Audi is returning with four R8 LMS ultra cars to the 7.004-kilometer 2012 24 Hours of Spa roller-coaster in the Ardennes as last year’s winner. A year ago, Audi Sport Team WRT celebrated victory at its home round. The team thus laid an important foundation for subsequently winning the Blancpain Endurance Series (BES).
This year, the team of Vincent Vosse is battling to defend the title – at the Spa 24 Hours as well as in the BES. Stephane Ortelli (MC), Christopher Haase (D) and Christopher Mies (D) are currently the runners-up ahead of their WRT team-mates Laurens Vanthoor (B) and Edward Sandstrom (S), who will be competing at Spa together with Marco Bonanomi (I). As almost twice as many points as at the other rounds are achievable at the 24-hour race a success at Spa has particularly high value.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport
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Audi’s factory line-up is completed by two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars of Audi Sport Team Phoenix. Ernst Moser’s squad won the classic in the Ardennes with a GT1 car in 2007. Two months ago, the Eifel-based team celebrated overall victory with the R8 LMS ultra at the Nurburgring 24 Hours. Frank Stippler (D), one of the victorious Nurburg racers is sharing a cockpit with Andrea Piccini (I) and Rene Rast (D).
The international spotlight is focused on their team-mates. They combine twelve Le Mans victories among themselves and despite their long-standing experiences are in for a few premieres again. For the first time, Marcel Fassler (CH) and Andre Lotterer (D), who celebrated their second consecutive Le Mans victory this year, are forming a team with Tom Kristensen (DK). In addition, the Dane and the German are driving an R8 LMS ultra in a race for the first time. For Le Mans legend Kristensen, after eight victories at La Sarthe, this marks the first 24-hour car race outside of France.
Ernst Moser, Audi Sport Team Phoenix
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Aside from overall victory, Audi Sport Team Phoenix is aiming for a trophy that can additionally be won for the first time. The team that achieves the best aggregated results at the Nurburgring and Spa 24-hour races will receive this new trophy.
No matter who is expecting to have the best chances the conditions this year will be tougher than ever. With more than 50 cars in the field, the Spa 24 Hours was the most important GT3 race worldwide last year. This year, 80 entrants with twelve different marques have been nominated for the popular and production-derived category. Arguably, no other class in any motorsport discipline has such a well-filled field. The entrants banking on the Audi R8, in addition to Phoenix and WRT, include five customer teams.
The schedule at Spa-Francorchamps
Thursday, July 26
09:45-11:15 Free practice
20:20-21:35 Qualifying 1
22:05-23:20 Qualifying 2
Friday, July 27
15:35-15:55 Super Pole
Saturday, July 28
Sunday, July 29