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– Audi reaches for lead of WEC manufacturers’ standings
– Adjusted rating of the hybrid sports cars
– Eager anticipation of unusual roller-coaster ride in Texas

Following its 13th victory at Le Mans, Audi is aiming to also grab the lead of the standings in the next round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in North America. Before the fourth race of the season at Austin, Texas, on Saturday, September 20, World Champions Audi are trailing challenger Toyota by exactly one point in the manufacturers’ championship. In America, Audi is again meeting with its two fiercest rivals each having led laps at Le Mans in June.

15 weeks after the Le Mans 24 Hours, the round in America marks the beginning of the overseas season in the WEC. Several factors make for special suspense. At Le Mans, all three manufacturers of LMP1-H race cars took turns leading the race for several hours. In addition, the FIA and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) fine-tuned the rating of all hybrid race cars once more. The actual effects will only be visible in a race situation. However, Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich and Chris Reinke, Head of LMP, are not expecting any significant shifts in the relative strengths.

At Austin, Audi is returning to the short-tail body version with high downforce that had been used at the beginning of the season but not on the high-speed track at Le Mans. The sweeping corners of the roller-coaster track in the south of Texas featuring 20 directional changes were the scene of a thrilling exchange a year ago. After a distance of 1,031 kilometres and six hours of driving time, the victorious Audi was separated by only 23.6 seconds from its closest rival. A year ago, Tom Kristensen won together with Loïc Duval and their former team-mate Allan McNish. Lucas di Grassi, a new member of the team since this season in car number 1, is the only Audi driver who has previously not been on the grid at Austin.

The Le Mans winners Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer are sharing the cockpit in the number 2 sister car. In the drivers’ classification, they are trailing the Toyota leaders of the standings by 20 points. The best drivers can score 26 points per weekend in qualifying and the race, with a total of 130 points yet to be awarded until the season finale.

For Audi, the overseas season in America and Asia scheduled from September to November marks the beginning of a journey to several of the company’s most important sales regions around the world. The United States of America is an important growth market for the products with the four rings. From January to August, the company increased its deliveries compared to the same period in the prior year by 14.5 percent to 116,066 units, marking significantly faster growth than the total market.

TV viewers in Germany can watch the entire WEC race at Austin on Eurosport. On the internet, Audi will be providing reports about all practice and qualifying sessions and the race on Facebook (AudiSport), Twitter (@Audi_Sport), a news ticker on http://www.audi-motorsport.info, and on the Audi Sport App.

Topics of the weekend
– How will the balance of performance pan out in the WEC following Le Mans?
– Will the joint weekend of the FIA WEC and the United SportsCar Championship see a particularly large turnout of fans?
– Will Audi manage to leave Austin as the leader of the manufacturers’ standings?
– Which of the two Audi driver teams will make the stronger showing in Texas?

Quotes by the officials

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “A year ago, the WEC raced at Austin for the first time. We all have fond memories and are already looking forward to the track. This year, the WEC and the United SportsCar Championship are holding their races on the same day so the spectators can expect a great sports car weekend. Following Le Mans, we’re totally motivated to clinch a top-class result, as the results in the first two WEC races of the season did not match our expectations. But we also know how tough the competition is this year.”

Chris Reinke (Head of LMP): “The entire squad thoroughly prepared for the remainder of the season because we’re aiming to defend our WEC titles. At Austin, Loïc Duval will be back on board after having successfully completed his medical checks, receiving his license again and doing a test for us at the beginning of September. In terms of technology, we’re returning to the body version with high downforce and have optimised the operation of our hybrid system for Austin. We’re set on battling for victory in Texas.”

Ralf Jüttner (Team Director Audi Sport Team Joest): “The track at Austin should suit us well and the whole squad is looking forward to it because we experienced a great event a year ago. In the balance of performance there have been a few minimal shifts. We’re going to have a little less diesel energy available to us per lap but the flow rate, which has an influence on engine power output, is a little higher now. At the same time, Toyota and Porsche received refuelling flow limiters that have minimally increased in size. This will provide them with a slight advantage during pit stops. I’m expecting a very thrilling race in which we’re aiming to battle for victory.”

Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers

Lucas di Grassi (30/BR), Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
– Is driving a race at Austin for the first time
– Together with Tom Kristensen is in third place of the standings

“In the second half of the season, we’re set on attacking. We led the race at Le Mans some of the time. And we finished as the runners-up, just like we previously had at Spa. There are five more races coming up and we’re separated from our team-mates by only six points. Anything is still possible this year. I’m eager to see what it will be like to drive the Audi R18 e-tron quattro on the Circuit of the Americas. All of my team-mates are raving about it.”

Loïc Duval (32/F), Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
– Won at Austin last year together with his two team-mates

“When we drove at Austin for the first time last year, we immediately won. This victory was an important milestone on the way to winning the World Championship. The track is wonderful. Many of the 20 corners are very challenging. In addition, the vertical differences make the track very special, plus we all enjoyed the city of Austin with its musical scene and flair.”

Tom Kristensen (47/DK), Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
– Celebrated victory at Austin a year ago

“We’re returning to Austin with great memories. A year ago, we drove for the first time on this new, absolutely fascinating track. In a sporting sense the race was a nice success as well, because we won and thus laid the foundation for our title win. With our good performance at Le Mans, we’re now set on battling for victory. We’re very happy that Loïc Duval is fit again.”

