Audi wins WEC opener at Silverstone

Audi Sport managed a dream start of the 2015 motorsport year. In the season opener of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Silverstone, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer took victory after a thrilling six-hour race in which the lead kept changing and was fiercely contested.

If the 6-hour race in the United Kingdom provided a foretaste of the season, motorsport fans can look forward to an exciting WEC year. Audi, Toyota and Porsche fought a three-way battle with numerous overtaking maneuvers and door-to-door fighting for positions from almost start to finish. When the checkered flag fell, the number ‘7’ Audi R18 e-tron quattro hybrid sports car was running in front and decided the race in its favor with a 4.610-second advantage. The sister car of Lucas di Grassi, Loïc Duval and Oliver Jarvis took fifth place following two unscheduled pit stops.“Congratulations to Marcel, André and Ben, who delivered fantastic motorsport for six hours today,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “This victory is a dream start of the season and a great reward for the whole squad for the hard work last winter. At the same time, this success motivates us even more for the great challenges awaiting us the next few weeks. The weekend at Silverstone has also shown that we could be facing what may be the most thrilling and fiercely contested WEC season ever.”

At the beginning, events in the race did not seem to augur well for car number ‘7.’  As the correct gear could not immediately be engaged, Benoît Tréluyer, who had started from position five, lost a lot of ground and had to battle his way forwards again through half of the field on the first laps. After two and a half hours, André Lotterer took over driving duties from Marcel Fässler and 30 minutes later the lead in the race. “A perfect day for Audi and for our team,” said Lotterer. “We were under pressure from the first to the last lap and could not afford to slip. We managed to do this and the team did everything right at the pit stops and with the perfect strategy. Now, we’re going to take this momentum with us to Spa and to Le Mans.” The gripping duel between Marcel Fässler and Porsche driver Neel Jani across many laps in which the two Swiss overtook each other several times per lap, was particularly impressive.

For the number ‘8’ sister car, a top result seemed to be within reach as well. But two repair stops in which the rear bodywork had to be replaced following contact with a rival and the fixings of the front hood subsequently had to be fastened, cost Lucas di Grassi, Loïc Duval and Oliver Jarvis about seven minutes and, as a result, all chances of clinching a podium place. After starting from the second row, the Brazilian-French-British trio had to settle for fifth place. “A fantastic day for Audi, but obviously the three of us are somewhat disappointed,” said Oliver Jarvis. “Still, we have positive impressions: a thrilling race and the first victory for our new R18 e-tron quattro – this whets our appetite for the WEC season.”

Fans will not have to wait long for the next appearance of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro. In just three weeks from now (May 2) round two of the FIA World Endurance Championship will be held at Spa-Francorchamps (B). For Audi, the race on the famous circuit in the Ardennes marks a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the season’s pinnacle event, the Le Mans 24 Hours. To prepare for Le Mans, Audi Sport Team Joest  will be fielding the third hybrid sports car, designated as number ‘9,’ that will be driven by Filipe Albuquerque (P), Marco Bonanomi (I) and René Rast (D).

Race results

1 Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro) 201 laps
2 Dumas/Jani/Lieb (Porsche) +4.160s
3 Davidson/Buemi/Nakajima (Toyota) +14.816s
4 Conway/Sarrazin/Wurz (Toyota) -1 lap
5 di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis (Audi R18 e-tron quattro) -4 laps
6 Rusinov/Canal/Bird (Ligier-Nissan) -16 laps
7 Yacaman/Derani/Gonzalez (Ligier-Nissan) -17 laps
8 Dalziel/Sharp/Heinemeier Hansson (HPD-Honda) -18 laps
9 Leventis/Watts/Kane (Dome-Nissan) -23 laps
10 Bruni/Vilander (Ferrari) -29 laps

Audi starts WEC season from second row


Motorsport fans can look forward to a thrilling FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season opener. In the qualifying session at Silverstone (Great Britain) the gaps between the top cars amounted to only a few tenths of a second. Loïc Duval, Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Jarvis, who will be starting the 6-hour race on Sunday from position three in their Audi R18 e-tron quattro, were the best Audi team.

