilization of a special combustion chamber process for creating sport power.
An Italian company founded in 1926 by Antonio Cavalieri Ducati and his sons, Ducati business was initially a producer of radio equipment. It was after the Second World War when the Ducati name would be associated with motorized bikes when they proceeded to assemble the Cucciolo in post-war Italy. Ducati swiftly expanded their product line-up to include higher performance motorcycles that would eventually blossom across Europe and overseas in the Americas. North American customers were introduced to the Ducati name with the Scrambler in 1962 where the company quickly assembled a following. Similar to many transportation-oriented companies, Ducati has been setting focus on growing in Asian markets. “Ducati has thrived with us as a result of the intensive industrial turnaround and the commercial push into new, fast-growing markets. We are convinced that the company will continue to provide a bright and rewarding future to its customers and employees in the very capable hands of Audi.” said Andrea C. Bonomi, Chairman of Investindustrial (the major outgoing owner of Ducati).
Part of the brand fostering efforts for Ducati has been a company’s prominent motorsport presence. Under the motorcycle manufacturer’s racing arm Ducati Corse, the company’s bikes propelled 14 FIM Superbike World Championship riders. Ducati in the FIM Superbike World Championship earned the yearly manufacturer title on a record 17 occasions including 2011. A Ducati also carried Australian rider Casey Stoner to a 2007 MotoGP title. Audi’s heavy involvement presently in motorsports should bode well for Ducati’s future in motorcycle racing accepting that the adage “Race on Sunday, sell on Monday” appears to be shared.
The pairing of Audi and Ducati might sound surreal to modern era fans of the four-ring badge. However, one of the four rings in Audi’s famous Auto Union emblem represents their historical connection to motorcycle construction. Under the DKW banner, Auto Union sold numerous varieties of two-wheeled motorcycles and scooters. After the Second World War, DKW were required to give up their designs to the very popular RT125 motorcycle to industries in ally nations including American company Harley-Davidson. Known as the Hummer in the United States, almost 32,000 motorbikes using the DKW design were produced by Harley-Davidson from 1948 until the mid-1960s (coincidently, the same time the DKW brand would be discontinued). The DKW RT125 would also influence motorbikes in Britain, Poland and Japan up to the 1980s.
Along with the DKW motorcycle history, Audi was also connected to a second foray into the two-wheel sector. In 1969, Audi’s parent company Volkswagen merged with NSU Motorenwerke AG that built cars and motorcycles. At one time itself a one of world’s largest motorcycle manufacturers during 1950s, NSU was a notable in motorsports. NSU had exited the motorcycle business in 1965 prior to the merger with VW Group.
Pending approval by the competition authorities, the inclusion of the Italian motorcycle builder with Audi is certainly going to present some unknowns for how the companies will collaborate over time. Will this acquisition lead to the presence of Ducati motorcycles on the showrooms of Audi dealerships? Could the small Ducati engines lend engine to a production-based interpretation of the Audi’s Urban Concept vehicle? The options seem wide open for where the newest joining of two and four wheels can lead.
Information and photo source: Audi AG, Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A.
Pertaining to sport versions of Audi’s vehicles, the RS destination was given to the German luxury car brand’s products in 1994. Inaugurated on ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’ called the RS2 Avant, the flexibility Audi showed with towards high performance presented the all-wheel drive quattro drivetrain linked in a screaming 311 horsepower 2.2 liter turbocharged engine. In recent years, Audi’s avant-garde design has been injected with a high dose of performance character through expanded use of the RS badge as the brand headquartered in Ingolstadt, Germany targeted the M division of BMW and AMG outfitted Mercedes-Benz products.
Extended to sedan, coupes, convertibles and wagons of many sizes, there have yet to be a production RS model of an Audi crossover vehicle. At the upcoming Beijing Auto China exhibit, one concept presentation using an Audi Q3 will finally test the waters of crossover utility merging with the high-performance RS trim.
Painted a rather calming shade of Ordos Blue (a mix of matte blue and yellow), the Audi RS Q3 Concept is a rare variety of compact utility super performance. Lowered 25 millimeters (0.98 inches) compared to the stock model Q3 sold in Europe, the Audi RS Q3’s bodywork also portrays a wider stance for the crossover vehicle. Unique front grille, tinted front headlight and taillight housings as well as the precise use of aluminum trim allows the concept crossover to beam premium performance. Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) body add-ons on the Audi RS Q3 supplies a front spoiler, rear diffuser and retouched air intakes surroundings befitting a sports car. The Audi RS Q3 sport compact crossover rides on 20-inch wheels featuring a multi-finish style where high-gloss and matte-looking surfaces combine within 255/30 tires.
