Audi R8 at the Nurburgring 24 Hours
We have been calling Audi the reigning king of endurance racing and they have further cemented that statement this week. Coming off an overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, they were at the Nurburgring 24 Hours just one week later.
Instead of the R18 E-Tron Quattro, the weapon for the Nurburgring was the Audi R8 LMS Ultra. The car had a tough challenge with Mercedes, Porsche, Aston Martin and BMW all giving them a fight. But the Phoenix Racing #4 R8 driven by Christian Mamerow, Christopher Haase, René Rast and Markus Winkelhock managed to be the first car across the line.
The GT endurance race provided some great action and excitement, but Audi racing fans had the most to cheer about this year. However, they had better watch their back for next year and there are plenty of competitors that could take the race.
Below are the top ten results from the 24 hour endurance race.
1 Haase/Mamerow/Rast/Winkelhock (Audi R8 LMS ultra), 159 laps
2 Bleekemolen/Simonsen/Menzel/Arnold (Mercedes), + 2m 59s
3 Zehe/Hohenadel/Bastian/Engel (Mercedes) – 2 laps
4 Henzler/Dumbreck/Ragginger/Imperatori (Porsche) – 2 laps
5 Mücke/Turner/Lamy (Aston Martin) – 2 laps
6 Klingmann/Baumann/Hürtgen/Tomczyk (BMW) – 2 laps
7 Primat/Götz/Heyer/Rehfeld (Mercedes) – 3 laps
8 Stuck/Sandritter/Brück/Rostek (BMW) – 5 laps
9 Baumgartner/Werner/Biela/Kaffer (Audi R8 LMS ultra) – 6 laps
10 Busch/Busch/Lauck/Landmann (Audi R8 LMS ultra) – 7 laps
23 Frey/Frankenhout/Bastien/Bollrath (Audi R8 LMS ultra) – 15 laps
34 Mies/Jöns/Kentenich/Schwager (Audi R8 LMS ultra) – 21 laps
Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 Race Car to Race at 2014 Le Mans, But Formula 1 Was Almost the Venue
Not too long ago the rumormill had Porsche coming back to race in Formula 1. While this isn’t going to be happening, we now know the reasons for the rumor that originally made its way around the internet like a wildfire.
Like any good rumor having the German performance car maker rejoin F1 was based on a nugget of truth. The fact is that Porsche didn’t want to have to race in Formula One because it felt like endurance racing leads to better technology for road cars.
Beyond this aspect Porsche has a more storied past at Le Mans which is something that could help peak more racing fans interest. While they do have a history in Formula 1, it isn’t quite as long or storied as their endurance racing history. Beyond this, by entering F1 they would be behind the eight ball with Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Infiniti all having very good well established programs.
But you may ask were they actually considering a return to Formula one? The answer yes, they did consider a return to open-wheeled racing for 2014 if the couldn’t race at Le Mans.
That brings us to what almost prevented a return to the top level of competition at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and that would be Audi. Once Porsche was bought by VW, having two in-house rivals for the endurance racing crown didn’t seem likely.
So, if Audi didn’t want major competition they would leave their new sister company out of competition. Fortunately, they were up for a challenge and for us racing fans visions of the glories of cars like the Porsche 917 once again filled our heads.
The 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans should be a very good one. But just think, had they returned to Formula One this article would be about Porsche and Ferrari battling it out. Perhaps that wouldn’t be so bad either (I guess you just can’t have it all).
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Bentley Continental GT3
When you think of Bentley images of a soft luxury vehicle probably come to mind. However, the British car maker has a successful racing heritage dating back to the 1920s. More recently, the company has become more of a full luxury vehicle maker that isn’t big on performance. At least that was until this changed with the release of the Continental GT and now they are looking to get back to their racing roots.
The last successful Bentley race car dominated the 24 Hours of Le Mans ten years ago. The Continental GT is the base for the new endurance racing car that will compete in many races, the first of which will be the 2013 Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi on December 13th, 2013. The Bentley Continental GT3 made its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July and now will compete for the first time in an endurance race.
Let us know how you think the Bentley Continental GT3 will do in its racing debut.
Bentley’s new Continental GT3 race car makes its competitive debut at the 2013 Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi on 13th December 2013. The two-part endurance race test at the stunning Yas Marina circuit marks Bentley’s return to motorsport ten years after its dominant win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2003. Since then, the return of Bentley to the racetrack has been eagerly awaited, and now the Continental GT3 is set to show the performance capabilities of Bentley’s renowned Continental GT in its most extreme form.