Marcel Fässler (38/CH), Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
– Is the only Swiss to date to have won the Le Mans 24 Hours
– Has had a particular liking for American race tracks for a long time

“I enjoy driving in America very much and can hardly wait to return to this great race track at Austin. After Le Mans, the gap to the front runners has clearly shrunk. Now we’re aiming to make up further points to keep the Championship thrilling.”

André Lotterer (32/D), Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
– In 2012 was WEC Champion with Marcel Fässler and Benoît Tréluyer
– Is currently in second place of the standings together with his team-mates

“The victory at Le Mans was fantastic. Now we’re back in contention for the Championship. I’m confident that our Audi will be capable of winning at Austin. After a long break, we’re traveling to Texas highly motivated. The track is great, and so is the entire environment.”

Benoît Tréluyer (37/F), Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
– In June, won the Le Mans 24 Hours with Audi for the third time
– In July, was on the grid of the Spa 24 Hours with his two team-mates

“I’m very much looking forward to Austin because both the city and the race track exude a special atmosphere. Unfortunately, we were only third in the race last year due to an incident but our lap times were good. This year, following our victory at Le Mans, we’re going to battle for the title.”

The Audi drivers at Austin

Lucas di Grassi (BR): * Aug 11, 1984 in São Paulo (BR), residence: Monaco (MC); married to Anna; height: 1.79 m; weight: 75 kg; Audi driver since 2012; Le Mans victories: 0; WEC races: 6; WEC victories: 0; WEC pole positions: 0; fastest WEC laps: 1; best result WEC Austin: –

Loïc Duval (F): * Jun 12, 1982 in Chartres (F); residence: Geneva (CH); married to Gaëlle, two sons (Hugo and Martin); height: 1.78 m; weight: 70 kg; Audi driver since 2012; Le Mans victories: 1; WEC races: 13; WEC victories: 4; WEC pole positions: 2; fastest WEC laps: 1; best result WEC Austin: 1

Marcel Fässler (CH): * May 27, 1976 in Einsiedeln (CH); residence: Gross (CH); married to Isabel, four daughters (Shana, Elin, Yael and Delia); height: 1.78 m; weight: 78 kg; Audi driver since 2008; Le Mans victories: 3; WEC races: 19; WEC victories: 7; WEC pole positions: 2; fastest WEC laps: 1; best result WEC Austin: 3

Tom Kristensen (DK): * Jul 07, 1967 in Hobro (DK); residence: Hobro (DK); single (partner: Hanne), two sons (Oliver and Oswald) and one daughter (Carla Marlou); height: 1.74 m; weight: 72 kg; Audi driver since 2000, Le Mans victories: 9; WEC races: 19; WEC victories: 4; WEC pole positions: 0; fastest WEC laps: 2; best result WEC Austin: 1

André Lotterer (D): * Nov 19, 1981 in Duisburg (D); residence: Tokyo (J); single; height: 1.84 m; weight: 74 kg; Audi driver since 2010; Le Mans victories: 3; WEC races: 19; WEC victories: 7; WEC pole positions: 4; fastest WEC laps: 6; best result WEC Austin: 3

Benoît Tréluyer (F): * Dec 07, 1976 in Alençon (F); residence: Gordes (F); married to Melanie, one son (Jules); height: 1.78 m; weight: 68 kg; Audi driver since 2010; Le Mans victories: 3; WEC races: 19; WEC victories: 7; WEC pole positions: 3; fastest WEC laps: 2; best result WEC Austin: 3

All Austin winners (since 2013)

2013 Loïc Duval/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish (Audi)

Track info

Track length: 5.513 km
Race duration: 6 hours
Qualifying record on this track: Loïc Duval/Allan McNish (Audi), 1m 48.355s (183.164 km/h), Sep 21, 2013
Race record on this track: Benoît Tréluyer (Audi), 1m 47.375s (184.836 km/h), Sep 22, 2013
Pole position 2013: Loïc Duval/Allan McNish (Audi), 1m 48.355s (183.164 km/h), Sep 21, 2013
Fastest lap 2013: Benoît Tréluyer (Audi), 1m 47.375s (184.836 km/h), Sep 22, 2013

FIA WEC World Championship titles
2012 Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (Audi)
2013 Loïc Duval/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish (Audi)

Benoît Tréluyer about the track at Austin

“A year ago, we raced at Austin for the first time. We immediately liked the circuit in Texas a lot. The clearly noticeable vertical differences are unusual for a new track. We approach the first corner on a steep uphill section, can barely sense the apex, have to shift down into first gear, and then find ourselves in a very wide left-hand turn. It is followed by a sequence of really fast and a few slower corners before we drive through a hairpin. Following a long straight, we reach a narrow section that is typical for many new circuits. After a final fast and two slow sections we’re back at the start and finish. The great atmosphere in Texas matches this beautiful and modern race track. We really enjoy competing in the USA with the WEC.”

Schedule (local times; CEST – 7 hours)

Thursday, September 18
14.45–16.15 Free practice 1
19.30–21.00 Free practice 2

Friday, September 19
10.20–11.20 Free practice 3
18.35–19.00 Qualifying LMP1 and LMP2

Saturday, September 20
17.00–23.00 6-hour race

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