Blancpain Sprint Series: Phoenix Racing testing Audi R8 LMS ultra at Nogaro

By Johan Laubscher

Phoenix Racing has headed to France for more testing ahead of the Blancpain GT Series. The German Audi Sport customer racing team will be competing in both the Blancpain Endurance Series and the Blancpain Sprint Series, and the team is in Nogaro this week to continue preparations for the latter.

Nogaro will be the scene for the opening round of the BSS in April and Phoenix Racing will be testing at the French circuit on Monday and Tuesday this week.

The Phoenix Audi R8 LMS ultra will be joined at Nogaro by a Nissan GTR GT3 from Molitor-Racing-Systems.

The team’s Blancpain Sprint Series commitments includes a single car entry that will be driven by Niki Mayr-Melnhof and Markus Winkelhock. Nogaro will be hosting the opening BSS round from 4-6 April.

Photo credit: Circuit Paul Armagnac de Nogaro

Super GT: Audi R8 LMS ultra teams at the official Okayama test days


By Johan Laubscher

The Japanese Super GT hosted its first official set of test days at Okayama this weekend. A total of four sessions were spread over Saturday and Sunday, with a pair of sessions each day. Audi Sport customer racing was represented by two teams at Okayama.

Audi Team Hitotsuyama and its W Racing Team supported Audi R8 LMS ultra performed well during the first official test of the 2015 Super GT. The #21 Audi R8 LMS ultra was driven by Richard Lyons, Tomonobu Fujii and Stéphane Ortelli. The Japanese Audi Sport customer racing team also took part in the manufacturer test days at Suzuka last week.

The Audi Team Racing Tech Audi R8 LMS ultra, the third car for JLOC’s three-car 2015 squad, arrived at Okayama still wearing its Nova Engineering livery from the 2013 Super Taikyu Endurance Series. The livery was removed on Friday and the plain silver Audi R8 LMS ultra was pitted during the two days of testing by the trio of Shinya Hosokawa and Yoshitaka Kuroda, joined by German Audi driver, Christian Mamerow.

Saturday’s proceedings saw Hitotsuyama Racing performing well with two top ten results in the GT300 class, achieving fifth and fourth during the two sessions. Audi Team Racing Tech was seventh and sixteenth.

The final two sessions concluded the Okayama test days on Sunday. Hitotsuyama Racing again showed strong top ten pace with second in the morning and twenty-second during the afternoon, ahead of Audi Team Racing Tech in fifteenth and fourteenth.

Another set of official test days will be taking place at Fuji Speedway from 23-24 March, followed by the 2015 Super GT season getting underway at Okayama from 4-5 April.

Photo credit:
Hitotsuyama Racing
Stephane Ortelli

Credits: Audi MotorSport

Pirelli World Challenge: Impressive Pace and Progress, But No Luck, For Guy Cosmo at COTA


Guy Cosmo Press Release

Austin, Texas (9 March 2015) –Making his first-ever Pirelli World Challenge appearance at the Circuit of the Americas, Guy Cosmo had an up and down race weekend as he got the last-minute call to pilot the No. 23 Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery Audi R8 LMS ultra for M1 Racing.

The weekend saw Cosmo demonstrate some impressive pace as his first full day in the car generated the second fastest overall time in Friday’s official practice. But the weekend also featured some frustration for the former ALMS race winner.

Race 1 qualifying on Saturday was hampered by a misfire, keeping Cosmo from setting the kind of times he had shown the package to be capable of. But knowing that the car and driver indeed had the speed, Cosmo was optimistic ahead of Saturday’s first race.

Alas, that optimism was soon curtailed as the clutch—an all-important part of not only a standing start, but also the rest of the race, started to fade on the pace lap. Cosmo was forced to retire on just the second lap.

Sunday brought a new and daunting task for Race 2, as a significant downpour greeted the competitors. The radar was so severe that the series decided to move the start time ahead some 30 minutes.

But even with a rolling start, Cosmo suffered some tough racing luck. His race one DNF meant a starting position of 36th in the 49-car pack. Despite a great start and many positions gained on the first lap, he was caught up in accident resulting with left rear suspension damage. He limped his car to the pits and his day once again came to a premature stop.

“What a disappointing weekend. The M1 guys worked so hard but the hits just kept coming,” said Cosmo. “This was still a great learning experience for me and M1 Racing, though. To show the speed we had in a car I’d never run at this track against guys who had been preparing for this weekend all off-season long was really encouraging. The Audi R8 LMS ultra is a fantastic race car and the support from Audi Sport customer racing was impressive. They were right there to help us rebound from all of the setbacks we had.”

While Cosmo’s weekend featured some bent bumpers and spoiled clutches, he came out of the event with an even stronger focus on finding his way back on the incredible GT3 grid sometime soon.

“Many thanks to Walt Bowlin and Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery for bringing me on board this weekend,” said Cosmo. “I’ve wanted to race in Pirelli World Challenge for some time now and it was great to finally do so. I’m looking forward to my next opportunity to race in this series again and would love to become a permanent fixture here. I’m available and ready for action. Special thanks must go to Sombra Mezcal for joining us as a sponsor for the weekend. I was honored to represent their brand and to give them their first taste of the excitement and power of motorsports marketing.”

In addition to the support from Sombra Mezcal (www.sombramezcal.com) and Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery, Cosmo is also benefiting from new programs with Anthros, Inc. (www.anthrosinc.com) & Lake Austin Spa (www.lakeaustin.com) as well as support from Ironclad.com & moleculemotorsports.com.

Photo credit: Guy Cosmo

Pirelli World Challenge: Closely contested qualifying with top five for Mike Skeen and CRP Racing

 
By Johan Laubscher
The Pirelli World Challenge is at the Circuit of The Americas for its opening round this weekend. Saturday day saw a very closely contested qualifying session ahead of the first race.

Seven Audi R8 LMS ultra entries from four different teams have been entered for the weekend and strong pace was shown during testing and practice.

Mike Skeen led the Audi charge in qualifying with his #2 CRP Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra, securing fifth place. Madison Snow rounded out the Audis within the top ten by taking position nine on the grid in the #21 GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra.
Eleventh place was taken by Guy Cosmo in the #23 Audi R8 LMS ultra entered by M1 Racing, ahead of James Sofronas in twelfth in his #14 GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra. Jeff Courtney qualified twenty-second in the #99 JCR Motorsports Audi, Alex Welch in thirty-third with the #76 GMG Racing Audi and Drew Regitz in thirty-fifth with the #19 Stephan Cameron Racing Audi.

The qualifying results can be seen HERE.

The first race will be taking place on Saturday, we wish the best of luck to all of the Audi teams and drivers.

Update: Mike Skeen later lost his fifth place and was relegated to starting at the back of the grid after he was excluded from the results during the post-race check, revealing that the car was at the incorrect weight.
Photo credit: Circuit of The Americas

Blancpain Endurance Series: Team Parker Racing testing Audi R8 LMS ultra at Monza

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By Johan Laubscher

Team Parker Racing continued its preparations for the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series by testing at Monza during a Marzi Sport test day this week.

The British team debuted with Audi Sport customer racing during 2014 and claimed third position in the BES Gentleman Trophy teams’ classification. The driving duo of Ian Loggie and Julian Westwood also took third sport in the class’ drivers’ standings.

Loggie and Westwood will once again be seen behind the wheel of the Team Parker Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra in the BES Gentleman Trophy class this year.

The 2015 BES season gets underway at Monza from 11-12 April.

Photo credit: Monza Motorsport

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