Audi is facing a big challenge at round four of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Brazil on September 1. Having claimed four victories to date – including the Le Mans 24 Hours – the Audi R18 e-tron quattro has remained unbeaten in the 2013 season. The squad of Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich and Chris Reinke, Head of LMP, is aiming to continue these results on the demanding race track of São Paulo.
The tradition-steeped 4.309-kilometre circuit in the south of Brazil’s biggest city poses a challenge to any race driver. Major uphill and downhill gradients, a tarmac surface with little grip, varying inclinations of the track and a demanding combination of slow and a few fast turns require plenty of talent. In addition, the drivers and mechanics have to get used to the direction of travel as the circuit is driven counter-clockwise. Especially the neck muscles of the drivers are subjected to a different strain than usual. And the team does not refuel the race cars from the garage in the pit lane but from the opposite side.
Whereas the conditions for the two Audi driver squads are equally challenging, their starting bases are highly different. Loïc Duval (F), Tom Kristensen (DK) and Allan McNish (GB), following their Le Mans victory – Audi’s twelfth one in total – are traveling to South America with a 30-point advantage. Their team-mates – the reigning World Endurance Champions Marcel Fässler (CH), André Lotterer (D) and Benoît Tréluyer (F) – are the runners-up in the standings, trailed by the drivers’ team of challenger and last year’s winner Toyota, with just one point less to its tally. The battle for race wins between the two manufacturers reflects a score of 6-3 for Audi.
São Paulo is the fourth of eight races of the season. A maximum of 130 points are yet to be awarded until the finale. Audi has thoroughly prepared for the second half of the season. The Audi R18 e-tron quattro won the Sebring 12 Hours and subsequently the WEC rounds at Silverstone, Spa and Le Mans. At São Paulo, due to the track characteristics, Audi Sport Team Joest is returning to the shorter body version with high downforce after the R18 e-tron quattro had previously triumphed as a long-tail version at Le Mans.
Lucas di Grassi (the Brazilian also famous for his work in championing FIA Formula E), who a year ago celebrated his debut with Audi Sport at Interlagos and mounted the podium in third place on his debut at Le Mans, is supporting Audi in his home country of Brazil. As planned right from the beginning of the season, the race driver, who hails from São Paulo, is not part of the group of registered drivers at the overseas races but will be communicating his impressions of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro to media, VIP guests and spectators on location.
To the fans who will not be visiting the race Audi offers live streaming at www.audi-motorsport.com. A live ticker is available as well via the Audi Sport App and on Twitter. In addition, further background information from Brazil will be provided on Facebook.