Following heavy intermittent rain in the morning, the drivers started qualifying on a dry track at noon. The fastest man under the banner of the four rings was Lucas di Grassi, who in the number ‘8’ Audi R18 e-tron quattro set the first best time of 1m 40.180s. His team-mate Oliver Jarvis, who posted 1m 40.525s, managed a strong lap as well. In the WEC, the average of the two fastest laps determines the grid position.“I’m happy with our grid position even though in the end only twelve hundredths of a second were lacking for the first row,” says Lucas di Grassi. “We know that our competitors are in a better position in qualifying, but I’m confident that we’ll be able to attack across the race distance and are going to deliver a thrilling race to the fans.”

The sister car, number ‘7’ qualified in fifth position on the grid. André Lotterer, who was the second-fastest Audi driver, and Marcel Fässler set the times for the car. “A fair to middling qualifying session in which we didn’t achieve an optimal lap,” says Lotterer. “But anything is possible in the race.”

Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich’s assessment of the first qualifying session in the 2015 season was positive. “We saw a close qualifying session today in which the gaps between the top cars amounted to only a few tenths of a second.” The first two rows on the 5.891-kilometer track at Silverstone are separated by only six tenths of a second. Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich: “We didn’t achieve the pole position today. But we knew that our strength is not manifested by a fast lap but by consistency in the race. Therefore, the grid positions are a good base for Sunday.”

The 6-hour race at Silverstone starts on Sunday at 12.00, local time (13.00 CEST). Benoît Tréluyer (F) in car number ‘7’ and Lucas di Grassi (BR) in car number ‘8’ will be the starting drivers. Eurosport will broadcast the final stage of the race live from 18.00 to 19.30.

Qualifying results

1 Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (Porsche) 1m 39.721s
2 Dumas/Jani/Lieb (Porsche) 1m 40.340s
3 Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis (Audi R18 e-tron quattro) 1m 40.352s
4 Davidson/Buemi/Nakajima (Toyota) 1m 40.382s
5 Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro) 1m 41.153s
6 Conway/Sarrazin/Wurz (Toyota) 1m 41.694s
7 Yacaman/Derani/Gonzalez (Ligier-Nissan) 1m 48.021s
8 Rusinov/Canal/Bird (Ligier-Nissan) 1m 48.083s
9 Howson/Bradley/Tandy (Oreca-Nissan) 1m 49.389s
10 Panciatici/Chatin/Capillaire (Alpine-Nissan) 1m 49.498s

Federal Minister of Transport Dobrindt tests piloted Audi

Alexander Dobrindt satisfied himself of the technical capabilities of the Audi A7 piloted driving concept on Friday. The Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure accepted an invitation from AUDI AG to experience the technology of piloted driving first-hand.

Minister of Transport Dobrindt after his ride in the test vehicle, “Jack.” “Automated driving is not something out of science fiction. In a few years there will be piloted vehicles driving on the roads. Digital technology can assume tasks from the driver and provide enhanced safety and convenience. The long term goal is completely networked roads. Traffic jams and environmental pollution will be reduced, traffic safety increased and the infrastructure used to optimum capacity. I see big opportunities for Germany as a location for innovation and industry. Our automotive industry has the most attractive products in the world. Our goal must be to remain a world leader, including for automated driving,” explained Dobrindt, who has officially declared a section of Autobahn A9 to be a high-tech superhighway. It will serve as a test bed for the networked automobile of the future.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, Technical Development, considers the test drive with Minister Dobrindt to be “a further demonstration of the technical maturity and potential of piloted driving,” which Audi will offer in the Audi A8* in an initial expansion stage beginning in 2017. He welcomed the political support. “This will enable a key technology from Germany to also find its leading market at home.”

