The Audi R8 LMS ultra shaped the 2014 GT season like hardly any other race car. More than a dozen different sports cars by renowned automobile manufacturers are pitted against each other in various worldwide GT3 racing series – and the production-based race car from Audi again set the benchmark.
In three series, Audi achieved overall victory in the drivers’ classification. In the ADAC GT Masters – arguably one of the world’s toughest national GT3 racing series – René Rast/Kelvin van der Linde (D/ZA) prevailed. Laurens Vanthoor won the Blancpain Endurance Series as the major international endurance racing series and the 23-year-old Belgian also decided the overall classification in the Blancpain GT Series in his favor.
In the major endurance races, the Audi R8 LMS triumphed as well. For the second time, victory in the Nürburgring 24 Hours went to Audi. As in 2012, Phoenix Racing prevailed, this time with Christopher Haase/Christian Mamerow/René Rast/Markus Winkelhock (D/D/D/D). In the 24-hour race at Spa (B), Audi achieved an amazing third victory in four years. The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT won its home round with the Audi R8 LMS with René Rast/Laurens Vanthoor/Markus Winkelhock (D/B/D). Both races practically had the character of sprints that did not forgive the slightest mistake or weakness. In the case of Spa, the advantage merely amounted to 7.077 seconds. In the 10-hour ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta in the USA, Matt Bell/Christopher Haase/Bryce Miller (GB/D/USA) won the GT Daytona class in the R8 LMS of Paul Miller Racing.
In a dozen other classifications of international racing series, the Audi teams and their drivers prevailed as well. The Audi R8 LMS Cup in Asia that was held in its third year was won by Alex Yoong from Malaysia for the first time.
In addition to the championship titles, many Audi teams recorded further remarkable results. For instance, Mike Skeen (USA) with CRP Racing just barely missed the Pirelli World Challenge title in the finale in the United States. Christopher Haase/Bryce Miller (D/USA) achieved the runner-up’s spot in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship with Paul Miller Racing. In France, Team Sébastien Loeb Racing with Henry Hassid/Mike Parisy (F/F) took second place. In Italy, Marco Mapelli/Thomas Schöffler (I/D) are in second place of the standings subject to a decision by the appeal court.
In any of these events, the race drivers were able to rely on the powerful performance and reliability of the Audi R8 LMS with more than 50 percent of its components being production-based. Worldwide, since 2009, more than 120 Audi R8 LMS cars, which quattro GmbH delivers, builds and markets, have been delivered. This year, the spectrum of race drivers taking the wheel of the R8 was larger than ever before: from the classic gentleman driver to junior drivers such as Kelvin van der Linde, who was only 17 years old at the beginning of the season, experienced professional race drivers including the Le Mans winning trio Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F) to extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner (A) more than 260 drivers around the world were at the wheel of an R8 LMS in the 2014 season. Felix Baumgartner, as a new driver with a different sporting background, used the unique opportunity of being trained as a race driver offered by the Audi race experience. Together with his team-mates Frank Biela/Pierre Kaffer/Marco Werner (D/D/D) he immediately achieved ninth place in the field of 165 participants in the Nürburgring 24 Hours.
Overall victories in 2014
ADAC GT Masters: Kelvin van der Linde/René Rast (ZA/D)
Blancpain Endurance Series: Laurens Vanthoor (B)
Blancpain GT Series: Laurens Vanthoor (B)
Nürburgring 24 Hours: Christopher Haase/Christian Mamerow/René Rast/Markus Winkelhock (D/D/D/D)
Spa 24 Hours: René Rast/Laurens Vanthoor/Markus Winkelhock (D/B/D)
‘Petit Le Mans’ (GTD classification): Matt Bell/Christopher Haase/
Bryce Miller (GB/D/USA)
ADAC GT Masters (Team classification): Prosperia C. Abt Racing
Australia (GT Trophy): Rod Salmon (AUS)
Blancpain Endurance Series (Team classification): Belgian Audi Club Team WRT
Blancpain GT Series (Team classification): Belgian Audi Club Team WRT
Blancpain Sprint Series (Team classification): Belgian Audi Club Team WRT
Pro-Am Cup: Marc Basseng/Alessandro Latif (D/GB)
Pro-Am Cup team classification: Phoenix Racing
Silver Cup: Vincent Abril/Mateusz Lisowski (F/PL)
Silver Cup team classification: Belgian Audi Club Team WRT
GT Asia (GTM): Jacky Yeung (HK)
Italy (team classification): Audi Sport Italia
V de V Endurance Championship (GTV2): Franck Thybaud (F)