Strong season for Audi Sport customer racing: Drivers and teams have clinched 24 titles and celebrated endurance racing victories with the Audi R8 LMS in the 2016 season. As a result, in a fierce competitive environment with up to eleven marques, Audi fared brilliantly again in the eighth season of its customer racing program.
Audi has ended the 2016 season with two big trophies. In the Sepang 12 Hours in Malaysia, Audi celebrated overall victory with Laurens Vanthoor, Christopher Haase and Robin Frijns from Audi Sport Team Phoenix. Vanthoor additionally secured the drivers’ title in the inaugural Intercontinental GT Challenge, Audi won the manufacturers title. The race on the Grand Prix circuit was marked by heavy rain showers. The Audi R8 LMS cars did the best job of coping with the difficult conditions and halfway through the race captured positions one and two. After 305 laps, the #15 Audi R8 LMS, which had started from the pit lane, was the first car to see the checkered flag, with a one-lap advantage. Pierre Kaffer, René Rast and Markus Winkelhock in the #16 sister car completed the podium in third place. Audi customer team B-Quik Racing that took class victory with drivers Daniel Bilski, Henk Kiks and Peter Kox had reason to celebrate as well.
Other outstanding successes this season include victory in the FIA GT World Cup which Audi achieved for the first time. The prestigious sprint race in Macau was won by the Belgian Laurens Vanthoor with Belgian Audi Club Team WRT in November. Vincent Vosse’s Belgian squad clinched another important international trophy, with Enzo Ide from Belgium having won the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup. On a national level, ten Audi drivers won as well. Connor De Phillippi/Christopher Mies in the ADAC GT Masters, Fabian Plentz and Tommy Tulpe in the DMV-GTC competitions, Phil Hanson/Nigel Moore in the United Kingdom, Neil Foster/Johnny Reid in New Zealand and Steven McLaughlan in Australia. In addition, the tally includes 14 other class trophies, for instance in team classifications or GT categories of major sports car series like the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in North America.
“The variety of the successes is remarkable,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “Pros as well as amateurs perfectly managed to handle the new Audi R8 LMS in its first full season in the hands of customers. The geographic distribution with titles clinched in Australia, Asia, Europe and North America says a lot as well. The teams highly appreciate our established support network and our race car is optimally suited for diverse tracks and racing distances.”
In addition to the trophies, Audi Sport customer racing is proud of two milestones. In July, Stephan Winkelmann, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH, handed over the 200th GT3 race car built by Audi since 2009 to Team Montaplast by Land-Motorsport. In October, the brand presented the Audi RS 3 LMS for the TCR category, the first customer deliveries being planned before the year is out. With that, customer racing at Audi will be on an even broader base than before, starting in the 2017 season.