Hackenberg sees three primary areas of application for this use of artificial intelligence in automobiles. “On the one hand for the prevention of accidents: When the driver is overwhelmed and there is the risk of losing control or when he or she is bored because the trip is too monotonous. On the other hand also when the driver can and wants to make more effective use of his or her time, such as when sitting in a traffic jam. Less stress, greater safety and more convenience are the results.” It is now important that legislators work together with legal, regulatory and industry experts to pave the way for the authorization of such systems.

Audi continues to document its progress with this technology with spectacular demonstrations. In the United States, a driverless Audi TTS* etched the brand’s trademark four rings into the surface of a salt flat and also conquered Pikes Peak in the Rocky Mountains. In fall 2014, an RS 7 Sportback* circled the Hockenheim racetrack without a driver at the physical limits of driving. Since the start of this year, Audi has been demonstrating the next steps in piloted driving on public roads, for example under realistic traffic conditions on an American highway from the West Coast to Las Vegas.

The function for piloted driving in traffic jams, which Audi is currently moving to production, is based on existing assistance systems such as Audi adaptive cruise control and traffic jam assist. At speeds between 0 and 65 km/h (40.4 mph), the system will take over acceleration, braking and steering from the driver, if desired, providing some relief from stress in congested highway traffic. When the traffic jam dissolves or the road ends, the computer prompts the driver to take over the driving again.

The super brain of piloted driving is the central driver assistance control unit (zFAS). It uses state-of-the-art, high-performance processors to evaluate the signals from all sensors in real time and compute maneuvers. A radar system scans the area in front of the car while a video camera detects lane markings, guardrails, pedestrians and other vehicles. A laser scanner delivers high-precision data about objects up to 80 meters (262.5 ft) away. Furthermore, as many as twelve ultrasonic sensors and four cameras monitor the entire area surrounding the car. The zFAS then uses all these sensor data to compute a model of the surroundings that describes the prevailing traffic situation in great detail. This enables very early detection by the system of vehicles moving into the lane in front of the vehicle, for example.

This means that Audi already has the series technology for the first piloted driving systems available. The new functions made possible because of them can significantly expand the role of the car as an emotional, convenient and modern living space. Audi is fully devoted to this issue because in addition to the increase in safety, the gain in convenience brings along a substantial customer benefit with it.

Further information and press material about piloted driving at Audi has been compiled in adigital press kit.

You can find footage that is rights‑free and free of charge on the trip taken by Federal Minister for Transport Alexander Dobrindt and other video content about piloted driving onAudi MediaTV.

Fuel consumption of the models named above:

Audi A7 Sportback:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 9.5 – 4.7** (24.8 – 50.0 US mpg);
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 221 – 122** (355.7 – 196.3 g/mi)

Audi A8:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 11.3 – 5.9** (20.8 – 39.9 US mpg);
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 264 – 144** (424.9 – 231.7 g/mi)

Audi TTS:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7.5 – 6.8** (31.4 – 34.6 US mpg);
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 174 – 157** (280.0 – 252.7 g/mi)

Audi RS 7 Sportback:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 9.5** (24.8 US mpg);
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 221** (355.7 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

“The sky’s the limit”:Audi displays convertibles at Techno Classica


The Audi Tradition exhibit at this year’s Techno Classica in Essen centers around convertibles and roadsters. The world’s biggest classic car show provides the perfect stage for eight automotive treasures from Audi’s history from Wednesday, April 15 to Sunday, April 19. The theme of the exhibit from Ingolstadt is “Nach oben offen” (“The sky’s the limit”) – and is rounded out by three NSU racing motorcycles and an NSU “Renndienst” racing service bus.

The inspiration for the Audi theme this year was an anniversary: the sporty line of roadsters from Auto Union first developed 80 years ago. With the 1932 merger of Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer into Auto Union AG, sportiness became an established brand value. A convertible two-seater was then developed for each of the brands, and these were debuted in 1935. Three of these sports cars are among the highlights at the Audi stand.

