Audi Sport customer racing is supporting Teams WRT and Saintéloc this year. Last year’s winners, Christopher Haase and Markus Winkelhock, are again competing with Audi Sport Team Saintéloc. The two Germans are supported by a third Audi Sport driver, Belgian Frédéric Vervisch. In Audi Sport Team WRT, three Audi factory drivers from the DTM, René Rast (D), Nico Müller (CH) and Robin Frijns (NL), are sharing a cockpit. In a second Audi R8 LMS of the Belgian team, the two Audi Sport drivers Dries Vanthoor (B) and Christopher Mies (D) will contest the event together with Spaniard Alex Riberas. This driver trio is leading the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup standings after three of five rounds. Swiss Audi factory driver Marcel Fässler will enter the race in a privately fielded third Audi of the WRT racing team that will additionally enter a fourth R8 LMS. Six other private Audi R8 LMS cars complete the lineup. Saintéloc Racing will be battling for class victory in the AM category with one car. Montaplast by Land-Motorsport relies on South African Audi Sport driver Kelvin van der Linde, among others. In Team Attempto Racing, Audi DTM driver Jamie Green (GB) and Audi Sport driver Pierre Kaffer will be racing in two different cars. Team Car Collection Motorsport, in Audi Sport driver Frank Stippler, has the 2012 winner on board. Furthermore, Aust Motorsport is planning to enter an Audi R8 LMS. Whereas Audi Sport has won the classic event four times since 2011 the drivers from Audi Sport customer racing combined have previously scored three victories. In addition, there are the two victories clinched by René Rast plus one success by Marcel Fässler.
The Spa 24 Hours as round four of five is part of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup. At the same time, the event is the second of four events of the Intercontinental GT Challenge which Audi, following victory at the opener in Australia, is leading with Robin Frijns, Dries Vanthoor and British privateer Stuart Leonard. “Spa this year has all the ingredients of becoming the biggest GT race of the year,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “For four days, international GT racing and its outstanding audience are going to focus their attention on Belgium. We’re hoping to deliver a tremendous motorsport weekend to the many fans and to be battling for overall victory, class wins and the Coupe du Roi for the best manufacturer.”
Basic information Audi R8 LMS
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Audi offers various solutions for charging at home, which is where the majority of all charging operations take place: The standard compact charging system enables charging with an output of up to 11 kW. The optional connect charging system doubles the output to 22 kW, to which end the Audi e-tron is equipped with a second, optional charger. The connect charging system also connects with the infrastructure via the home Wi-Fi and, in conjunction with a home energy management system (HEMS), enables intelligent charging functions. “In keeping with our premium quality standards, we want an electric car that fits seamlessly into the intelligently connected home, to provide genuine added value for the customer. That is why we have teamed up with the two leading suppliers of home energy management systems, the Hager Group and SMA Solar Technology. That brings maximum charging convenience,” says Fermin Soneira, Head of Product Marketing at Audi.
Cost and CO2-optimized charging
With the connect charging system and a suitably equipped HEMS, the customer can use variable electricity tariffs to charge the Audi e-tron. This system can charge the battery when electricity is less expensive while simultaneously considering individual mobility requirements, such as departure time and charge level. The connect charging system gets the necessary rate information either from the HEMS or from information the customer enters into the myAudi portal. If the home is equipped with a photovoltaic system, the customer can optimize the charging process to prefer the electricity generated by the system for charging the Audi e-tron. The electric SUV does this by considering forecast phases of sunshine and the current flow of electricity at the home’s connection point to the public grid.
The intelligent charging function also protects the customer in the event of a blackout. The customer always charges with the maximum available capacity that the home electrical system and the car allow. The charging system also considers the power requirements of other consumers to avoid overloading the home electrical system and thus tripping the master breaker. The customer can check their individual charging statistics and charging progress in the myAudi portal and myAudi app. Besides charging times and the amount of electricity charged, the system also provides detailed information about the corresponding costs. This data is stored on a secured server, and the portal offers both analysis and export functions.
The e-tron marks the dawning of a new era for Audi. The company is being transformed from a classic manufacturer of automobiles into a mobility system supplier. Thanks to the comprehensive range of charging options with intelligent solutions for home and on the move, customers can enjoy electric driving without compromises.
A word from Lucas di Grassi
You celebrated your victory by jumping into Lake Zurich. Have your clothes dried yet from the champagne and water?
Yes, even though I basically always like the smell of champagne on my racing suit it has since been put in the washing machine. But the pleasant feeling remains! Actually, now that a few days have passed and I’ve read all the reports, it may have even become more intense. Winning this race so many years after the last international motorsport event in Switzerland means a lot to me not least because it was such a fantastic weekend in every way.
