The high-caliber field fought close battles across the entire race distance – six of the eight marques finished in the top ten. Remarkably for an endurance race there was not a single yellow period during the eight hours.
“Today we received confirmation of what a fiercely fought racing series the Intercontinental GT Challenge has become,” said Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “Across the full race distance the entire field fought close battles. That leaves no room for mistakes. Unfortunately, after two victories in 2017 and 2018 here at Laguna Seca, we’re going home without a trophy this time. Small things made the difference today. I’d like to thank our six drivers and the two teams. They all did a good job. Now, we’re looking ahead and forward to the two upcoming 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and at Spa.”
The Intercontinental GT Challenge will continue at the end of July with round three, the tradition-steeped 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. The race in Belgium will be followed by rounds in Japan (Suzuka) and Kyalami (South Africa). In the IGTC, Audi is the title defender in the manufacturers’ classification and, with five of six possible titles after three years, the most successful brand.
Photo album California 8 Hours 2019
Press Kit California 8 Hours 2019
Media Z-Card California 8 Hours 2019
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With the test at Barcelona on March 28 and 29, Audi concludes its pre-season preparations. The drivers completed a total distance of some 10,000 test kilometers in the Audi RS 3 LMS that was TCR Model of the Year in 2018. Since December, Audi Sport has tested in Belgium, Germany, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain and Hungary. “After a good first season, we intend to fight for the title this year,” says Jean-Karl Vernay, who as the best Audi Sport driver won four races and clinched two pole positions last year. “The competition will be even more intensive and I’m really looking forward to that.” Seven marques and 26 entrants will be represented in the field. “As a team we worked very hard last year. Now I want to personally improve once again. Pole position and victory at Wuhan have made me hungry for more,” says Gordon Shedden. Frédéric Vervisch delivered several top performances last winter: In November, at the FIA WTCR finale in Macau, and in January, in Dubai, he won his first 24-hour race in the GT3 category with Audi Sport customer racing. “In 2018, I finished on podium in the FIA WTCR seven times. Now I intend to go for all-out attack right in the first race,” says Vervisch. “For me, the signing by Audi Sport has made a dream come true,” says Niels Langeveld. “We want to be in contention at the front of the field with the team and clinch good results. Is that realistic? I don’t know yet. But it definitely is my goal.”
The calendar covers three continents and again encompasses ten events, each featuring three sprint races, starting with the race at Marrakesh in Morocco next weekend. For the first time, a maximum of four race cars per manufacturer will be battling for success. The operational crews working on the cars will be limited to ten people per two race cars this year. Practice time in the first free practice session will increase by 50 percent to 45 minutes. For the first time, points will be awarded to the top five drivers not only in the second but also in the first qualifying session. The first qualifying will continue to determine the grid for race one, the second session for race three. In the second race, the top ten from the second qualifying will start from a reversed grid. The points-classification for all three rounds, which now begins with 25 points for a victory and no longer rewards only the top ten but the top 15 drivers, has been standardized. Titles in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup are awarded to the best drivers and teams, but not to the manufacturers. For the first time, the circuit at Sepang in Malaysia will host the finale of the racing series in December. Eurosport will provide comprehensive television coverage of the series in Europe. In 2018, 66 million viewers watched the broadcasts in Europe. The cumulative airtime of Eurosport alone amounted to 212 hours. This year, the series will be broadcast in 204 countries worldwide.
Basic information Audi Sport customer racing 2019 including driver biographies
2019 FIA WTCR photos
Media Z Card 2019 FIA WTCR
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In the future, wireless production robots and employees will work hand in hand. Real-time interaction is essential for smooth collaboration. The key to this is 5G technology with its low latency, i.e. end-to-end delays of less than ten milliseconds, and its high level of network stability. As a result, interaction between humans and machines is made even safer thanks to 5G. The playful demonstration at Ericsson’s Hannover Messe booth is an example for the interaction in a factory. The robot has sensors connected to the 5G network. As soon as a visitor stretches his hand towards the robot, this is detected by those sensors. The robot then hands the guest a packet of mint sweets. “In the future, 5G will be essential to allow flexible, wireless robots to interact reliably and safely with people in production environments,” explains Jan-Peter Meyer-Kahlen, Head of the ICT Development Center Eurolab Aachen. “Because a robot connected via 5G can react to humans in real time only with extremely low latencies and very high availability.”
“The human-robot interaction at the Hannover Messe is just the beginning. With the introduction of 5G in car production, we are gaining completely new possibilities for connecting machines via radio,” says Dr. Henning Löser, Head of the Audi Production Lab, in which Audi has been testing a local 5G network for vehicle production together with Ericsson since August 2018. “We are absolutely convinced of the potential of the new technology. That’s why we want to set up an in-house 5G network that will facilitate agile and flexible production in the future.”
Sebastian Heidepriem, Head of Wireless Technologies at SICK AG, explains: “In connection with wireless industrial communication, 5G technology has key advantages for the use of our sensor solutions in various applications. This type of communication allows fundamental changes in software architecture for more flexible automation. That’s why we are evaluating 5G technology for industrial use. For example, we see an advantage in the fact that industrial vehicles can use 5G not only inside production halls, but also outside, and worldwide on public roads. The example of a robotics application at the Hanover Fair demonstrates how humans and robots will be able to collaborate better in the future thanks to reliable communication with low latency.”
Together with Audi Brussels and the Port of Brussels, the Audi Environmental Foundation and its project partner Recycled Island Foundation have installed a specially developed collecting basin in the harbor basin of Brussels. This plastic trap is designed so that waste floating in the water is flushed into a net, where retention devices prevent it from being washed out again and thus ensure that no plastic reaches the open sea via the canal. The port of Brussels is already the third site for the Recycled Island project, following Rotterdam and the Indonesian island of Ambon.
What boys can do, girls can do at least as well. This was impressively demonstrated by 194 schoolgirls from the region on Thursday, 28 March, at Audi’s Girls’ Day in Ingolstadt. They demonstrated their technical know-how in various projects, gained insights into the various technical professions offered by the automobile manufacturer, and exchanged ideas and opinions with apprentices and Audi experts.
Participation was open to high-school, secondary- and middle-school students from year seven onwards. The 149 girls from secondary and middle schools, for example, gained an impression of apprenticeships in industrial and technical occupations at Audi. Accompanied by apprentices, they tried out their practical skills on small workpieces and learned techniques for filing or soldering in the production of key rings, fittings for mobile phones and pens, “special easter bunnies” and small model cars. In the apprentices’ workshop, the participants carried out service checks and tire changes. The 45 high-school students received information about studying at the University of Cooperative Education and about “Audi dual” – this dual study program combines a university degree with practical experience at the company. Female academics talked about their day-to-day work in the company and thus conveyed a vivid impression of the range of technical tasks they master on a daily basis. Dieter Omert, Head of Vocational Training and Professional Competence Development at AUDI AG: “Events such as Girls’ Day are a good opportunity to get girls interested in technical careers. We are happy to support the schoolgirls and show them that professions in the technical field have great career potential and are also a lot of fun.”