Saturday, November 29, 2008

Audi Motorsport based on three pillars in the future

  • New LMP1 sports car for the Le Mans 24 Hours
  • Development of the Audi A4 for the DTM
  • Customer sport programme with the Audi R8 LMS
INGOLSTADT : November 28, 2008 – In future, the AUDI AG motorsport programme will be based on three pillars: During the 2009 season, the brand with the four rings will compete once again in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in the DTM. Additionally, with the new Audi R8 LMS, Audi Sport offers for the first time a racing sports car specifically developed for customer use.

"We know just how important motorsport is for the success of the brand,” emphasises Michael Dick, who as Chairman of the Board for Technical Development is responsible for the AUDI AG motorsport programme. "Therefore it goes without saying that Audi must also be present on the race track in economically hard times. It is all the more important for us to enter a motorsport category in which the cost-benefit calculation is positive.”

Audi therefore continues to support sport prototypes and the DTM. With the Audi R8 LMS, Audi also offers customer teams a racing car incorporating high-quality technology and the typical Audi traits but which is, however, also easy to operate.

New diesel sports car for Le Mans

Audi aims to demonstrate "Vorsprung durch Technik” specifically in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Audi is just one victory behind Ferrari in the French endurance classic’s all time winners’ list following its eighth victory last June. Only Porsche has more wins at Le Mans.

Audi targets the ninth victory in probably the world's toughest car race, in which the development of alternative and fuel-saving power concepts are the focus of attention, in June 2009 with a newly developed LMP1 sports car. The Audi R15 TDI differs significantly from its predecessor, the R10 TDI, at first glance and features many technically innovative details with which Audi aims to maintain its supremacy in Le Mans.

The new Le Mans prototype is equipped with a smaller, lighter and even more efficient TDI engine. During the chassis and aerodynamic development Audi Sport engineers followed similar routes to those exhibited on the current Audi A4 DTM.

"It was clear to us that we must develop a new car if we wanted to continue to be successful in Le Mans,” explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "The Audi R15 TDI is the result. The step from R10 to R15 is significantly larger than it was from the R8 to the R10.”

Only the basic concept was carried over from the predecessor model: The R15 TDI is also powered by a TDI engine and is an open-topped roadster. Audi does not wish to release any further details at this time.

The first private tests with the new Le Mans sports car are scheduled for later this year. The R15 TDI will only be presented to the public immediately before its race debut in the 12-hour race in Sebring (USA) on 21 March 2009.

Audi Sport Team Joest will field three new R15 TDI prototypes in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

2008 Audi A4 DTM

Development of the 2008 championship winning DTM car

Audi competes in the DTM as defending champions with a development of the 2008 championship winning car and with an ambitious target: Audi aims to be the first automobile manufacturer in the history of the "new” DTM to win the title three times in succession.

The DTM version of the new A4, which set the standards during the 2008 season with eight pole positions and six victories, is optimised in every area and carries the project name "R14 plus” internally.

Four new A4 cars and up to five 2008 cars will be fielded by the proven teams Abt Sportsline, Phoenix and Rosberg. Audi also relies on known quantities for its driver squad: Every driver will be recruited from the driver line-up seen in action during the 2008 season in the DTM and R10 TDI.

The Audi R8 LMS during the presentation at the Essen Motor Show

GT3 race version of the Audi R8

With the GT3 race version of the R8, Audi has specifically developed a racing sports car for customer use for the first time. The Audi R8 LMS is powered by a 500 hp plus V10 engine and is available from autumn 2009 for a proposed price of 262,000 Euro plus VAT.

The new Audi R8 LMS will be seen in action on the race track during the 2009 season: Up to eight customer cars will compete in different European race series and in the 24-hour race at the N?rburgring, for which Audi Sport develops an endurance version of the R8 LMS. The factory itself does not plan to enter any races with the new GT3 car.

The experienced drivers Christian Abt, Frank Biela and Frank Stippler are involved in the Audi R8 LMS development.

Audi adds another pillar to its existing motorsport programme with the customer programme, which should be self-financing in the medium term. The new customer sport centre in Ingolstadt is conceived as a profit centre.

