The 2012 DTM season has not be the runaway year Audi Motorsports may have wanted with the debut of the A5 body in competition.
Racing against ongoing foe Mercedes-Benz and aggressive resurgence of BMW, Audi’s 2012 campaign has not netted the yield of victories the Four Rings are used to in the popular German-based series. With Audi drivers in 2011 scoring victories all but two of the DTM series rounds en route to a 2011 constructor championship as well as driver championship honours with Martin Tomczyk, the teams under the automaker’s banner have only two wins in 2012. While the Audi teams competing the A5 DTM car were outwit by the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe and the BMW M3 on the race weekend’s overall honours, a secret battle has been fought with the latest Valencia round proving pivotal to their season-long plan.
On the just over 4-kilometer long course in Valencia, Spain, the penultimate round of the 2012 DTM series involved a wacky string of events that greatly aided Audi’s chance at claiming the constructor championship. Though the 46-lap event ended up being won by series rookie Augusto Farfus driving a BMW M3 and BMW Team RBM, a squad of Audi A5s collected some important results that came with championship points. Adrien Tambay for Audi Sport Team Abt and Mattias Ekstrom driving the Red Bull-sponsored A5 for Abt Sportsline were on the podium at Valencia. The second place for Frenchman Tambay is personal-best in his initial season driving the DTM cars. Ekstrom’s third place run is his eighth top-10 in nine races on the 2012 calendar (Only Jamie Green for Mercedes AMG have scored points in every round this season).
Cementing two of three podium finishes, the Audi A5 DTM machines took five of the top ten spots at Valencia. Piloting a car for Team Rosberg, Filipe Albuquerque finished fourth ahead of the Team Phoenix Audi A5 of Mike Rockenfeller. Coming across the line in 7th place, Swiss driver Rahel Frey netted her first DTM series points after two seasons on the tour driving the Audi Sport Team Abt A5 car. In total, Audi teams captured 61 points.
With the Valencia points haul, Audi has been elevated 31 points ahead of Mercedes-Benz heading into the 10th and final round on the 2012 DTM schedule. The Valencia race proved particularly costly when Mercedes-Benz’s only point-scoring entrant Jamie Green left with a single point. On October 21st, the Audi teams will mount their last stand of the 2012 DTM with the series finale at the Hockenheimring. While the constructor points standings leave all three car make in a position to snatch the manufacturer honours, Audi is anxious to repeat.
Information source: Audi AG, DTM
Photo source: Audi AG
Propelling the Audi division to new heights of recognition in the luxury car class, the road-going version R8 supercar was just the ingredient needed for the German brand’s ultimate thrust into becoming a global player. After more than a decade where fans of the four-ring badge were begging to see quattro drive and Audi’s technologically driven engineering, the R8 Coupe’s introduction in 2007 was an instant hit. The rollout of the Audi R8 Spyder for 2010 as a 2011 model year only sweetened the decedent taste of the supercar. In truth sharing many components with the Italian-badged Lamborghini Gallardo, the Audi R8’s ability to create a distinct personality for itself has given it a fierce roar in the face of fellow home country rivals Porsche 911 and the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Tweaking their halo car for 2013, the Audi R8 package receives a gentle retuning.
Is it a reinvention of the Audi R8 supercar? No. In fact, the changes to the exterior are largely negligible to the 2012 model. A mild retouch to the front grille offers additional detail to the R8’s air intakes. The one major expression of advancement in 2013 is the range-wide implementation of the all-LED headlamps. The highly responsive lighting is also found towards the rear of the 2013 Audi R8 vehicles. A factory-installed carbon fiber front splitter is optional on the standard 2013 Audi R8 Coupe and Spyder models.
According to Audi announcement for their 2013 models of the R8 V8 versions, the standard wheels will be downgraded to 18-inches from 19 inches equipped on the 2012 car. The 19-inch wheels will be included on the V10 variants of the Audi R8 for 2013. The braking system on the vehicle has been reworked to reduce almost 4.5 pounds without sacrificing stopping performance.
For the performance of movement, the 430-horsepower 4.2 FSI V-8 and the 525-horsepower 5.2 liter V-10 powerplants return to availability in both the Coupe as well as the Spyder models of the Audi R8 for 2013. Trusted in transferring the 430-horsepower through the Audi R8 V8’s quattro all-wheel drive system will be a standard 6-speed manual gearbox. For 2013, a new 7-speed S tronic transmission has been added as optional on the V8 and standard on the V10 models of the Audi R8. Providing an additional gear over the previous S tronic gearbox found in the R8 supercar, the 7-speed allows darts from 0 to 62 miles per hour in just 3.6 seconds with the V10 Coupe.
