source: Audi Sport
- Audi Sport GT3 and TCR customer race cars in front
- Successful debut of the Audi R8 LMS GT2 in Spain
- Driver lineup for IGTC season’s finale at Kyalami confirmed
The teams from Audi Sport customer racing ended the month of September with strong performances. Four victories of the Audi R8 LMS and three of the Audi RS 3 LMS shaped a successful race weekend on three continents.
Audi R8 LMS GT3
Fourth victory of the season and Juniors’ title for Audi Sport customer racing: Audi Sport customers ended the 2019 season in the ADAC GT Masters with several top performances. Following the early confirmation of Kelvin van der Linde/Patric Niederhauser with the HCB-Rutronik Racing team as champions, they also scored a lights-to-flag victory in the final race at the Sachsenring. It was their third win. In total, Audi drivers celebrated four victories in the high-caliber GT3 championship with the Audi R8 LMS this year. Montaplast by Land-Motorsport was another Audi Sport customer team that had reason to celebrate. Max Hofer/Christopher Mies in race one achieved second position and third in race two. As a result, the Austrian Max Hofer won the fiercely competitive Juniors’ classification in front of 22 other drivers. In addition, the HCB-Rutronik Racing squad is leading the teams’ classification. However, due to an ongoing appeal proceeding, the final standings are provisional.
Second victory of the season in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia: Martin Rump and Weiron Tan in the finale of the racing series on the Shanghai circuit won the first race with a 3.5-second advantage. For Estonian Rump and his teammate from Malaysia, who were sharing an Audi R8 LMS of Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute Racing, this marked the second victory this season following their success at Fuji in July. Rump had achieved an advantage of 7.1 seconds in the first part of the race, Tan took over the cockpit at the pit stop and ultimately crossed the finish line with a 3.5-second advantage.
Two victories in Australia: In round four of the GT-1 Australia club sport racing series, three Audi drivers clinched four trophies in total with their R8 LMS. Vince Muriti won the first sprint race at Sydney while Nick Kelly took the third spot. In the second race, Nick Kelly was faster than all competitors and Matt Stoupas saw the checkered flag in position three.
Two strong driver teams in the title race: In the battle for the sixth title in the Intercontinental GT Challenge in the finale at Kyalami from November 21 to 23, Audi Sport customer racing relies on two well-balanced driver combinations. Kelvin van der Linde/Dries Vanthoor/Frédéric Vervisch, who most recently won the fourth of five rounds in this only worldwide GT3 racing series, will be on the grid again for Audi Sport Team WRT in South Africa. The second squad of Audi Sport drivers will be the same as the one at Suzuka: Christopher Haase, Christopher Mies and Markus Winkelhock are sharing another Audi R8 LMS to be fielded this time by Audi Sport Team Land. The Belgian Frédéric Vervisch in third position of the standings with a deficit of only six points is the Audi Sport driver with the greatest prospects of clinching the drivers’ title. From a purely mathematical standpoint, the top twelve drivers in the standings will still be able to fight for the title in the finale, including two other Audi Sport drivers, Dries Vanthoor and Christopher Haase.
Audi R8 LMS GT2
Successful showing of the Audi R8 LMS GT2: The new Audi R8 LMS GT2 made a brilliant debut at Barcelona. American privateer James Sofronas drove the latest model from Audi Sport customer racing in the finale of the Blancpain GT Sports Club, exclusively meeting with rivals in GT3 race cars. The conceptual differences between the race cars made for two thrilling races. In round one, Sofronas was running in the second spot up until a safety car period. Thanks to the high end speed of his Audi, he subsequently took the lead but in cornering repeatedly had to defend himself against the GT3 models with their better aerodynamic downforce. Two opponents still overtook the German GT2 race car in the final stage but the Californian and Audi Sport Team WRT were very happy with third position. In the second race, Sofronas at the start overtook four cars and in second position once again set his sights on a podium finish when, just like the race leader, he slipped into the gravel trap on an oil spill and subsequently finished the race with a clear deficit. Following an altogether successful debut, the GT2 sports car will enter its first full season in 2020. The GT2 Sports Club Europe at five racing events will receive a dedicated classification, plus there will be two racing series for this new type of race car in North America and Asia.
Audi RS 3 LMS (TCR)
First victories in Japan: Team Hitotsuyama Racing on the fourth race weekend of the TCR Japan achieved its breakthrough with the Audi RS 3 LMS. Takuro Shinohara had set the best time in qualifying on four previous occasions but never managed to convert the results into victories. In race one at Okayama, the Japanese converted his fifth pole position into a victory with an 8.9-second advantage, marking Audi’s first success in the sprint racing series in Japan that was incepted this year. A day later, Shinohara again started from the top spot but dropped to fourth position right at the beginning of the race. As early as on lap three he had fought back to the very front and went on to celebrate his second victory with a 4.8-second advantage. As a result, Hitotsuyama Racing took the lead of the standings with an advantage of one point.
Third victory this season on the Nordschleife: Team Bonk Motorsport for the third time this year won the SP3T class in the VLN Endurance Championship Nürburgring. Privateer Hermann Bock, who races together with changing teammates, shared the cockpit of the Audi RS 3 LMS with Jürgen Nett this time. After four hours of racing, the duo had achieved a dominant advantage of 3.33 minutes in round seven. In the SP3T class standings of currently 41 classified participants, Hermann Bock is sitting in the runner-up’s spot following his most recent success.
Strong fighting spirit at the end of the season: Antti Buri in the finale of the ADAC TCR Germany gave his all once again. The Finn in race one at the Sachsenring from fourth on the grid fought back to second position. In the second race, he improved from the seventh spot on the grid to third place in an Audi RS 3 LMS. Originally, he had crossed the finish line in the top spot, which would have earned him the championship title, but then was handed a penalty due to a collision. In his so far best season with Audi, the privateer with Team LMS Racing has clinched three victories, two second and three third places and in the end ranks in third position of the standings. René Kircher from Team Hella Pagid Racing One ended the season in another Audi RS 3 LMS in third place of the Juniors’ classification.
Coming up next week
03–06/10 Spa (B), TCR 500
04–05/10 Mantorp Park (S), rounds 13 and 14, TCR Scandinavia
04–05/10 Mantorp Park (S), rounds 11 and 12, GT4 Scandinavia
04–06/10 Hockenheim (D), rounds 13 and 14, Audi Sport Seyffarth R8 LMS Cup
04–06/10 Monza (I), rounds 7 and 8, Campionato Italiano GT Sprint
04–06/10 Monza (I), rounds 13 and 14, TCR Italy
04–06/10 Mugello (I), round 6, TCR DSG Endurance
05–06/10 Skopje (NMK), round 16, FIA CEZ
05/10 Highlands (NZ), round 2, South Island Endurance Series