Motorsport represents huge value for Audi

"2008 was the largest and most successful motorsport programme in AUDI AG history,” explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "We want to continue this in 2009. In view of the international economic and financial crisis, it is clear that motorsport must also make a contribution to reduce costs further. It is all the more pleasing that we have found a way to continue our two large projects, the new Le Mans sports car and the DTM, and added another string to our bow with the GT3 customer sport programme. This demonstrates just how valuable motorsport is for Audi.”

Images : Audi R8 LMS

Images : Audi R8 GTS

Image : 2008 Audi A4 DTM

[Source : AUDI]

Volkswagen Motorsport at the Essen Motor Show

In 2009 Volkswagen again features wide-ranging motorsport programme

Volkswagen Scirocco GT24 - Cup Scirocco - Formula 3 - Race Touareg

WOLFSBURG : November 28, 2008 - When the Dakar Rally starts in Buenos Aires on 3 January 2009 with four Volkswagen Race Touareg vehicles it will also give the starting signal for a wide-ranging Volkswagen motorsport programme next year.

In 2009 the brand will extend its activities in Formula 3 and start competing in Great Britain as well. In addition, a Scirocco Cup will be launched in China. Two weeks after its unveiling in China the new competition vehicle – alongside the Race Touareg 2 for the "Dakar”, the Scirocco GT24 that was victorious in the 24 Hours at the N?rburgring and the Formula 3 racing car "powered by Volkswagen” – will be showcased on the Volkswagen stand at the traditional Essen Motor Show (29 November to 07 December).

Besides cross-country rally racing, Formula 3 and the Scirocco Cup in China, Volkswagen Motorsport again plans to enter the Scirocco GT24 in the 24-Hour Race at the N?rburgring. In addition, the commitment encompasses the promotion of young talent in Germany with the ADAC Volkswagen Polo Cup and the ADAC Formula Masters powered by Volkswagen, the fielding of the Baja Race Touareg TDI in the USA as well as further one-make cups in various countries.

"Volkswagen can look back on a successful 2008 season in motorsport and can already look forward to a varied year of 2009,” says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "From junior projects for rookies in formula or touring car racing, professional commitments like the Formula 3 engine programme, all the way to top-calibre sport in cross-country and off-road rally racing as well as at the 24 Hours of the N?rburgring Volkswagen will again prove its motorsport expertise in 2009. There is hardly another manufacturer who has such a wide and varied offering for junior drivers, customer teams and professional racers as Volkswagen had in 2008.”

Volkswagen Scirocco GT24 - Cup Scirocco - Formula 3 - Race Touareg

Volkswagen with many different exploits in the 2008 season that just ended

In the season that just ended Volkswagen Motorsport delivered a convincing performance with numerous different exploits. The highlights: with the Race Touareg the brand achieved two second places with three starts, five further podium positions and 18 of 22 possible stage victories. At the Scirocco's racing debut, which preceded the sport coupe's market launch, Volkswagen celebrated a one-two class victory in the 24-Hour Race at the N?rburgring.

In the first full Formula 3 season Edoardo Mortara (I) and the Signature team immediately clinched the "vice champion's” title in the drivers and teams standings in the Formula 3 Euro Series; three victories and 13 podium positions went to the two-litre engine from the Volkswagen Group. At the world finale in Macau (CH) in November Mortara was victorious in the sprint race and finished the main race as the runner-up. The Formula 3 tally is complemented by two wins and a total of nine podium positions achieved by Laurens Vanthoor (B/Van Amersfoort Racing) in the German ATS Formula 3 Cup.

Dakar Rally's first round in South America: new year kicks off with season's highlight

By tackling the 2009 Dakar Rally Volkswagen takes up one of the biggest challenges motorsport has to offer. The world's longest rally is also considered the most demanding one. At its debut in Argentina and Chile four 280-hp diesel-powered prototypes of the brand will cross the starting ramp of this acid test, which in 2009 – more than at any previous edition – will be marked by the "Dakar” principle, "Expect the Unexpected”. In addition to extremely rough terrain, the Volkswagen pairings Carlos Sainz/Michel P?rin (E/F), Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) and Dieter Depping/Timo Gottschalk (D/D) will have to master challenges like extreme altitudes, the world's most arid desert and endless sand dunes during the cross-country marathon covering 9,578 kilometres, 5,656 of which are timed. Kris Nissen: "Our goal has not changed, we continue shooting for the first overall diesel victory in ‘Dakar' history.”