The sight of blue, black and aluminum fill the Audi RS Q3 Concept’s interior. A glass sunroof allows natural light to flow freely through the cabin of the five-passenger cabin. Creating a sense of high-grade performance along with a premium comfort feel, the RS Q3 Concept features seating marrying Nappa leather and dark blue alcantara. Ahead of a redesigned instrument panel, black velvet covers the steering wheel made of CFRP material.
Powering the Audi RS Q3 Concept is the 2.5 liter, five-cylinder TFSI similar to the one found in the TT RS sports car. A direct-injected and turbocharged engine, 144 horsepower per liter from the inline powerplant combines to total 360 horsepower. Networked through a seven-speed S Tronic direct shift transmission, the 360 horsepower of the Audi RS Q3 is intelligently guided along quattro all-wheel drive for incredible performance. Capable of a top speed of almost 165 miles per hour, acceleration from 0 to 62 in the Audi RS Q3 is estimated at 5.2 seconds.
Making its public debut late next week in China, the high performance Audi RS Q3 Concept will be auditioning for its place in the upcoming vehicle line-up of this growing German auto brand.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Searching for their 10th victory, the Audi prototype program has placed every major iteration of their race purpose-built sports cars in the Sebring International Raceway winner’s circle since 2000. The Audi R8 prototype race car, as well as the R10 TDI and R15 TDI are celebrated race vehicles that began their piece of a motorsport dynasty with an inaugural victory at Sebring. Bringing 2011-spec Audi R15 TDI Plus race cars to the Mobil 1 Twelve of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida event last year, the Audi R18 TDI closed cockpit prototype car would break an 11-year trend by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans first. For the 2012 American Le Mans Series first race and the debut event for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), Audi Sport Team Joest’s three-car R18 team needed to claim the car’s elusive Sebring race.
Without the challenge from the Peugeot 908 sports car that won the previous two Sebring events, the Audi Sport Team Joest team came to the race track carrying a war chest of experience and equipment trumping other prototype class contenders. In Friday qualifying for the half-day Saturday race, the Audi R18 TDI race cars stormed around the 3.7-mile, 17-turn road course claiming the top three starting positions with little opposition. Taking the pole among the three-care Audi R15 group was the #1 vehicle that flew around the Sebring International Raceway with a 1-minute, 45.820-second lap time.
The Audi R18 TDI was almost perfect in its debut at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring event on Saturday. The #1 Audi R18 TDI, handled by the driving team of Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler, parlayed their Friday speed into Saturday race pace. When the #1 car was not leading the race early, one of the three team cars for Audi Sport Team Joest held the top race track position during the first four hours.
In the fourth hour, the harmonious rhythm of the three-car Audi R18 TDI squad would be impacted by an issue with the lead vehicle. Losing the lead first when a pit stop netted a stop-and-go penalty from the race stewards, the #1 Audi R18 TDI race car would crawl back to pit lane more than an hour later. A faulty electrical shifting unit on the gearbox would wind up taking the #1 car to the service area behind the pit wall. Costing the #1 Audi R18 17 laps, the car containing the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning driving trio returned to competition to finish fifth in the LMP1 category among the WEC registered vehicles.
Taking over from where the #1 car left off in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the #2 car piloted by the proven driving combination of Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello went on the mission of with the R18 TDI prototype sports car. As day turned to night and the clock for the endurance race ticked down to zero, the #2 Audi Sport Team Joest R18 TDI won the 2012 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring by four laps over their #3 team car. “It was consistently fast and made it possible for us to be in contention from the beginning to the end.” said Allan McNish who celebrated his fourth overall win in the Sebring 12-hour race. Winning their first Sebring event since 2009, the #2 drive consisted of the same trio of drivers that brought an Audi R10 across the line on that occasion.
Despite the fact victory seemed easy for the #2 car squad, the winning drivers all combated challenges during the 12 hours of racing. “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.” said Tom Kristensen adding, “It was tough clinching victory here.” Technical Director for Audi Sport Team Joest added to Kristensen’s acknowledgment saying, “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.” The triumph of the Audi squad against the 64-car field at the 2012 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring comes as another moment the German-based team conquered with superior technology, engineering, mechanics and drivers.
Attending the first race for the World Endurance Championship, FIA President Jean Todt was witness to the Audi Sport Team Joest operations at Sebring as they flew to sports car victory in 2012. With many dignitaries present, Audi captured the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring taking the overall victory as well as the first win for a prototype under the WEC body. Proud of the work of the whole racing operation, Head of Audi Motorsports Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich commented, “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.”
The next FIA World Championship race for the Audi Sport Team Joest organization is the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 6th. This Belgium round of the 2012 series will feature the competitive debut of the diesel/electric Audi R18 e-tron quattro ahead of the 24 Hour of Le Mans event.