The biggest addition in 2013 comes as a ‘plus’ to Audi R8 buyers. A 550-horsepower propelled top model, the new Audi R8 V10 plus model is almost the equal of the current R8 GT. In acceleration from 0 to 62 miles per hour, the Audi V10 plus model storms in 3.5 seconds with the 7-speed S tronic transmission. A 6-speed manual is also available with the V10 plus model sacrificing acceleration for a higher top speed of 198 miles per hour. The performance-loaded, 550-horsepower supercar package also includes carbon fiber front splitter, mirrors and for the engine compartment area. A specially tuned suspension system designed to help drivers master the Audi R8 plus while the occupants ride in sport bucket seats. The 2013 Audi R8 plus will only is available as a coupe. Inside, a Carbon Sigma inlays is standard on the Audi R8 plus with personalization options also in reach for owners allowing their supercar to specifically speak to individual tastes.
United States pricing for the 2013 Audi R8 line is yet to be announced.
Information, video and photo source: Audi AG
While Volkswagen Group vehicles can be appreciated for their ergonomics and technology, the latest production products under the German company are not held in high regard for quality. Volkswagen and their premium sister brand Audi routinely rated below the average on the JD Power & Associates Initial Quality Study. However, for Volkswagen and Audi owners, this reality is one challenged aggressively by loyal motorists who are simply accepting their enchanted infatuation with a vehicle.
Affecting 13,172 vehicles built by the German auto company built from June 21st 2011 to December 9th 2011, the concern over the glass sunroof equipped on certain Audi Q5 crossovers. Through temperature changes, it was determined that the front glass roof panel could be prone to unexpected breakage. Caused through extreme variations in hot and cold temperatures, the glass can crack or even break. Resulting in a shattered glass sunroof, the falling pieces can potentially cut an occupant inside the Q5 crossover. If the sunroof breaks while the vehicle is in motion, chards of glass could distract the driver and cause a serious accident.
Volkswagen will contact owners of affected 2012 Audi Q5 vehicles and provide a free replacement glass sunroof panel. The service of this recall will take place in a little more than a month’s time on or about August 7th of this year.
The Audi Q5 recall is the fourth time the Volkswagen Group brand needed to correct an issue on a 2012 model year vehicle. A fuel issue on the TDI-powered A3, a potential head curtain airbag defect on the A6, and a possibility of a fuel leak on R8 Spyders brought Audi products back to dealerships for otherwise unscheduled service. In the case of the Audi A3 Clean Diesel TDI, the recall came after 2010 to 2012 model year vehicles and similar Volkswagen Golf models were investigated by the NHTSA for a leak.
The issue of recalls are usually thought to surround heavily mass-produced common automobiles or heavily high-tech cars. The Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic, the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt and the Fisker Karma are a few vehicles found on recall list at one time in 2012. However, Porsche’s new, highly-developed 911 sports car was one exotic car that demonstrated the complex construction of a vehicle is a product that requires special dedication to achieve greatness. Even with the Audi Q5 crossover recall, a frank, meaningful response demonstrates the first step to achieving quality.
Information source: NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
Photo source: Audi AG
The ever-expanding range of performance edition Audi models is becoming a tantalizing treat to the European car lovers all over the world. Making use of the ‘S’ and ‘RS’ branding at a heightened frequency to corner the growing high performance models from Mercedes-Benz AMG division as well as BMW’s M line, Audi has been showing exceptional ambition in flourishing the go-fast attitude vehicles wearing the four-ring emblem. Creating coupes, convertibles, sedans and Avant wagons to match performance-seeking tastes, Audi’s latest venture with the S model badge is a departure from the current menu of vehicles.
Popularizing diesel as a performance engine ever since their R10 prototype sports car won the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi has been tempted to for a while to bring the technology to the street. Several years ago, much speculation surrounded a TDI version of the Audi R8 supercar but it never materialized. The first S model vehicle to feature one of Audi’s crossover vehicles has the basis for performance enhancements, the SQ5 will be most noteworthy as the premiere of TDI engine technology for this sport application. The Audi SQ5 will be powered by what will be the highest output TDI powerplant to be featured in the car brand‘s street-legal vehicle collection. Generating a forceful 313 horsepower, the Audi SQ5’s six-cylinder 3.0 TDI engine incorporates many touches for optimized diesel performance such as twin turbochargers. Compared to the Porsche Cayenne Diesel built by Audi’s VW Group sister brand, the SQ5 is 63 horsepower more powerful also pushed by 73 additional feet-pounds of torque.
