New Audi R8 LMS celebrates first race victory

First victory for the second generation Audi R8 LMS: only seven weeks after its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show, Audi Sport Team WRT clinched a one-two with the new GT3 sportscar in the VLN endurance championship at the Nürburgring.

Christopher Mies and Nico Müller triumphed in the second VLN race ahead of their team mates Pierre Kaffer and Laurens Vanthoor and, in doing so, took a clear victory for the Audi R8 LMS in only its third race – and this on the world’s toughest race track, the Nürburgring-Nordschleife.

In the changeable weather conditions, endurance racing specialist Christopher Mies and Audi DTM driver Nico Müller initially took the lead after ten race laps. The lead exchanged hands several times as they staged a thrilling battle with the best Mercedes-Benz. From lap 18 onwards, the German-Swiss duo gradually increased its lead before finally crossing the finish line after four hours with a 1m 27s advantage over Laurens Vanthoor and Pierre Kaffer. It was the first victory on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife for the Audi Sport Team WRT from Belgium. “We dedicate this victory to J. G. Mal-Voy, the former President of the Audi Club Belgium, who died suddenly last week,” said Team Boss Vincent Vosse.

“I’m absolutely delighted, because it was a nail-biting race. We started on rain tires, changed to slicks and before changing back to wet tires later on,” reported Christopher Mies. “The new Audi R8 LMS was easy to drive in both wet and dry conditions. We have also made progress on the suspension set-up. This was the key to victory today.”

“This victory in the dress rehearsal for the 24 Hours Nürburgring was an important step forwards for us,” said Romolo Liebchen, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “We had very little experience with the R8 LMS beforehand in these changeable conditions. We saw that our new car is competitive. However, this was a test race. We discovered several things on which we must work to be perfectly prepared for the 24-hour race, because we can expect strong competition.” At the season highlight on May16-17, four new Audi R8 LMS will face up to several dozen GT3 cars in a starter field of almost a 160 participants.

Audi has been testing the new GT3 sportscar, which already complies with the new GT3 regulations, since spring 2014. The races during the 2015 season are specifically to put the Audi R8 LMS through an extensive test program under the toughest conditions. “The goal is to be able to supply a winning racecar to our Audi customer teams by the end of the year, and to convince many teams to choose an Audi,” says Romolo Liebchen.

Like its successful predecessor, many of the parts used on the new Audi R8 LMS are identical to the new production R8, which was launched in Geneva at the same as the racecar and that is launched on the market in Summer.”

Audi before next WEC thriller

Overtaking maneuvers on each lap, wheel-to-wheel duels, lead changes and a 4.6-second advantage for Audi after six hours of racing: The WEC opening round at Silverstone could not have been more thrilling. As the leaders of the standings, Audi is now traveling to the second in a total of eight World Championship rounds with high expectations. On May 2, the Spa 6 Hours is on the calendar of Audi Sport Team Joest – a classic race that promises to become equally exciting as the most recent one at Silverstone.

The Spa 6 Hours have traditionally been the ‘dress rehearsal’ for the Le Mans 24 Hours that captivates a worldwide audience only six weeks later as the pinnacle event of the season. Therefore, Audi has been using the race at Spa, Belgium, for many years to put an additional race car on the grid besides the two R18 e-tron quattro entered in the Championship – just like at Le Mans. Testing different aero configurations of the hybrid sports car in the race at Spa has paid off for Audi in recent years. In 2015, Audi will be testing its technologies for Le Mans there again. Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F) in car number ‘7’ and Lucas di Grassi/Loïc Duval/Oliver Jarvis (BR/F/GB) in number ‘8’ are supported by Filipe Albuquerque/Marco Bonanomi/René Rast (P/I/D) in an Audi R18 e-tron quattro designated as car number ‘9.’

For René Rast, May 2 will be a special day. The 29-year-old German will be contesting his first race in an Audi LMP1 sports car. Rast has been successful in the GT3 program of Audi Sport customer racing for several years, having scored two victories in the Spa 24 Hours, and was promoted to the LMP program last winter. “The track in the Ardennes suits me really well and I can hardly wait for my first race in the R18 after the many kilometers I drove it in testing,” René Rast says before his premiere. “I’ve known Filipe and Marco from previous races. Audi has prepared me well for my new task.”

The circuit located 60 kilometers southeast of Liège thrills fans and drivers with its challenging configuration. The 7.004-kilometer tarmac band follows the contours of terrain with considerable vertical differences. Raidillon Corner, also known as Eau Rouge, numbers among a race driver’s greatest challenges. Audi’s hybrid sports cars reach speeds of more than 270 km/h in the steep left-right combination of the uphill section. At the end of the following straight, the R18 e-tron quattro runs at 298 km/h, approaching the start and finish chicane at the same speed before the drivers shift from seventh all the way down to first gear, having to decelerate to 71 km/h. During each braking event, the hybrid system of the race car recuperates energy that is used again on acceleration.