This weekend at Sebring International Raceway, the Audi Sport Team Joest prototype organization prepares for the start of the 2012 sports car racing season. Since entering the sports car prototype arena in 1999, Audi’s motorsport efforts have pushed the four-ring badge to the top of track competition while their street cars captured accolades with customers.
With worldwide sales recorded at a 625,807 total in 1999, Audi AG scored 1,303,650 in vehicle unit sales across the planet in 2011 as the German luxury car brand has risen to a serious force in automotive production. While some debate the impact of motorsports on the street vehicles, Audi’s loyal attention to the high-priced sports car competition has provided a better-than-average case proving the benefits of factory support for auto racing. For 2012, the sports car racing efforts in prototype racing Audi Sport Team Joest will present several changes as they will attempt victory on the race track as well as win customers to new, production car-related technology.
As the Audi R18 TDI will take the green flag for the 2012 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the Team Joest-fielded vehicles will be part of the newly formed FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich committed “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. “ The 2012 WEC represents collection of great, modern sports car races assembling on the globe’s most prestigious race circuits. Included in the high profile first season for WEC will debut at Sebring International Raceway before moving onto the Spa Francorchamps road course and famous Circuit de la Sarthe for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Audi Sport is committed to run every round with their R18 TDI prototypes throughout the inaugural eight-round competition.
Much of the pre-season excitement centered on the Audi prototype sports car program has been centered on the gasoline/electric hybrid version of the R18. Scheduled to run for the first time at the Belgium event in May, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro combines the mid-engine 3.7 liter V-6 TDI engine with an electric motor that will drive the front wheels. With rear wheels still being spun conventionally through TDI powerplant, the new prototype will bring a unique take on Audi’s much-touted quattro all-wheel drive. When Audi Sport Team Joest runs the 24 hours of Le Mans in mid-June, the plan is to run two hybrid cars within a four-car effort. For the Sebring race, Audi has prepared three non-hybrid R18 TDI prototype sports cars.
For the 12-hour event at Sebring, car #1 for Audi Sport Team Joest will feature the teaming of Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer who won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the team last year. In the #2 Audi R18 TDI, the accomplished group of Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish will attempt to rekindle the magic they used to collectively win the 2009 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Sharing the #3 car, Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Loïc Duval will round out the highly talented 2012 driver line-up for Audi Sport Team Joest.
Audi Sport Team Joest will be seeking their 10th victory in the 12-hour race. From 2000 to 2007, Audi had affirmative possession of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring overall honours with the Audi R8 and R10 prototype race cars. Interrupted for claiming victory by a pair of Porsche RS Spyders in 2008, Audi did succeed in maintaining its streak of LMP1 class victory at the Sebring International Raceway for a total of nine consecutive races. Stretching the automaker’s records with a ninth overall Sebring race win in 2009, the Peugeot 908 has presided as the top prototype runner for the famous sports car event. With Peugeot opting out of the 2012 edition of the Mobil1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the Audi R18 is heavily favoured for victory late Saturday night.
With preparations for the 60th running of the Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida ongoing this week, the clock for the half-day endurance race starts March 17th at 10:15 AM Eastern time.
Information source: American Le Mans Series, Audi AG
Photo and video Source: Audi AG
At the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, the European-targeted three-door version of the 2013 Audi A3 encapsulates renewed passion for pushing the boundaries of what can be expected from an entry-level compact.
The 2013 model year A3 is greatly refreshed to reflect Audi’s technology advancement and refined styling DNA. Premiering in Geneva, the 2013 Audi A3 three-door hatchback is immediately eye-catching as a sophisticated yet youthful design. Just slightly longer than the previous European-sold three-door model at 4,237 millimeters (166.81 inches), the 2013 A3 grows outward by 22 millimeters (0.866 inches) bumper cover-to-bumper cover. Despite the longer dimensions, Audi’s “ultra lightweight construction principle” utilizing aluminum and high strength steels present the new Audi A3 weighing 80 kilograms (176.4 pounds) less than its predecessor.
The reshaped front end features more dynamic looking front headlamps housings. Optional bi-xenon headlights also combine LED strips for daytime running lighting. Deep contour lines travel along the hood and side panels of the 2013 Audi A3 relaying a higher sense of detail. At the rear, a three-dimensional contouring and LED taillights anchors the attention of A3 followers. A total of 13 exterior paint colours will be sold with the 2013 Audi A3. Other bodywork enhancements will also be made possible by the S Line styling package.
Chassis of the new Audi A3 receives a suspension system engineered to be responsive and comfortable. An electronic limited-slip differential is included alongside the Audi A3’s electronic stability control program for improved handing and safety while driving. To exploit higher tolerances of the A3’s driving dynamic, an optional sport suspension firmer ride drops the Audi compact by 0.59 inches. A more radical S Line Suspension will also available on the Audi A3. Featuring wheels sizes between 16 and 18 inches, the Audi A3’s stylish rims will ride within low rolling resistance tires that will maximize fuel economy without affecting handling.