Since the GT3’s dynamic debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July, Bentley’s new race car has begun an intensive programme of performance, setup and durability testing at tracks across Europe. The car has run exactly according to the expectations of a Bentley, having proven to be both reliable and fast in all conditions. Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush, comments: “The car has performed extremely well so far, and has matched or exceeded our simulations in every respect. With 3000 km of testing completed already, the team is very pleased with progress and we’re gaining confidence in our package. We’re all looking forward to the Gulf 12 Hours in December and can’t wait to run the car against the competition for the first time in its first test race.”
Powered by a race-prepared and dry-sump version of Bentley’s powerful but efficient road-going 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 producing up to 600 bhp in unrestricted race configuration, and with the instantly-recognisable shape of the Continental GT, the GT3 is a true member of the Continental family. Alongside its racing ambitions, the GT3 retains luxury Grand Tourer roots, with its steering wheel, carbon racing seat and leather door-pulls all trimmed and stitched by hand by the craftsmen and women at the Bentley factory in Crewe.
Following highly successful teamwork in the design stage, testing and development is being run by a specialist team comprising engineers both from Bentley and the Continental GT3 Technical Partner, M-Sport Ltd. Managed from a dedicated motorsport facility base at the Bentley factory, the car is being run by M-Sport in preparation for a full entry in the 2014 FIA Blancpain Series as Team M-Sport Bentley.
Porsche Working Hard to get Ready for Le Mans 2014
As you probably already know, Porsche will be making their return to the top level of competition at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The German performance car maker will have some stiff competition when they make their return from defending champions Audi and improving Toyota. There are also rumors that Ferrari will make a return to LMP1 competition in 2015.
This video shows behind the scenes footage of Porsche getting ready for their return. It includes scenes of the engineers and designers working on the car that will be raced. It also shows footage of the LMP1 car testing on the track.
Let us know how you think Porsche will do in LMP1 at Le Mans in 2014 in the comments.
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ARED Aston Martin
The VLN Endurance Champion 44. Adenauer ADAC Simfy Trophy had a packed field of cars this year including the ARED Aston Martin. The race which is after the 24 Hours of Nurburgring and happens the same weekend as the 24 Hours of Le Mans usually has only a few entrants. This year, however there were 189 cars registered to start the race making for a lot of competition.
The race is a 4 hour endurance race and the Aston Martin driven by Andy Sammers and Ronny Tobler competed in the GT4/SP10 class. They were competing against 8 other cars in their class. The race saw quite a few incidents which were partly due to the number of cars in the event coupled with rain.
The team drove very well, but as they were about to make a driver and tire change from slick tires to more rain ready tires they saw a red flag wave. Sadly the race that happened the same weekend of the 24 Hours of Le Mans had a tragic incident just as the more famous race.
The team was able to drive through the crowded field for a very good third in class finish and 33 overall in the race.
On Saturday June 22nd 2013 ARed Motorsport started at the 44. Adenauer ADAC Simfy Trophy within the VLN Endurance championship. Traditionally the race after the 24 hours race at the Nürburgring is a quiet one, with less participants than usual, as many teams are still rebuilding their cars. Not so this time: With 189 cars registered it was a well filled starter field. In the GT4/SP10 class there were 8 cars participating. For the race service ARed Motorsport used the backup crew of Mathol Racing. ARed Motorsport regular drivers Andy Sammers and Ronny Tobler took on the 4 hour long challenge.
The weather gods meant well for qualifying on Saturday morning. The sun was shining which meant ideal conditions for ARed Motorsport’s two drivers. Andy set a new personal best for the ARed Motorsport team with a 9:21 and qualified #177 on position 69 for the race.
Andy drove the start for the first time and could improve position lap by lap. “The time that we put into the setup and testing of the car was well invested”, said Andy Sammers after his stint.” “The car now gives me the trust necessary to drive closer to the limit.” After a good first stint Andy handed the car over to Ronny Tobler. Ronny’s stint was accompanied by constantly changing conditions. At the beginning there was just a bit of drizzling rain on different parts of the track. There was enough grip for the slick tires but caution was advised. This was also the beginning of many yellow and double yellow situations because of accidents that took place. “Based on what I observed I’d say that a few accidents happened because of circulation problems because of the high temperature in the cars.” said Ronny after his stint. In Ronny’s second to last lap the rain intensified and the track was wet from the GP track up to kilometre mark 14 on the track. At this point the slick tires were a risk and it was difficult to keep the car on track. Ronny gave the signal for Andy to prepare one lap earlier as planned for the driver change.
But the driver change was not meant to happen as the marshals waived red flags due to a tragic incident on track.
Andy and Ronny drove their best race yet on their ARED Aston Martin and reached overall position 33 and third place in class.