Audi R8 LMS GT2 unbeaten worldwide in 2022 season
GT3 titles in Germany, Europe and New Zealand
European successes in TCR and GT4 categories
The third weekend in October was extremely successful for Audi customer teams all over the world. Drivers won championships and class rankings around the world with the four Audi RS 3 LMS, R8 LMS GT4, GT2 and GT3 models.
Audi R8 LMS GT2
Sixth victory of the season and title win: PK Carsport prevailed in a turbulent GT2 European Series finale to celebrate the second title with the Audi R8 LMS GT2 in just one week. Nicolas Saelens briefly led the first race in Le Castellet for the Belgian team at the start before Henry Hassid took the lead in LP Racing’s Audi.
Hassid’s lead was only briefly maintained as Peter Guelinckx stormed from the third row of the grid to the front in another PK Carsport Audi, but then spun. Saelens also had to serve a five-second penalty for a false start during the pit stop when he handed over to team-mate Stienes Longin.
As a result, Stienes came back on track four tenths of a second behind father Bert Longin, who had taken over the sister car from Guelinckx. When Stienes Longin had passed his father, he managed to take his fifth win of the season by 4.2 seconds after 50 minutes of racing, ahead of a Brabham and a KTM.
In the second race, Nicolas Saelens/Stienes Longin stayed out of the contacts and accidents in the final phase, to which, among others, title rival KTM fell victim. Thus, the two Belgians also managed to win the Pro-Am title with their sixth victory of the season. Audi thus remains unbeaten in the European series, which has been running since 2021.
The success in the GT2 European Series marks the end of a unique season for the Audi R8 LMS GT2. After the fifth of six rounds, Henry Hassid from Team LP Racing had already been determined as the winner of the European Am classification. Father Henry climbed the podium for the first time at the last race in third place together with his son Maxime Hassid.
PK Carsport had already won the Belcar Endurance Championship in the Audi R8 LMS GT2 in its Belgian homeland a week ago. On the same day, CJ Moses won the GT2 classification in GT America. This means that the Audi R8 LMS GT2 has not only dominated all the championships in which it has competed during the 2022 season.
With the PK Carsport class victory at the Dubai 24 Hours in January and the overall victory at the Zolder 24 Hours in August, the 470 kW (640 hp) sports car has also shown its qualities in endurance races.
|Audi R8 LMS GT3
Title success in New Zealand: Sam Fillmore and Jonny Reid secured the title in the 3-hour race classification at the finale of the South Island Endurance Series. After two previous victories, a second place was enough for the driver duo from Team International Motorsport (IMS) to secure the championship in the Audi R8 LMS at the finale on the Timaru circuit.
A race stoppage following the accident of another competitor ten minutes before the regular end allowed McLaren to take a narrow first win of the season, which Audi driver Reid had tried to attack in the closing stages. Audi customer team IMS has already claimed the championship on New Zealand’s South Island in 2018 and 2019.
This year, the team from Auckland has already claimed another championship trophy: In April, Neil Foster/Jonny Reid in the R8 LMS were the winners of the New Zealand Endurance Championship, the annual comparison competition between the North and South Island.
Champion for the third time in a row: Uwe Alzen also won both races at the finale of the Spezial Tourenwagen Trophy (STT) at the Nürburgring. The former professional driver thus remained unbeaten in 13 of 14 sprints in the sports and touring car series this year.
Only a puncture prevented a 100 per cent success rate on the fourth race weekend in July at the Nürburgring. The veteran from Betzdorf is the winner of the Spezial Tourenwagen Trophy for the third time in a row. For Audi, it is a special success: The STT, like the GTC Race, is part of the German club racing platform ADAC Racing Weekend.
In the GTC Race, customer teams of the brand with the Audi R8 LMS had won the overall classification, the SemiPro category and the amateur class in the sprint discipline a fortnight ago. The GT3 sports car with the four rings, popular with professionals and amateurs alike, has thus once again proven its versatility.
Class success at European level: In the GT Open racing series, whose calendar covered seven European countries, the Olimp Racing team won the Pro-Am classification. The two Polish racers Karol Basz and Marcin Jedlinski dominated their class three times in the past season and scored points a total of eight times.
This gave the driver duo in the Audi R8 LMS a ten-point lead over the Mercedes-AMG of Reema Juffali/Adam Christodoulou in the final standings. 34 drivers scored points in the popular Pro-Am classification of the European GT racing series this year.
Victory in South Africa: Charl Arangies celebrated another success in the South African G&H Transport Extreme Supercars race series with the Audi R8 LMS. The privateer driver won the first sprint on the seventh race weekend on the Zwartkops circuit by 14 seconds.
Podium result in China: At the third round of the China Endurance Championship, the FAW Audi Racing Team managed to make it onto the podium. Cheng Congfu and Chris Chia finished third in Ningbo after two and a half hours of racing. Chris Chia thus further extended his lead in the Audi Sport Asia Trophy for private drivers.
Audi R8 LMS GT4
First GT4 title in Great Britain: Team Steller Motorsport has won the championship title in the fiercely-contested GT4 class of the British GT Championship for Audi Sport customer racing for the first time. At the finale – a two-hour race at Donington – the Audi R8 LMS GT4 of Richard Williams and Sennan Fielding was not on championship course for a long time.
