In only the third month of the year, an Audi Sport customer racing team already celebrated the first GT racing title of the season for the brand with the four rings. Smeg Racing from Down Under clinched the national three-hour title of the New Zealand Endurance Racing Championship. The New Zealand-based team entered the winner-takes-all event with the best teams from the North and South Island Endurance Series and emerged victorious from the first major race with its new Audi R8 LMS. Behind the wheel of the shiny eye-catching Audi R8 LMS was the duo of Simon Evans and Gene Rollinson.
Dominance in Melbourne
South African Kelvin van der Linde proved to be on top form when the Australian GT Championship visited Melbourne with a four-race programme during the Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend. Behind the wheel of his Audi R8 LMS, van der Linde scored pole positon and won both of his races, leading home an Audi 1-2-3 in the first race and an Audi 1-2 in the third race. Daniel Gaunt finished runner-up both times and they were joined by Ash Walsh in third place in the first race. Van der Linde’s teammate Geoff Emery scored the sixth trophy of the weekend with third place in the fourth and final race.
On the other side of the world, the 65th Sebring 12 Hours took place in Florida. The intense competition of the GTD class saw two of the Audi R8 LMS entries entering the class top ten after twelve hours of gruelling racing in this classic endurance race. Runner-up at Daytona, Land-Motorsport, finished fourth in class, less than two seconds away from the final step on the podium after twelve hours of racing on the punishing race track. Stevenson Motorsports finished seventh in class, rounding out the brand with the four ring’s presence in the class top ten.
The VLN Endurance Championship opened with four Audi R8 LMS cars inside the top six, with Audi Sport Team Land leading home Audi Sport Team WRT and Phoenix Racing in positions three through six. In the VLN TCR class, LMS Engineering grabbed the runner-up result and Møller Bil Motorsport was on the podium in third.
The Audi sport customer racing teams enjoyed four podium results with Audi R8 LMS cars at the season opener of the Victorian State Circuit Racing Championships at Sandown. Mohammed Bin Saud Al Saud took pole position and the race victory in the fifth round of the Saudi GT Championship in Riyadh.