Global Program 2021 for Audi Sport customer racing
source: Audi Sport
Intercontinental GT Challenge and Nürburgring 24 Hours on the calendar
Support for customer programs in global GT3 racing series
DTM drivers and two young newcomers in the driver squad
Audi Sport customer racing will continue its international program in 2021 to complement its customers’ commitments. For the sixth year in succession, Audi will contest the Intercontinental GT Challenge, which will be held in Asia, America, Europe and South Africa. The Nürburgring 24 Hours will also be a fixture on the Audi Sport calendar for the 13th consecutive year. The brand will face the sporting competitions with 15 Audi Sport drivers.
“After a demanding 2020 season for global motorsport, we’re making a statement and committing early to a major international program in 2021,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “The Intercontinental GT Challenge as the world’s most high-profile GT3 series is at the heart of this, just like the Nürburgring 24 Hours.” Audi has already won an IGTC title and the 24-hour race in the Eifel five times each.
Audi Sport customer racing is also watching two other competitions with interest. The FIA Motorsport Games are scheduled for October 2021 at Le Castellet. Teams from Audi already successfully competed in the first edition in 2019 with the Audi R8 LMS and Audi RS 3 LMS models in this multidisciplinary competition, a kind of Olympics of motorsport, held by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). The traditional road race in Macau in November marks another highlight. This GT sports car race has existed since 2008 and was held as the FIA GT World Cup between 2015 and 2019. Audi has already won the competition four times. Most recently, two of the brand’s private customer teams clinched two podium places in November 2020.
This program complements the worldwide commitment of customers. In America, Asia, Australia, Europe and South Africa, private teams as well as importer teams field the brand’s various models with great success year after year. Audi Sport customer racing has been providing drivers from its squad for the corresponding GT3 programs for many years. This applies in particular to teams that enter the GT World Challenge Europe, the ADAC GT Masters and, for the first time, the newly aligned DTM.
This driver squad will again include Audi Sport drivers Mattia Drudi, Rahel Frey, Christopher Haase, Pierre Kaffer, Kelvin van der Linde, Christopher Mies, Patric Niederhauser, Frank Stippler, Dries Vanthoor, Frédéric Vervisch and Markus Winkelhock in 2021. Two young drivers will get a chance to prove themselves for the first time at Audi Sport customer racing in the 2021 season. Dennis Marschall has already shown his talent in the Audi Sport TT Cup in 2015 and 2016. With the Rutronik Racing outfit, the 24-year-old German student from Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen has repeatedly shown top performances as a privateer driver in the ADAC GT Masters over the past two years, including two pole positions in the season that has just ended. In addition, he contested two major international events in the IGTC for the first time in 2020 at Spa and Kyalami. Charles Weerts will also be driving for Audi Sport customer racing in the future. At just 19 years of age, the Belgian is the youngest driver to date to have won the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup in the Audi R8 LMS and most recently finished second in the IGTC finale at Kyalami.
In addition, several of the best DTM drivers will again be part of the Audi Sport driver squad in 2021. Mike Rockenfeller, the 2013 champion, and Nico Müller, the current runner-up, will continue to drive for the four rings in the future. René Rast, the winner from 2017, 2019 and 2020, will contest the FIA Formula E World Championship for Audi. In addition, selected customer racing events complement his program. All three drivers have also strengthened the customer racing driver squad in major competitions over many years. Outstanding successes include René Rast’s victory in the 2014 Nürburgring 24 Hours, Nico Müller’s win a year later, and Rast’s victories in the 2012 and 2014 Spa 24 Hours.