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.

Audi mastermind for piloted driving:the central driver assistance controller

The central driver assistance controller (zFAS) is the core of future systems for piloted driving under development by Audi. This mastermind uses cutting edge, high performance processors and will work its way into the model range step by step in the foreseeable future. It is a key milestone on the road to new, automated driving functions and a demonstration of the pioneering role that Audi is assuming in the field of piloted driving. The technologies specialist Delphi has been awarded the contract for series productions.

Audi developed this elemental control center in collaboration with internationally leading technology partners. Under the direction of Audi, a team of specialists from TTTech, Mobileye, nVidia and Delphi jointly developed the various hardware and software components. Audi has chosen Delphi as the future system supplier for the zFAS electronics board.

A wide range of sensor information comes together in the zFAS. The controller uses this to quickly compute a complete model of the vehicle surroundings and makes this information available to the various assistance systems. It is thus the central interface for all piloted driving functions.

At the moment, most driver assistance systems are managed by spatially separated controllers. In the future, Audi will be the first automobile manufacturer to implement this function in a central domain architecture. Audi has taken a holistic approach to consolidate the portfolio of functions, the sensors necessary, the electronics hardware and the software architecture into a central system. From the very beginning, the primary focus was on the safety concept.

High‑performance electronic components are a prerequisite for high‑powered computing in a compact package. The zFAS board is equipped with both the EyeQ3 mobile processor from Mobileye and the new Tegra K1 from nVidia. The tremendous computing power provided by this solution corresponds to the complete electronics architecture of a well-equipped mid-size car. Thanks to the high degree of integration, the new board is barely the size of a tablet PC. Its modular concept makes the zFAS flexible scalable and thus future-proof in every respect.

Audi is also working with leading suppliers such as Bosch, Continental, Valeo and Delphi on the sensors and actuating elements, such as braking and steering systems. The objective is to develop common standards and offer customers modern driver assistance systems for greater safety, comfort and convenience on the road to fully automatic driving.

In the near future, Audi connect will enable the piloted cars from Audi to also learn continuously as they drive. The data computed by the zFAS board will be transferred via the cellular phone network — via LTE, where available — to an IT backend in the cloud. This will process these data using algorithms for machine learning and artificial intelligence before sending the data back to the car. The zFAS board will in this way continuously extend its capabilities to master even complex situations increasingly better. The piloted cars from Audi thus learn more every day and with each new situation they experience.

Audi drivers impressed by RS 5 DTM

At the first official DTM track tests of the year, the Audi RS 5 DTM left a strong impression.

From Wednesday to Friday this week, the DTM tested on the race track at Estoril (Portugal) on which the internationally popular touring car racing series last held a race in 2004. “Unfortunately, the external conditions weren’t exactly optimal,“ says Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport. “On the first and on the last day, we had very strong gusty winds. On the second day, there was intermittent rain. It won’t be easy to draw the right conclusions from the test results. But after the long winter break, it was extremely important for our drivers to get a lot of driving time and to get an idea of the set-up work that was done over the winter months. We’re pleased that our drivers immediately felt comfortable again in the RS 5 DTM and made positive comments about the basic set-up that was worked out in winter.“

All eight Audi drivers participated in the tests on the Portuguese Atlantic coast. Each of the three Audi Sport Teams (Abt Sportsline, Phoenix and Rosberg) had a 2015-specification race car at Estoril, plus there was a test car from Audi Sport that was equipped with additional sensors and measuring instruments shared by Mattias Ekström and Miguel Molina.

“The whole team did a good job in winter,” Timo Scheider, the 2008 and 2009 DTM Champion, said after the test. “This was the first time for me to sit in the RS 5 DTM since the finale at Hockenheim and I immediately felt comfortable. The car is superbly balanced.”

This impression was confirmed by all Audi drivers, who reeled off a total of 1,382 laps and 5,779 kilometers on the three days. Except for a minor slip by Adrien Tambay on Thursday afternoon, the test went without any problems for Audi. In four of the six test sessions, an Audi RS 5 DTM was listed in first place.

The fastest lap of the tests was performed by youngster Nico Müller, who in the Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM of his team-mate Jamie Green achieved a best time of 1m 32.443s on the last day. “It was great for me to be able to test for two full days,” said the 23-year-old Swiss. “We don’t have a lot of testing opportunities in the DTM. Obviously, the weather hampered our testing program a little. But the items we checked off were positive.”

At Estoril, all Audi drivers worked together with their race engineers for the 2015 season for the first time. New to the Audi DTM squad is the Italian Nicola Palarchi, who supports Adrien Tambay in Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline. Starting this year, his previous engineer, Franco Chiocchetti, will be taking care of Edoardo Mortara’s RS 5 DTM. All other driver-engineer combinations have remained unchanged.

Before the season opener at Hockenheim on the first weekend in May, another official DTM test is scheduled at Oschersleben from April 14 to 16.

The test results of the Audi four RS 5 DTM at Estoril

Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM #17 (Audi Sport Team Abt)
Mattias Ekström (S), 147 laps (Wed), 1m 33.269 s (Wed)
Miguel Molina (E), 190 laps (Thur/Fri), 1m 32.673s (Fri)

Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM #27 (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
Adrien Tambay (F), 193 laps (Wed/Thur), 1m 32.878s (Thur)
Edoardo Mortara (I), 114 laps (Fri), 1m 33,075s (Fri)

Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM #53 (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
Jamie Green (GB), 127 laps (Wed), 1m 32.774s (Wed)
Nico Müller (CH), 243 laps (Thur/Fri), 1m 32.443s (Fri)

Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM #99 (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
Mike Rockenfeller (D), 197 laps (Wed/Thur), 1m 32.804s (Thur)
Timo Scheider (D), 171 laps (Thur/Fri), 1m 32.586s (Fri)

The race engineers for the Audi Sport Teams in the 2015 DTM:

Mattias Ekström: Florian Modlinger
Jamie Green: Erich Baumgärtner
Miguel Molina: Markus Michelberger
Edoardo Mortara: Franco Chiocchetti
Nico Müller: Karl Jennings
Mike Rockenfeller: Jürgen Jungklaus
Timo Scheider: Laurent Fedacou
Adrien Tambay: Nicola Palarchi