Press release

Ingolstadt, 2012-06-24

Motorsport Newsletter 24/2012: Le Mans winners in 24 Hours of Spa

  • Tom Kristensen to line up with Marcel Fässler and André Lotterer
  • Edoardo Mortara awarded first degree
  • Audi factory drivers enjoy Kieler Woche sailing event

Audi is relying on a top-caliber set of drivers when it enters this year’s 24 Hours of Spa.

Le Mans winners in the team: This year’s Le Mans winners Marcel Fässler and André Lotterer are coming together with the Le Mans record holder Tom Kristensen (eight wins) as a team of drivers for the first time. They will be competing in an Audi R8 LMS ultra at the 24 Hours of Spa on July 28/29. The race is only being contested by GT3 vehicles, so the degree of talented racers is high. Their team colleagues in Audi Sport Team Phoenix are Andrea Piccini, René Rast, and winner of the Nürburgring 24 Hours Frank Stippler. Audi Sport Team WRT, which drove to victory in last year’s 24 Hours of Spa, has increased its number of entrants by two Audi R8 LMS ultra vehicles this year. This marathon race is also the fourth race of the Blancpain Endurance Series. The WRT team is sending this year’s standard set of drivers in this series to the race in Spa – Marco Bonanomi/Laurens Vanthoor/Edward Sandström and Christopher Haase/Christopher Mies/Stéphane Ortelli.

First degree: Edoardo Mortara graduated on Saturday. The Audi factory driver collected his Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree certificate, having completed his studies at the Institute of Finance and Management (University IFM) in Geneva. Mortara, who won this year’s DTM race in Spielberg, Austria, now hopes to get his master’s degree (MBA) by summer 2013.

Not just landlubbers: Miguel Molina and Laurent Fedacou visited the Kieler Woche sailing event. The Audi factory driver competing in the DTM and his race engineer from Audi Sport Team Phoenix had the honor of participating in the “Silbernes Band” long-distance regatta on the Audi TP52 yacht on Thursday. And the next day, Edoardo Mortara was a guest in Kiel.

Visiting Nuremberg: On Tuesday, Rahel Frey will be attending the press conference ahead of the DTM race in Nuremberg. The popular Audi driver will then be making an editorial visit in the Franconian city.

Guest appearance in Herzogenaurach: Next Thursday, Mike Rockenfeller will pay a visit to the company Schaeffler on his way to the Norisring in Nuremberg. The Audi factory driver will go to the company’s headquarters in Herzogenaurach together with Ernst Moser (team manager of Audi Sport Team Phoenix) for a tour of the site and to meet the workforce and sign autographs.

Superior performance: Phoenix Racing had no less than three reasons to be cheerful in round 4 of the VLN Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring. After achieving the best time in the qualifying session in their Audi R8 LMS ultra, Frank Stippler/Marc Basseng went on to secure a convincing victory in the actual race. Meanwhile, their teammates Luca Ludwig/Christopher Haase rounded off the hat trick of good results by finishing third on one of the world’s toughest racetracks.

Good work: In round 3 of the French GT3 Championship in Val de Vienne, David Hallyday and Stéphane Ortelli finished third in their Audi R8 LMS ultra for Team Audi France. The French duo had already put in the third-fastest time in the qualifying session.

A word from ... Tom Kristensen

Audi has announced that you will be driving in the 24 Hours of Spa. How excited are you about the event?
“I’m hugely excited, because it’s something completely new for me. I’ve not driven the Audi R8 LMS ultra in a race before. And I haven’t actually ever competed in any other 24-hour race apart from Le Mans. Apart from that, I’ve only done round-the-clock competing twice, in a different discipline – and that was two cyclo-cross races on a mountain bike in Denmark ...”

The team and the combination of drivers are new to you too. What do you think of the team setup?
“I’m competing together with André (Lotterer) and Marcel (Fässler) for the first time. They’re two excellent teammates and they’ve just recently won in Le Mans. Audi Sport Team Phoenix is strong too, as it recently showed with its victory in the Nürburgring 24 Hours. We call our team manager Ernst Moser ‘The Pusher,’ because that’s what he does – he really works hard and pushes us as far as we can go. We’ll set ourselves high aims and then we’ll see how we do.”

You’re entering something very different to Le Mans in more of a production-based vehicle. How would you characterize Spa?
“Spa-Francorchamps will no doubt be a great experience. But the same applies there as in Le Mans or in a mountain bike race, namely expect the unexpected. We’re a strong team and I can’t wait to see all the fans. This is an international event and I think it will attract plenty of fans from Belgium and also from neighboring France, Holland and Germany. These days, motorsport is very much about developing technology for the road. And with the production-based Audi R8 LMS ultra, we can once again demonstrate the level of quality of Audi products.”

Coming up next week

June 29, Le Castellet (F), Blancpain Endurance Series, round 3
July 1, Norisring (D), DTM, round 5
July 1, Watkins Glen (USA), GRAND-AM, round 8

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Motorsport Newsletter 24/2012
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