Complementing its cross-country rally activities, Volkswagen contests select events in the SCORE off-road series. Following the successful debut of the Baja Race Touareg TDI – a vehicle that fundamentally differs from the Race Touareg for the "Dakar” and is fitted with a 550-hp TDI engine from the Volkswagen Group featuring a Clean Diesel concept - in November 2008, the 2009 programme includes the brand's participation with two vehicles in the world famous Baja 500 and Baja 1000 off-road events.

Formula 3 "powered by Volkswagen” to compete in Great Britain as well

The high level of confidence which Formula 3 teams have in Volkswagen technology – not least due to the quick exploits achieved – is documented by the great interest they show in contesting the 2009 season "powered by Volkswagen”. In 2009 Volkswagen Motorsport's commitment will involve three series: the Formula 3 Euro Series, the ATS Formula 3 Cup in Germany as well as – for the first time – the British Formula 3 Championship. In the United Kingdom, a total of six vehicles will start from the grid with Volkswagen engines, two of them to be fielded by the T-Sport team. In the Euro Series the Signature partner team will enter three vehicles powered by the 210-hp Volkswagen engine, the newly formed Kolles & Heinz Union team will run two vehicles in the races and a third team will field two vehicles as well. In the German Formula 3 Cup the Performance Power team will join Van Amersfoort Racing as an additional member of the Volkswagen family.

Another successful junior programme will start to its second round in 2009: the ADAC Formula Masters "powered by Volkswagen”. The inaugural season of the series featuring identical cars to which Volkwagen supplies a 1.6-l four-cylinder FSI engine that immediately delivered convincing reliability was won by the Portuguese Armando Parente.

Diverse offering for young international touring car drivers

The "touring car school” success formula will enter its twelfth season in 2009. The ADAC Volkswagen Polo Cup will again be staged as the DTM's partner series in nine races at seven events. 27 drivers from seven nations who have successfully completed the evaluation programme of the one-make cup for rookies will start from the grid in 150-hp Racing Polo cars that are centrally fielded. In 2008 the cup concept proved to be a resounding export success. The Jetta TDI Cup was the first American one-make cup to establish Clean Diesel technology in motorsport and in a sporting sense, as well, the new cup turned into a guaranteed success, as confirmed by over 1,700 applications for the 2009 season.

Debut in China: Cup Scirocco with 200 hp

VW Cup Scirocco

2009 will see a further expansion of the talent promotion programme that is marked by utmost equality of opportunity. In China, centrally entered Scirocco cars developed by Volkswagen Motorsport in Germany will be used in a one-make cup for the first time. The 200-hp touring car fitted with a 2.0-litre TSI engine was unveiled at the Guangzhou International Motor Show following initial tests at Oschersleben. 30 vehicles are being built as a mini-series for contesting six races in China.

This enhances Volkswagen Motorsport's "international student exchange” by yet another attraction. In addition to the one-make cups in China and Germany, the championships in Japan, South Africa and the USA participate in the programme which offers the best young touring car drivers the chance of gathering worldwide racing experience. Kris Nissen: "This student exchange is unique in its form and documents Volkswagen's global promotion of young talent in a special way. No doubt, this is always a plum experience for the drivers.”

Touring car highlight: the Scirocco on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife

The Volkswagen Scirocco GT24 made a successful debut in 2008. The 330-hp touring car celebrated its premiere at the legendary 24-Hour Race on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife even before the official presentation of its road-going counterpart. And it was a successful maiden race at that. In the ultra-competitive SP3T class for 2-litre touring cars the Scirocco GT24 immediately clinched a one-two victory. The three factory-entered and factory-prepared vehicles saw the chequered flag at this circuit endurance race in first, second and fifth place in class. In the overall classification the best Scirocco with drivers Jimmy Johannson (S), Florian Gruber (D), Thomas Mutsch (D) and Hans-Joachim Stuck (D) finished the classic in a strong eleventh place – surrounded by more powerful GT sports cars. In 2009 the GT24 will return to the venue of its first ever exploit. Volkswagen will again contest the race with the car that became a favourite with the audience.

