Audi is pursuing ambitious aims at round 2 of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) on May 4 at Spa. The version of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro that was victorious at the season opener is to extend Championship leader Audi’s points advantage. At the same time, a new long-tail variant of the hybrid sports car will be tested in Belgium. Audi Sport Team Joest thus wants to optimally prepare for the Le Mans 24 Hours, the pinnacle of the season for the sports prototypes held on June 22 and 23.
Comparison in racing conditions: Two versions of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro that, also visually, can be clearly distinguished from each other will be running at Spa. The winners of the opening round, Loïc Duval/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish (F/DK/GB), and the current World Endurance Champions Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F), will be starting with the aerodynamic variant that was victorious at Silverstone. It generates optimal downforce for track types such as the 7.004-kilometer circuit at Spa.
The third Audi R18 e-tron quattro, driven by Marc Gené/Lucas di Grassi/Oliver Jarvis (E/BR/GB), on the other hand uses an aero package that has been optimized for the high-speed Le Mans track and can be recognized by its lengthened rear section. The comparison, however, is not focused on absolute lap times. Instead, the team will analyze the time differences to be expected between both models on individual track sectors. In addition, practical aspects of using the second body version will be reviewed and data generated for the fielding in the race at Le Mans.
The focal point of the spectators’ interest will yet again be the thrilling battle between World Champion Audi and challenger Toyota. In the seven meetings that have taken place since last June, the score is at 4-3 for the sports cars from Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm in the competition with Japan. The Spa 6 Hours will be held on Saturday of the first weekend in May. The full racing distance can be watched on audiliveracing.com on the internet.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport: “As always, Audi will be using the race at Spa as a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the Le Mans 24 Hours in June. Spa is a race track with a character that’s completely different from Silverstone. We thoroughly reviewed the first race of the season and accomplished our tasks in order to be well prepared for the second round of the WEC. Fielding the Le Mans aero variant on the third vehicle that hasn’t been optimized for the lap times at Spa is an important element of the preparation for the 24-hour race.”