Will such a jump now become a tradition for you? After all, at the next event in New York the race track will be located directly on the waterfront again …
(laughs) In view of the strong current of the East River, I think I’d better not and instead come up with something else. But seriously: The short spontaneous party at which Dieter Gass and Allan McNish also jumped into the lake after me is a pretty good sign of how excellent the atmosphere is in our team. We work hard and with full concentration. We’re clearly focused on our goal. And, at the same time, we’re able to party hard when we’re successful.
After the three first races of the season still last in the championship and now third, five podiums straight – no other driver has scored more points in the last five races than you have. How good does that feel?
I always look at such statistics with mixed feelings. On the one hand, obviously, the strong run of success we’re delivering as a team at the moment and the records we may be setting are great. On the other hand, I also sometimes think: What if things had gone a little smoother at the beginning of the season? Or if we’d have additionally had the race weekend in Montreal that was cancelled to make up more ground? However, there’s no point in wasting too many thoughts on this. We’re now fully concentrating on the future and on our big aim of clinching the teams’ title in Formula E.
Your team has reduced the gap to Techeetah in the teams’ classification to 33 points. You have experience in delivering great fightbacks on the final weekend. What’s the strategy for the last two races in New York?
Last season I arrived at the two final races with a 23-point deficit and still managed to overtake Sébastien Buemi. Now Daniel and I have to make up 33 points on two days – that’s a lot but not impossible. Our competitors will no doubt be strong in New York, so we need to be the ones doing the better job within the space of 48 hours.
Before this motorsport highlight a special personal experience – the birth of your first son – is awaiting you. What are your plans for the next few weeks?
There’s still some testing work with our car for the next season on the agenda, but I’ll be able to spend most of my time with my wife in Brazil. I’m super-excited and looking forward to the birth of our son – and, obviously, also to traveling to New York as a brand new father with top motivation.
“We are absolutely delighted with these awards,” said Peter Mertens, Board Member for Technical Development at AUDI AG, during the award ceremony which was held on Tuesday evening in Frankfurt am Main. “They prove that with the new A8 we are at the forefront of the competition when it comes to technology and are also making a significant contribution to the important future-oriented area of automated driving.”
The victory for the Audi A8 is testimony to the numerous innovations which the brand’s flagship delivers. The active suspension took first place in the rankings. In the case of a side impact it mitigates the risks for passengers by instantly raising the body by a few centimeters. The exit warning, the laser scanner and the HD Matrix LED headlights with Audi laser light also provided the large sedan with important points.
For the award as the most innovative premium brand in the “Autonomous driving and safety” category, the four-door design vision Audi Aicon proved compelling alongside the assistance systems in the Audi A8. The futuristic design study is geared entirely to autonomous driving and dispenses with a steering wheel and pedals.
With the “Automotive Innovations Award,” which was held for the seventh time in 2018, the most innovative automakers and suppliers of the year were singled out for praise. The manufacturer’s standings were decided based on a study of the database maintained by the “Center of Automotive Management” in Bergisch Gladbach. An expert jury reached the decision for the suppliers. A total of 1,296 innovations from all leading automakers involving around 60 brands were incorporated into the 2018 rankings.
Since 1954, no international circuit race has been held in Switzerland. The return of international motorsport attracted far more than 100,000 spectators to the city circuit in the financial district of the metropolis. The crowd got to see an impressive presentation of Audi’s e-tron technology: After starting the race from fifth place on the grid, it took Lucas di Grassi only 18 laps to take the lead and to subsequently clinch an uncontested victory. After 39 laps, the Audi driver had a 7.542-second advantage over runner-up Sam Bird in a DS Virgin.
For di Grassi, this marked his seventh Formula E triumph in total and the first victory in the 2017/2018 season. “It was an outstanding race and I’m extremely happy,” said the Audi driver who was presented with the trophy by City President Corine Mauch. “Winning the first circuit race on Swiss soil after more than 64 years is simply fantastic. My Audi e-tron FE04 was super-fast today and allowed me to win the race from fifth place on the grid.”
With his victory di Grassi moved up to third place in the driver’s championship and still has a chance of finishing runner up with the final two races in New York (USA) on July 14 and 15. The Brazilian exuberantly celebrated his triumph in Switzerland with a jump into Lake Zurich – keeping a promise he had made to his team in case he would clinch victory.
Scoring its second victory in succession and third this season, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler closed the gap by eleven points in the teams’ classification and lie second behind leaders Techeetah before the last two races.