Audi ready to battle for World Endurance Championship title

 

Audi is ready for the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). On Sunday, April 12, at Silverstone in the UK, the chase begins for the World Championship title that Audi won in 2012 and 2013. With two new R18 e-tron quattro cars and six successful drivers, Audi Sport Team Joest will be battling for the first victory in the new season.

A newly designed hybrid sports car, some 10,000 test kilometers, an Audi teambuilding and fitness camp in February and an initial meeting of the teams at the official FIA WEC Prologue on the last weekend in March: “Audi is ready for the 2015 season. It’ll be tougher this year than ever before,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “At the Prologue at Le Castellet, we met with our opponents for the first time in the 2015 season and were able to see that everyone is thoroughly prepared – even though nobody put their cards on the table there. Our aim is to win again at Silverstone, like we did in 2012 and 2013.”There, the spectators witnessed the racing premiere of a new generation of the Audi hybrid sports car. The combination of a V6 TDI engine with e-tron quattro hybrid drive is more powerful and more efficient than ever before. The two-fold amount of energy – four megajoules – is available in the electric drive system while the diesel engine delivers an output of more than 410 kW (558 PS). Combined with clearly improved aerodynamics and new developments in the chassis, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro runs faster than before but uses even less fuel.Plenty of diversity is awaiting the drivers at Silverstone. The circuit on the former airfield used to be famous for its high speeds. Now, numerous narrow sections complement the track configuration, resulting in an unusual combination that forces the engineers to make compromises in setting up the cars. A comparison: The R18 e-tron quattro runs through turn four called ‘The Loop’ in first gear at a little less than 80 km/h whereas it achieves more than 270 km/h in the ‘Maggots’ section in seventh gear. The drivers have to shift up into a higher gear 18 times and downshift again 18 times per lap – which amounts to 36 gear changes around the 5.891-kilometer track.

The 2012 Silverstone winners, Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F), will be entering the race in car number 7 on Sunday at 12.00, local time. They have won the Le Mans 24 Hours three times and were World Endurance Champions in 2012. A year later, Loïc Duval (F) decided this title in his favor together with his then team-mates Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish. He is sharing car number 8 at Audi with Lucas di Grassi (BR) and Oliver Jarvis (GB), who will be competing in his home round at Silverstone. Jarvis lives in Burwell just 130 kilometers away from the race track and is contesting his first full FIA WEC season.

In the season opener, Audi will be racing in an important growth market. With approximately 158,800 deliveries, the company recorded an 11.8 percent increase in sales in the United Kingdom compared with the previous year. In the past ten years, the brand even doubled its deliveries there. Within Europe, the United Kingdom is Audi’s second-largest market following the German domestic market.

In total, Audi’s LMP race cars have clinched five victories at Silverstone, two in the FIA WEC and three in other sports car racing series between 2004 and 2008. In addition to the WEC victory – accounting for 24 points in the Championship – the race this year will be about winning the Tourist Trophy as well. The tradition-steeped British motorsport trophy has been awarded since 1905.

“Police raid” at the Audi museum mobile

 

In a special exhibition entitled “Razzia” (in English: Police Raid), the Audi museum mobile will present 14 police patrol cars of various brands from nearly every era of police car history. The new special show runs from April 10 to August 30, 2015. The museum is offering special tours of the exhibition. Another highlight: Visitors can now see “Treasures from Neckarsulm” – historic cars and motorcycles from this Audi site – on the paternoster elevator in the museum.

While police in the United States realized early on that the car was highly suited to fighting crime, police departments in Germany long continued to send their constables and state troopers through their beats on foot or bicycle. The means of locomotion for police in Germany changed only after the First World War. The oldest exhibit in the show, the 1930 Horch 400 police squad car, originated during this era.

It took several years, however, for the car to finally become established in police work. Police departments at the time sent models from both Auto Union GmbH and NSU Motorenwerke AG out on patrol. Exhibits in the museum include a DKW 1000 S (1963) that was used by the Münster highway patrol, and an NSU Prinz 4 from 1964.

Other cars in the exhibition that bear witness to the era of the German economic miracle include the Volkswagen Typ 18 A (1949) and a Hanomag L 28 GruKW (“Gruppenkraftwagen,” in English: group car), made in 1951. Many visitors will also be reminded of the legendary TV series from the 1960s “Funkstreife Isar 12” when they catch sight of the BMW 501 in the museum. It made television history as the so-called “baroque angel.” In addition, a 1964 Porsche 356 from the highway patrol is being exhibited.

The Audi 100 (C1) also wore a police uniform – the exhibit on display rolled off the assembly line in 1971. Audi primarily supplied the roomy sedan to the highway patrols in Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony and Bavaria. The national police in the former German Democratic Republic used the Wartburg 353 – the special show includes a model from 1983.

Audi models of the 1990s follow in a green-and-white design. The Audi 80 (B4), produced in Ingolstadt, achieved stardom in the television series “Hubert und Staller” that began in November 2011. The high-performance Audi A6 (C4) – produced from 1990 to 1994 – is particularly suited to service on the highway. With this model, the patrol car began to develop into a modern, digitally connected work station where so many officers now spend more than half of their working time.

An Audi A4 Avant from 2005 and a Lamborghini Gallardo Polizia – with 500 hp, one of the fastest police cars in the world – are shown as representatives of more recent history. The newest exhibit comes from 2009: a VW Scirocco in blue-silver. The sport coupé has never been used in police service, however. It was developed especially for the safety initiative of a tuning club.

Motorized two-wheelers complete the journey through police history: the NSU Quickly as a police moped (1953), a NSU Supermax Polizei (1961), the Ducati 600 Desmo Polizia Urban (1983) and an MZ ETZ (“Einzylinder-Telegabel-Zentralkastenrahmen,” in English: single-cylinder – telescopic fork – central box frame) 250 VP (“Volkspolizei,” in English: national police) from 1985.

A specially developed kids’ program takes young visitors (6 to 12 years) to the exhibition along on a journey into the world of police work. In “Tatü-tata, die Kinderpolizei ist da!” (“Woo-woo, the police kids are here!”) they learn why the blue light is blue, where the siren originated and the story behind the term “the white mice.” The police kids can then try out what they have learned in an interactive project with a pedal car that has been converted into a patrol car. But they have to be careful – their traffic violations might be captured with a flash photo and result in a ticket. More information about the kids’ program and about tours through the special exhibition can be obtained from the Audi Welcome Service, Tel.: 0800 283 4444 (in Germany).

In addition to the new special exhibition, another attraction awaits visitors to the Audi museum mobile. “Treasures from Neckarsulm” can also be seen now on the large paternoster elevator. These document the automotive history of the Audi site. The company NSU was founded in 1873 in Riedlingen and relocated in 1900 to Neckarsulm. Motorcycles began being built there in 1901; automobile production was added in 1906. A selection of 11 cars and five motorcycles on the Paternoster in the Audi museum mobile testify to the long history of NSU. Among the things to see are rare items from history, such as the first NSU race car, the NSU 6/60 PS, which won the first “Grand Prix of Germany for Sports Cars.” Also on display is an NSU Baumm II, a special motorcycle that set world speed records in 1954 in 1956. Along with NSU classics like the Ro 80, Wankel Spider and NSU TT, visitors will also find an NSU Uruguay P6, which the company produced exclusively in that South American country.