The reason: although Williams came in second for the driver change, the regulations now stipulated an extended standing time at the pit stop for second place at the previous race. As a result, the Audi R8 LMS GT4 only returned to the track in fifth place.
It was not until the 26-year-old rookie Fielding beat two rivals in the final 17 of 71 laps to finish second in his category that the two Britons were assured of the championship title.
31 drivers have scored points in the British championship this year in the GT4 classification. Steller Motorsport took two wins during the season, scored points in eight of the nine races and thus also won the GT4 team classification in the end, ahead of eleven competitors.
More class titles in France: Saintéloc Racing with Erwan Bastard/Roee Meyuhas had already won the drivers classification in the Silver Cup in GT4 France. At the finale in Le Castellet, three more titles went to Audi teams: Team Full Motorsport, with Michael Blanchemain/Christophe Hamon, also won the Am category with an Audi R8 LMS GT4.
After winning the class in the first of two races at the finale, second place in the final competition was enough for the Frenchmen to claim first place in the standings among teams and drivers. Five times, the long-time Audi privateers Blanchemain/Hamon have celebrated class victories in the 2022 season.
For Hamon, it is already the second amateur title in a row with the same team and the third in just two years, as together with Blanchemain he was also European Amateur Champion last year. The Silver Team classification went to Saintéloc Racing by the narrowest of margins at the finale.
The Audi customer team finished the season level on points with the Akkodis ASP Team, but with four victories has one more win this season than its pursuers. This means that Audi customer teams have each won two of the three driver and team classifications in the fiercely contested French championship this year. The series does not award overall titles for drivers or teams.
Class successes in South Africa: Kwanda Mokoena remained unbeaten in his class at the seventh round of the G&H Transport Extreme Supercars. The South African won his category in both races in Zwartkops in the Audi R8 LMS GT4.
Third place after making up ground: At the third round of the China Endurance Championship, the private team Z.SPEED achieved a podium result in the GT4 classification. Jiang Nan, Li Wengji and Yang Haojie had started from the back of the field in the Audi R8 LMS GT4. After two and a half hours of racing at Ningbo, they clinched third place in the GT4 standings.
Audi RS 3 LMS (TCR)
Second European title for Comtoyou Racing: Jean-Michel Baert’s team has won the TCR Europe with the Audi RS 3 LMS for the second time after 2020. After the finale in Barcelona, the squad from Waterloo south of Brussels was the winner of all four TCR Europe categories. Franco Girolami had already secured the necessary points in qualifying to make his large lead in the drivers standings unassailable.
In the first race at Barcelona, Tom Coronel secured second place ahead of his teammates Girolami and Audi Sport driver Frédéric Vervisch. This meant that Comtoyou Racing was also assured of the team classification before the final race. In the second sprint Franco Girolami managed his fourth victory of the season from seventh place on the grid.
The Argentinean has thus been on the podium nine times this year. Behind him, Tom Coronel and Frédéric Vervisch completed a Comtoyou Audi trio on the podium on Sunday. Tom Coronel was particularly pleased: The Dutchman improved from ninth on the grid to second position. He had come to the finale in fourth place and with this success still finished the season as runner-up behind teammate Girolami. Completing the title tally for Comtoyou Racing are two other drivers from the team.
Italian Marco Butti won the Rookie classification, scoring eight class victories, while Viktor Davidovski from Northern Macedonia was in front in eight races in the Diamond classification and decided this class in his favor. Audi Sport customer racing has won the two most important European TCR competitions for the first time as Audi privateer Bartosz Groszek finished already as the best driver in TCR Eastern Europe in September.
Endurance podiums in Italy: The Coppa Italia has added an endurance competition to its sprint format. At the season opener at Mugello, RC Motorsport was delighted with two podium finishes with the Audi RS 3 LMS. Carlotta Fedeli and her husband Federico Paolino steered their Audi with a DSG gearbox to the finish line in second place after 55 minutes, exactly 3.9 seconds behind the winner. Their teammate Sandro Pelatti completed the podium in third place with another Audi with dual-clutch transmission.
Class trophies: At the third round of the China Endurance Championship, an Audi customer team managed a podium result in the TCE class with the RS 3 LMS. The 326 Racing Team secured third place on the Ningbo circuit with the driver trio Bai Yaxin/Yang Shuo/Wu Yifan after 75 race laps.
Good harbingers for 2023: The Championnat de France FFSA Tourisme opened its grid for TCR models for the first time at the finale at Le Castellet in preparation for the upcoming season. In the class called TCX, Team Clairet Sport with Loīc Dupont in the Audi RS 3 LMS scored one second and two third places in the course of three sprints.
Two trophies in Belgium: Paul Meijer and Tim Schulte achieved two podium results in the Supercar Challenge in the Audi RS 3 LMS. The Dutchmen from the Certainty Racing team were second in the first race and third in their class in the second race at the seventh event at Spa.
Coming up next week
20–23/10 Mugello (I), round 4, Campionato Italiano GT Sprint