VW Cup Scirocco

[Source : Volkswagen Motorsport]

IFR Aspid makes its Spanish debut in Jerez

IFR Aspid as Safety Car

JEREZ, Spain : November 28, 2008 - Cataluña supercar makes special ‘safety car’ appearance at final race of Superleague championship; car’s creator and automotive engineer Ignacio Fernández then drives it across Spain to test its reliability, all-round drivability and comfort

The IFR Aspid supercar from Cataluña made a special pit lane appearance in front of 34,000 motorsport fans at the final race of this year’s inaugural Superleague Formula championship held in Jerez. The Spanish-built sports car was driven by the series founder Alex Andreu and a number of Superleague race drivers. It is being considered as a possible safety car for the 2009 season.

“The Aspid certainly drew the crowds and was much photographed at the event,” said its creator Ignacio Fernández, who founded the vehicle technology company, IFR Automotive, behind the car. “It was fantastic seeing the reaction, especially as this was the Aspid’s first major appearance in Spain. Even though we’ve started building customer cars, these won’t be delivered until next summer, so the prototype is currently the only one in existence and remains a rare sight. I guess it was bound to grab attention, particularly being a Spanish car in front of its home crowd.”

Superleague Formula CEO and series founder Alex Andreu, who was invited to drive the car, said: “The Aspid would make an excellent safety car, particularly when leading a field of very high performance race cars over a Grand Prix circuit, and we are looking into this as a possibility. The Aspid meets FIA safety requirements as well as European road car homologation requirements in its standard form without the need for any modifications. This is a purebred race car and even with just four laps I really started to enjoy its extreme performance.”

Jerez race track safety car driver Luis Tellez who also took a turn behind the wheel added: “One of the unique virtues of this high performance road car is that it can be driven on the track without the need for any special preparation. Its cabin is immensely strong and it has no need for an additional safety cage as this has been integrated into the design. The power and the grip of the car as well as the driving position are superb. This all helps to maintain a high speed when the safety car is setting the pace and avoids the racing cars from overheating.”

Celebrities invited to test the car included Spanish driver Adrián Vallés, who races for the Liverpool FC Superleague team, as well as the Formula’s race commentator and fellow Spaniard, Luís Moya, the now-retired and highly experienced rally co-driver who scored 24 world rally victories throughout his career and whose name is synonymous with Carlos Sainz.

Superleague Formula test driver, Bruce Jouanny, who has helped develop the series race cars, which are almost as fast as F1 cars, said of the Aspid: “The mechanical grip is enormous and particularly impressive in low speed corners. This is a very cool car and an excellent vehicle concept.”

Following the race weekend, Fernández then spent his longest time yet in the car when he drove it for 11 hours, including breaks, for the return journey from Jerez to Reus near Barcelona in northern Spain, where the company is based. The 1,100km (almost 700 miles) trip took in a wide variety of road conditions ranging from fast motorways and cross country routes to traffic jams in Valencia.

“This was an excellent opportunity to test the reliability, all-round drivability and comfort of the car over a long journey,” he said. “It was extremely hot in Jerez, when the climate control really proved its worth. I was also pleased at how quick and easy it was to replace the removable doors and roof panels when it rained as we returned to the north. The adjustable power steering and audio system were a real boon in the congested traffic of Valencia. Overall, it was a joy to drive, the seating more comfortable than many other cars I’ve driven; and even driving as quickly as possible I managed a fuel consumption of 7.8 l/100km (36mpg), which is unrivalled for a high performance supercar.”

Commenting on the car’s dynamic performance Fernández added: “The Aspid can out accelerate virtually any other supercar and has the cornering and braking performance to match. We developed it in the mountains where the Cataluña rally is held each year and we’ve measured it as being faster over the special stages than a World Rally Championship car. It’s also extremely fast on a Grand Prix circuit.”

Tipping the scales at 750kg, yet full of luxury touches and advanced technology, the Aspid represents a new breed of small, lightweight, fuel-efficient sports car that is faster than a track-day special without compromising creature comforts such as having a roof over your head and luxuries including climate control fitted as standard. With technical innovations and ingenuity displayed throughout the chassis, suspension, brakes and electronic systems, the Aspid offers exceptional dynamic performance particularly relating to road holding, handling and safety. Despite its high performance capability on the track the car is exceptionally easy to drive on the road.

More images : IFA ASPID

[Source : IFR Automotive]