Audi Sport to start 2018 season in America and Australia with strong customer teams
Daytona 24 Hours to open North American IMSA Series Intercontinental GT Challenge to kick off with Bathurst 12 Hour in Australia
Neuburg a. d. Donau, January 19, 2018 – Two weeks following the one-two win in the 24- hour race in Dubai, the new Audi R8 LMS GT4 will now be racing in North America. The audience there will get to see the customer sport race car for the first time in the traditional opening round of the IMSA Series at Daytona from January 27 to 28. Just one week later, on February 4, the Intercontinental GT Challenge will kick off in Australia.
With its product offensive Audi Sport customer racing is strengthening its presence in international motor racing. “While motorsport in many series is still at rest at the beginning of the year our customers are already racing in three international events,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “We’re particularly pleased to see how popular our new models already are. The GT3 and GT4 versions of the Audi R8 LMS and the Audi RS 3 LMS are in high international demand.” In Dubai, a total of 13 driver squads relied on one of these three race cars. At Daytona, the touring and the two GT sports cars are competing as well. The Audi R8 LMS GT3 will be battling in the 24-hour race for Audi’s third victory in the GTD class after 2013 and 2016. Team Magnus Racing was victorious two years ago and is returning with an Audi R8 LMS. The cockpit will be shared by three Americans, John Potter, Andy Lally, Andrew Davis, and German Audi Sport driver Markus Winkelhock. Team Montaplast by Land-Motorsport in 2017 just barely missed victory by 0.293 seconds and is going to race with the two Audi Sport campaigners Christopher Mies and Kelvin van der Linde, plus his brother, Sheldon van der Linde, and Jeffrey Schmidt.
As part of the supporting program of the iconic 24-hour race, spectators can expect to see a strong field and thrilling battles in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. TCR race cars are admitted for the first time. Five teams from Audi Sport customer racing’s circle are fielding a total of seven Audi RS 3 LMS. In the GS class, three Audi R8 LMS GT4 cars, distributed to two teams, are making their debut. Both classes are contesting a joint 4-hour race.
In Australia, Audi will be battling for overall victory seven days later. In 2011 and 2012, customer teams supported by Audi Sport customer racing won the 12-hour classic on the Bathurst race track with the Audi R8 LMS. The challenging roller coaster circuit 200 kilometers west of Sydney will open the 2018 Intercontinental GT Challenge. Rounds in Europe, Asia and North America complete the calendar. Audi in 2016 and 2017 was the overall winner in the drivers’ and manufacturers’ classifications. This year, the four rings are tackling the defense of both titles.
Eight GT3 race cars are taking on the challenge in Australia. Team Valvoline Jamec Pem Racing will be on the grid with five Audi Sport drivers, Kelvin van der Linde, Frédéric Vervisch, Christopher Haase, Christopher Mies and Markus Winkelhock, plus local touring car ace Garth Tander. Audi Sport Team WRT is contesting a race in Australia for the first time. One of the two cockpits will be shared by Audi Sport campaigners Robin Frijns and Dries Vanthoor with Blancpain GT Sprint Champion Stuart Leonard. At the wheel of the second WRT Audi will be last year’s FIA WEC GT Am Trophy winners Mathias Lauda, Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy together with local hero Will Davison. Three privateer teams from Australia and one from New Zealand are completing the circle of Audi’s customer teams at Bathurst. “This puts us in a good position in America and in Australia for the next two endurance races,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing.
Magnus Racing - Audi R8 LMS
Andrew Davis/Andy Lally/John Potter/Markus Winkelhock (USA/USA/USA/D)
Montaplast by Land-Motorsport - Audi R8 LMS
Kelvin van der Linde/Sheldon van der Linde/Christopher Mies/Jeffrey Schmidt (ZA/ZA/D/CH)
GMG Racing - Audi R8 LMS GT4
Daren Jorgensen/Cameron Lawrence/Rick Parfitt Jr. (USA/USA/USA)
GMG Racing - Audi R8 LMS GT4
Andrew Davis/George Kurtz/James Sofronas (USA/USA/USA)