Audi has close ties with the kingdom of Belgium and the Spa 6 Hours. Brussels is home to one of the company’s European production locations. Audi delivered 31,400 automobiles on the Belgian market last year, recording five percent growth. In 2012 and 2013, Audi took the top three spots in the Spa 6 Hours. Last year, Audi Sport Team Joest took home the trophy for second place. This year, Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer are traveling to Belgium as the leaders of the standings with a seven-point advantage.

TV viewers in Germany can watch the final stage of the race on Eurosport from 18.30 to 20.45 (CEST). On the internet, Audi will be reporting about the events of the weekend on Facebook (AudiSport), Twitter (@Audi__Sport) and on the Audi Sport App.

Audi TT 1.8 TFSI: Athlete in a compact format

Audi is extending the engine range for its new TT generation. From July, the compact sports cars will also be available in a 1.8 TFSI version developing 132 kW (180 hp). The new entry level engine version of the Audi TT Coupé* will be available from EUR 32,100 and the TT Roadster for EUR 34,500.

The turbocharged 1.8 TFSI has a displacement of 1,798 cm3 and achieves its peak torque of 250 Nm (184.4 lb‑ft) across the rev range of 1,250 to 5,000 rpm. At part loads, an additional manifold injection system supplements the FSI direct injection, to cut emissions. The Audi valvelift system varies the stroke of the exhaust valves, improving the engine’s response. A compact rotary valve module for thermal management and the exhaust manifold integrated into the cylinder head both play a major part in the four‑cylinder engine’s efficiency.

The TT Coupé with six‑speed manual transmission accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 6.9 seconds, or in 7.0 seconds with the optional six‑speed S tronic, and continues right up to a top speed of 241 km/h (149.8 mph). In the case of the Roadster, the corresponding figures for the standard sprint are 7.2 seconds with manual transmission and 7.3 seconds for the S tronic version. The top speed for both combinations is 237 km/h (147.3 mph). The 1.8 TFSI Coupé version covers 100 kilometers (62.1 mi) on an average of only 5.7 to 6.0 liters of fuel (129 – 138 g CO2 per km) (33.6 – 30.9 US mpg; 207.6 – 222.1 g/mi); the TT Roadster 1.8 TFSI achieves this on 5.8 to 6.1 liters (132 – 142 g CO2 per km) (33.1 – 30.5 US mpg; 212.4 – 228.5 g/mi).

As well as the new entry-level engine version, Audi supplies the new TT generation with a choice of three two‑liter engines: The TT 2.0 TDI ultra with 135 kW (184 hp) and 380 Nm (280.3 lb‑ft) of torque needs only 4.2 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (56.0 US mpg). That corresponds to CO2 emissions of 110 grams per kilometer (177.0 g/mi) and therefore represents new best-in-segment fuel economy. Then there are two versions of the 2.0 TFSI: In the TT, the supercharged petrol engine develops 169 kW (230 hp) and 370 Nm (272.9 lb‑ft) of torque; the power output of the TTS is 228 kW (310 hp) and 380 Nm (280.3 lb‑ft). The Coupé sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.6 seconds.

Even the basic version of the sports car comes equipped with all the strengths of the new model generation – a purist, sporty character, systematic lightweight construction, striking design and dynamic suspension. Nor are there any constraints on equipment: The sport seats with integral head restraints are fitted as standard, along with progressive steering and the Audi virtual cockpit.

Specifically the interior of the new TT generation has caused a major stir since its world debut at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas at the start of 2014. The compact sports car has already collected an assortment of awards – including “Design Innovation of the Year” and “connected car of the year”. It has earned these accolades also thanks to optional high‑end features such as Audi connect, for a high‑speed Internet connection, the Audi drive select driving dynamics system, and assistance systems such as park assist with a reversing camera.

Fuel consumption of the models named above:

Audi TT Coupé:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 4.2 – 7.3 (56.0 – 32.2 US mpg)**;
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 110 – 169 (177.0 – 272.0 g/mi)**

Audi TT Roadster:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 4.3 – 7.5 (54.7 – 31.4 US mpg)**;
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 114 – 174 (183.5 – 280.0 g/mi)**

**The fuel consumption and the CO2 emissions of a vehicle vary due to the choice of wheels and tires. They not only depend on the efficient utilization of the fuel by the vehicle, but are also influenced by driving behavior and other non-technical factors.