The Audi SQ5’s hood, the 3.0 TDI performance diesel is joined to an 8-speed tiptronic gearbox. Channelled through Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive technology, the SQ5’s true nature comes with impressive acceleration. Launching from 0 to 62 miles per hour in just 5.1 seconds, the diesel-powered Audi SQ5 is a formidable performer against even some performance V-8 crossover vehicles. A top speed of 155 miles per hour is obtainable with the Audi SQ5 crossover. Spinning 245/45 tires, 20-inch and optional 21-inch wheels circulate tied to a sport-tuned suspension system. With the Audi SQ5 quattro providing torque vectoring, the crossover vehicle is additionally controlled through an extra cost Audi select drive system that offers dynamic steering.
With the 313-horsepower 3.0 TDI powerplant mated to quattro drive provides the necessary physical prowess of an Audi S model vehicle, the next area of improvement to the Q5 is making the crossover look aggressive enough to earn a sport moniker. The trademark front Audi grille on the SQ5 is treated with a platinum gray to create the appearance of aluminum. The side mirror covered with aluminum-like detail complements a high gloss package around the windows on the Audi SQ5 crossover giving the vehicle a unique glimmer. Modified bumper covers and a rear spoiler completes the accentuation of the Audi SQ5 to its friskier character.
Playing along the similar styling theme of the exterior, the Audi SQ5 cabin receives attention. Interior paneling of the Audi SQ5 provides the owner with a choice of Carbon Atlas, Piano finish and the new Aluminum/Beaufort wood black trim pieces. Brushed aluminum inlays and the S badge advertising completes an ultra-modern interior appearance. Power adjustable sport seats within a two-tone, leather-upholstered cabin insures comfort for the Audi SQ5’s passenger behind the high-performance diesel engine.
The Audi SQ5 TDI crossover vehicle will be made available in European dealerships by early 2013. There has not been an announcement if the sale of the Audi SQ5 will extend into North America.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Audi engineering has a history of bringing revolutionary pieces of technology to Le Mans victory lane. Late version of the Audi R8 prototype was the first race car to run gasoline direct injection and the R10 was the first diesel powered entry of the 24-hour race to claim a win at the Circuit de la Sarthe. Creating their first diesel/electric hybrid prototype race car, Audi entered the 2012 event eager to make the R18 e-tron quattro the vessel to make their latest conquest of Le Mans. After a full day of continuous racing in France, Audi has now become the first auto manufacturer to win with a hybrid race machine. Combining the TDI engine with an electric powertrain, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro launched to the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans pole with such a long distance needed to be traveled to achieve greatness.
Winning the LMP1 category as well as the overall 24 Hours of Le Mans, the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro completed 378 or 3,201.3 miles from Saturday to Sunday for the 11th win for Audi. Piloted by the 2011 race’s winning driver combination of Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoit Tréluyer, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro prototype led an effort where the Audi Sport Team Joest took the top three positions.
The race for the Audi Sport Team Joest squad was not without challenges. In the first hour of the 24-hour race, a tire puncture brought the #3 Audi R18 Ultra to pit stop for an unscheduled service while the #4 car was brought in with concern for the rear suspension system. On hour three, the #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro lost a lap to the leading #1 car when a large collection of tire rubber and debris needed to be extracted from the underneath portions of the prototype sports car.
Hour 5, the Audi mechanics were sent into battle to repair the #3 R18 Ultra car after driver Romain Dumas skidded off track. Running third at that point in the event, Dumas managed to drive his severely damaged Audi prototype race car back to the garage area. After roughly 35 minutes of repairs, the #3 Audi R18 Ultra was returned to the Circuit de la Sarthe racetrack in the hands of driver Marc Gene.
The #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro prototype race car effort in attempting to claim the 2012 Le Mans 24-hour race went south with less than 3 hours remaining in the event. After a race-long battle as the #2 car driven by the collective talents of Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish fought with the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro teammate, a collision with the retaining barrier. While the #2 race car required substantial repairs, the Audi Sport Team Joest mechanics returned the R18 e-tron quattro to competition for a 2nd place finish.