Featuring three-power plant option, the 2013 Audi A3 will be sold in Europe with two turbocharged gasoline and one turbodiesel engine choice. The pair of TFSI gasoline engines available on the Audi A3 includes the 1.4 liter, 122-horsepower and the 180-horsepower 1.8 liter. European Audi A3 customers will also have the highly fuel-efficient 2.0 TDI powerplant rated for generating 236 pounds feet of torque. Six-speed manual gearboxes will be matched standard with the 1.4 TFSI and 2.0 TDI engines while a dual-clutch, 7-speed S Tronic is included with the 1.8 liter Audi A3 model. The Audi A3 three-door presented at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show is a front-wheel drive model. A quattro all-wheel drivetrain is a guarantee by Audi for the newest compact car.
Complementing the exterior focus of the 2013 Audi A3, the three-door hatchback’s interior plays particularly well to the premium sport compact theme. The driver of the Audi A3 receives a control panel designed towards enriching a sense of motoring authority when holding the steering wheel. Paddle shifters and multifunctional steering wheel controls are available on the Audi A3. Interior design choices for the 2013 Audi A3 are coupled with two-tone colouring as well as leather/alcantara trim provided as factory add-ons. Accommodating five-passengers with a reasonable 365 liters (12.9 cubic feet) of interior cargo space, the volume of the new Audi A3 three-door expands to 1,100 liters (38.85 cubic feet) when the rear seat is folded down.
Oriented towards to youth market, the 2013 Audi A3 three-door hatchback will be the compact vehicle luring the performance look seeker. The new A3 line-up presented at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show will offer something for every premium entry-level customer.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Included below in this post is the 2012 Geneva Motor Show unveiling of the Audi A3. Please be aware the interviews are in German.
One negative of entering a new year in the northern hemisphere on Earth is being plunged right into the worst driving weather. Fortunately, with each passing day, the horizon of spring grows closer eventually allowing the icy, snow-covered roads to clear. Just in time to exploit the bare pavement surfaces in 2012, Audi has prepared their latest, refreshed high-performance street machines. Premiering their new S Line S6, S7 and S8 models at the past Frankfurt Motor Show for public release later this year, 2012 welcomes the infectiously dashing Audi RS5. Both a personal luxury coupe and a high-performance car, the Audi RS5 is reborn this spring.
Featuring Audi’s new fleet-side exterior design DNA, the 2013 model year RS5 is furiously serious about its intent to face off against the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG coupe. Still making a firm statement for Audi’s modern luxury, the new affirmative angles of the sport coupe insures the vehicle will be an unmistakable speed demon (at the appropriate obeying the rules of the road). The refreshed Xenon plus headlamps featuring a strip of LED daytime running lights reins forward the Audi RS5 appearance. An optional Carbon design package can upgrade the RS5 sport coupe outer look and engine compartment.
Interior of the Audi RS5 continues to project the blend of performance/luxury grace the ‘RS’ badge has grown accustomed to providing to enthusiasts. The use of leather and Alcantara fills for the two-door’s cabin of the Audi RS5. Driver and front passengers sit in climate-controlled sport seats overlooking the best view of the yet-to-be conquered road. The Audi MMI navigation and entertainment system can be added as an option.
At the center of a largely stylistic revision for the 2013 model year, the Audi RS5’s naturally aspirated, direct-injected FSI 4.2 liter V-8 engine returns with all 450 horsepower. Accelerating from 0 to 62 miles per hour in a stout 4.6 seconds, top speed of the 2013 Audi RS5 can crest at just under 174 miles per hour when the electronic limiter is removed from the FSI 4.2 liter powerplant.
Moving with the 7-speed S Tronic transmission, drivers transitioning from the past Audi RS5 to the 2013 model will have one mechanical change coming from a new center differential. A crown-gear set-up engineered to work in conjunction with the quattro driver coupe’s electronic torque vectoring, Audi’s use of the self-locking differential provides the RS5 improved traction.
Audi’s recognition for the importance of North American auto sales has caused the luxury vehicle brand to relent to consumer pressures in bringing many products indigenous to Europe stateside. Kicked off with sale of the 360-horsepower TT-RS sports car, Audi has continued to reward their growing United States fan base with cars like the Audi R8 GT and most recently the A4-based Audi Allroad.
With American buyers excepting the redesigned Audi A5/S5 expected soon, it’s only be a matter of time until select North American motorists can realize the sensation of the quattro-driven RS5 sport coupe.
Information and photo source: Audi AG