AUDI REGISTERS GROWTH IN MOTORSPORT

MUSCAT: Audi AG is proud of another year of record sales. In motorsport, the brand with the four rings is poised for growth as well.

The world of Audi Sport will be featuring even greater diversity in the 2015 season. Audi Sport encompasses both factory-backed and customer motorsport activity and includes the Audi Driving Experience, the Audi RS models and the Audi R8.

“Success on the race track, more than ever before, has become an important tool to thrill customers,” said head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. “That’s why our motorsport programme will be extended further this year. In the new Audi Sport TT Cup, young drivers will be given an opportunity to enter motorsport with Audi.”

The planned growth for 2015 comes on the back of a successful Audi motorsport season in 2014. During the course of 2014, there were triumphs achieved in the three prestigious 24-hour races at Le Mans (France), at the Nürburgring (Germany) and at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) with the Audi R18 e-tron quattro and the AudiR8 LMS ultra within the space of just 42 days.

In the DTM, Audi, with the RS 5 DTM, secured the manufacturers’ title for the first time since 2004, plus second and third place in the drivers’ classification.

Fifteen titles and numerous single victories were celebrated by the teams of Audi Sport customer racing in Australia, Asia, North America and Europe. These were all celebrated at the Audi Sport Finale 2014, the Audi motorsport squad’s traditional close of season event at the Audi Forum Neckarsulm.

The event culminated in the very emotional farewell to Le Mans record winner Tom Kristensen, who announced his retirement at the end of the 2014 season. In his congratulatory remarks, head of Audi Motorsport Dr Ullrich called the Dane ‘one of the greatest race drivers of all time who will not only be missed by Audi’.

On the occasion of ending his active career, Kristensen was presented with the Audi R18 e-tron quattro in which he had become 2013 FIA World Endurance Champion, crowning his unique career under the banner of the four rings.

Following on from this landmark end to 2014 and moving forward into 2015, AUDI AG’s new one-make cup, the Audi Sport TT Cup, will line up on the grid at a total of six events in Germany and Austria, doubling up with the DTM. 165 drivers from 30 nations have applied for the Audi Sport TT Cup. The selection process for the 18 available slots has already begun.

The winner of the Audi Sport TT Cup can look forward to support in the company’s GT program that will be in focus next year. The car to follow the successful Audi R8 LMS is ready to race.

Audi will be subjecting the new GT3 sports car to tough testing in selected endurance races before customer deliveries begin at the end of 2015.

In top-calibre racing Audi opts for continuity. In the internationally popular DTM touring car series and in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with its pinnacle event of the season at Le Mans (France), Audi will be competing with a minimally changed driver line-up.

Only the place that has become vacant due to the retirement of Le Mans record winner Tom Kristensen will be filled – and, as usual at Audi, with a driver from the brand’s own young-driver promotion program: Oliver Jarvis (GB) will move up from the third Le Mans car into the WEC regular driver squad and contest the full WEC season in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro.

In the WEC, Audi continues to rely on Audi Sport Team Joest as in the past. The most successful Le Mans team of all time will be fielding two further-developed Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars in all eight races. An additional R18 will be entered in the six-hour race at Spa and in the Le Mans 24 Hours, with GT driver René Rast (D) completing the line-up for these events.

Responsibility for fielding the total of eight Audi RS 5 DTM cars will be assumed by the seasoned Audi Sport Teams Abt Sportsline, Phoenix and Rosberg.

SOURCE: MUSCAT DAILY