International stars as guest starters in Audi Sport TT Cup

For the opening of the Audi Sport TT Cup at Hockenheim on the first May weekend, two rallycross stars will battle for bragging rights: Guest starters Tanner Foust (USA) and Toomas Heikkinen (FIN) pit themselves against the permanent competitors. Ski jump Olympic gold medalist and World Champion Sven Hannawald also joins the grid.

The two races at the Hockenheimring on Saturday and Sunday should provide the fans with exciting wheel-to-wheel action. In addition to the 18 international talents, who fight for championship points, the six guest drivers should also spice up the action. “We want to offer the motorsport fans at each of the six Audi Sport TT Cup events fascinating battles between drivers from a specific métier,” says Rolf Michl, Project Leader Audi Sport TT Cup. “For the Hockenheimring we were successful. I expect to see Tanner Foust and Toomas Heikkinen make some incredible overtaking maneuvers.”Foust is a superstar in the USA. The triple gold medal winner in the X-Games currently drives in the Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) and moderates the motorsport magazine program Top Gear. In Europe, the 41-year old participates in selected rounds of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, including a world championship round at the Hockenheimring. Where he meets his adversary Heikkinen. The 24-year old Finn was World Rallycross Championship runner-up in 2014. “I’m looking forward enormously to racing again on a circuit,” says Heikkinen, who last competed on a permanent race track in Formula Renault in 2009.

Another celebrity – former ski jumper Sven Hannawald – also joins the grid at Hockenheim. The VW brand ambassador is an enthusiastic amateur racing driver who started in motorsport about ten years ago. “Racing has always been very appealing to me,” says Hannawald. “The challenges on the track are comparable with those in ski jumping. You have to react very quickly and be fully focused in both sports. This fascinates me.” Three journalists with racing experience complete the field of six guest starters.

A series of strong partners supports the Audi Sport TT Cup in its premiere season. In addition to tire partner Hankook, REHAU and AMAG Austria Metall AG also support the new Audi one-make cup. REHAU is the leading system and service provider of polymer-based solutions in the fields of construction, automotive and industry. AMAG Austria Metall AG, based in Ranshofen, is Austria’s leading manufacturer of semi-finished and cast aluminum products for the processing industries.

The new racing series also generates great interest at AUDI AG. Audi Top Service and Audi Consulting are also partners of the Audi Sport TT Cup. Audi Top Service represents faultless repair quality and excellent customer service. This is the foundation for customer enthusiasm. Because as in motorsport, excellence and teamwork are the prerequisites for long-term success in the daily service business. For Audi Consulting, the in-house top management consultancy of AUDI AG, the Audi Sport TT Cup is an attractive environment in which to meet and interact with talents interested in automobiles and to inspire them for a career at Audi.

Audi, DHL and Amazon deliver convenience

“Our final attempt failed, your package can be picked up at our service center.” With Audi connect easy delivery, a future service from Audi connect, this message will be a thing of the past – making shopping online even more convenient. Audi is working together with its partners DHL Parcel and Amazon Prime to develop an innovative logistics service: shipping parcels directly to your car’s trunk. A pilot project starting in May will allow participants to use the service for the first time. Audi connect easy delivery will operate through temporary authorization for keyless access to the car’s luggage compartment.

“With comprehensive connectivity, we are transforming the car into a service device and integrating it even more closely into the everyday lives of our customers,” says Luca de Meo, Member of the Board of Management for Sales at AUDI AG. “Audi connect easy delivery helps save time and offers more convenience and flexibility – advantages that are increasingly important for the target group of a premium brand.”

In the future, the new service is to provide customers with the option of entering their Audi as the shipping address for online orders. DHL Parcel is providing the dispatching service in the pilot project. Development partner Amazon is the first online retailer to offer customers delivery directly to their car’s trunk.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development at AUDI AG, emphasizes the high security standards of the development project. “As with all of our connect services, the security of the car and of customer data has top priority for Audi. For us, Vorsprung durch Technik also means Audi customers should be able to use these kinds of innovative services with peace of mind and therefore enjoy true added value.”

If the Audi owner agrees to the tracking of their automobile for the specific delivery time frame, the DHL driver handling the parcel receives a digital access code for the trunk of the customer’s vehicle. It can be used one time only for a specific period of time and expires as soon as the luggage compartment has been closed again. Similarly, Audi connect easy delivery customers will also be able to send letters and parcels from their own car in the future.

With this logistics service, customers will enjoy even more flexibility in controlling the delivery of their orders. In addition to this extra convenience, the service promotes efficiency as it avoids unsuccessful attempts to encounter customers at the specified address and therefore reduces the amount of traffic on the roads.

AUDI AG will test Audi connect easy delivery together with DHL Parcel and Amazon under real conditions in a pilot project which is to start in May in Munich, Germany.