One is the elegant Audi Front 225 Roadster with an elongated hood. Because of the 7,950 Reichsmark price tag for this car, plans for low-volume production did not pan out. In the end, only two prototypes were constructed. The exhibit is an exact replica on a contemporary Audi front chassis.

The DKW F 5 Roadster fulfilled the desire of many customers for a small, two-seater sports car and particularly appealed to young drivers with sporty driving ambitions. In all, 407 models left the production halls. The DKW on exhibit dates from 1937.

With a year’s delay, Auto Union also introduced a roadster from the Wanderer brand – the development work for the six-cylinder compressor engine took longer than originally planned. A vintage 1937 roadster can be viewed in Essen. The timeless elegance of the design of the Wanderer W 25 K was just as thrilling back then as it is today.

Another exhibit – the Auto Union 1000 Sp Roadster – transports visitors to the automotive world of the 1960s. The design is unmistakably inspired by American automotive design of the 1950s. The “Sp” designation stood for “special” – and people quickly began referring to it as “Sputnik” because of its futuristic appearance.

At its side is the NSU Wankel Spider – the first car in the world to include a rotary engine as standard equipment. It celebrated its premier at the International Motor Show (IAA) in 1963. In 1967 and 1968, Siegfried Spieß won the German Hill Climb Championship in all classes in an NSU Wankel Spider.

Audi Tradition is presenting yet another unique specimen at the Techno Classica 2015: the Audi 100 LS Cabriolet. The four-seater convertible was presented by the Osnabrück-based car manufacturing company Wilhelm Karmann GmbH at the IAA in 1969. It used the two-door Audi 100 sedan as its technical basis. A special feature was the electrohydraulic operation of the fully retractable top.

In 1989 the concept car for another Audi convertible caused a sensation – and this one went into volume production: 71,510 units of the first generation of the Audi Cabriolet rolled off the assembly line between 1991 and 2000. With its extravagant color combination of volcano black pearl-effect exterior paint and red leather, the model exhibited in Essen was a big attention-grabber at the 1999 IAA.

The Audi TT Roadster* also arrived at dealerships in 1999. The TTS concept car it was based on had been shown previously by Audi in November 1995 at the Tokyo Motor Show – and the TT has been considered a design icon ever since. Audi built 90,733 units of the convertible variant during seven years of production from 1999 to 2005. A 1999 TT Roadster can be viewed at the show in Essen.

Three NSU motorcycles that were highly successful in racing can likewise be seen there: the NSU 500 SSR, NSU Rennfox and NSU Sportmax.

English racer Tom Bullus won the 1930 Motorcycle Grand Prix of Germany with the NSU 500 SSR. The “Bullus,” as insiders subsequently called the NSU 500 SSR racing motorcycle, could also be purchased at the time as a racing and road sport machine.

About 250 units of the NSU Rennfox were built in 1950 and 1951. Of the first 30 motorcycles produced, 20 went to the ADAC as a gift in support of talented young racing drivers.

The NSU Sportmax on display, built in 1955, was ridden by the legendary German racer H. P. Müller. He was the first private racer in the world to win a world championship title in the 250 cc class on the Sportmax. Eight German championships were won with the NSU Sportmax between 1956 and 1963.

A faithful replica of the NSU “Renndienst” racing service bus from Volkswagen joins the ensemble of motorcycles from NSU’s racing history.

The heritage department at AUDI AG is presenting its treasures across roughly 700 square meters (7534.7 sq ft) in Hall 7. Fans and collectors of miniatures can also purchase this year’s model from Audi Tradition here: an orange Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO, limited to 333 copies, in 1:43 scale. Members of the Audi Club International (ACI) will display additional classic cars from the company’s history in Hall 7.1.

Organizers for the show expect 190,000 delighted fans of classic cars.

Fuel consumption of the models named above:

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

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.