The non-hybrid Audi R18 Ultra race car #4 vehicle finished 3 laps behind the winning R18 e-tron quattro. Marco Bonanomi, Oliver Jarvis and Mike Rockenfeller drove the #4 machine that allowed the Audi Sport Team Joest squad the ability to own the LMP1 podium. The fourth and final Audi R18 prototype vehicle completing the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans finished 5th overall. The #3 Audi R18 Ultra shared by Romain Dumas, Loic Duval and Marc Gené finished their eventful 24-hour effort with a Lola-Toyota fielded by Rebellion Racing preventing a top-four sweep of the overall results at Le Mans
Relishing the German automakers latest success at Le Mans, Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich said, “It’s a great result that Audi is now the first brand to have achieved victory with a hybrid vehicle – and right on the first run, as before with the two other technologies, and – what’s more – with both R18 e-tron quattro cars on the two top spots.” Competing in the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship, the Audi Sport Team Joest squad will have a full two months to savour the Le Mans win until the 6 Hours of Silverstone.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
First competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1999, Audi’s prototype effort has entered into almost every race since as a dominating force. In a quest for a 10th all-day event win at the 8.469-mile Circuit de la Sarthe for the German luxury car brand, the Audi Sport Team Joest squad is launching a 4-car attack on the 2012 round of the ultimate endurance event. With two Audi R18 Ultra sports cars and two brand new Audi R18 e-tron quattro vehicles, this year’s raid for the sports car race will see some real innovations that could have implications on production car technology.
Carbon Fiber Construction
Like many modern racing car vehicles, the Audi R18 Ultra and While the use of lightweight composite materials is a common theme in motorsports through the past 20 years, attempts to reduce weight with present road cars has been the objective of many auto companies. As a follow-up to the company’s widespread deployment of aluminum in the construction of production cars, Audi has already expressed future Audi R8 supercars will utilize an extensive use of carbon fiber components.
e-tron Electric Powertrain
Christened at May’s Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps World Endurance Championship race in Belgium, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro brought the future of sports car racing to the present. A turbo diesel/electric hybrid powered prototype machine, the R18 e-tron quattro is an inventive concept for employing the advanced powertrain. While the conventional 3.7 liter V-6, mid-mounted engine provides the main power of the R18 e-tron quattro, a flywheel accumulator is channelled with the front axle assembly.
The unique all-wheel drive Audi R18 e-tron Quattro’s first outing on the Spa Francorchamps circuit was promising. Winning pole, the #1 car Audi R18 e-tron quattro was strong through the first event but lost the race due a reported brake vibration issue. Within a top-4 victory in the LMP1 class in Belgium for Audi, the R18 e-tron quattro occupied the 2nd and 4th place spots. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the second test for the e-tron quattro technology on the Audi R18 for which the German carmakers is eager to see cross the line first.
Audi has pressed the e-tron name into the creation of many auto show design studies with the intent on bringing the electrified technology to the production line.
VTG Turbocharger Technology
Both the Audi R18 ultra and Audi R18 e-tron quattro will be primarily powered by a turbocharged 3.7 liter V-6 TDI engine employing the German company’s cutting edge engineering expertise. Called the Audi’s VTG (Variable turbine geometry) technology, the exhaust gas charge is fed through the turbocharger system can be augmented to provide peak efficiency throughout the power range.
Traditionally, a turbocharger turbine is designed as a compromise in a single unit configuration. Twin-turbocharged engines were developed to increase the flexibility through offering low-end as well as high-end power. Through the VTG system, the Audi R18 prototype will be free from any major turbo lag throughout every corner of the Le Mans circuit.
While Porsches are long been utilizing a variable geometry turbocharger unit, the Audi R18 prototypes will be the first time such technology has been mated with a high-performance TDI race engine.
Digital Rear-View Mirror
The sensitive aerodynamic and mechanical nature of closed cockpit race cars have left drivers suffering from impaired visibility. While competing in the fastest LMP1 class during the 24 Hours of Le Mans where much of their traffic will be approaching from in front, the Audi R18’s rear vision is also pivotal when a teammate or other LMP1 competitor may creep up on a race machine. A day-long race that could be ended with one false move, Audi Sport proficient worked to find a way to improve their R18 prototype pilots’ rear vision without altering the perfected shape of the sports car.
Debuting at the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans event, a digital rear-view mirror could be a useful tool for capturing the top prize in the French event. Using AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) display technology, the digital reverse view is a multi-colour image fed from a small camera mounted behind the R18 prototype’s roof antenna. The digital rear-view mirror system is a significant advance of the back-up systems created as part of Audi’s active safety available in their road cars.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
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