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Christopher Bruce2012-04-30 18:49:30

6 Hours of Spa Sees Debuts for Audi and Aston Martin

The Vantage is competing in three rounds of the American Le Mans Series

Audi and Aston Martin are both planning major racing debuts at the 6 Hours of Spa on Saturday, May 5. Aston Martin is giving the Vantage GTEVantage GTEAston Martin Vantage GTEUnited Kingdom, 2012 > present4 photos
1 video
its European debut, and the Audi R18 E-tron QuattroR18 e-tron quattroAudi R18 e-tron quattroGermany, 2012 > present8 photos
2 videos
and R18 UltraR18 ultraAudi R18 ultraGermany, 2012 > present11 photos
2 videos
will get their world debuts at the historic Belgian track. 

The Vantage GTE has been racing in the US since the 12 Hours of Sebring where it was 34th overall and third in class. It also competed at the American Le Mans Series race at Long Beach on April 14 where it was 11th overall and fifth in class. It will also race at the American Le Mans Monterey race at Laguna Seca on May 12.

The race at Spa will be the European competition debut for the Vantage GTE and will be driven by Darren Turner, Stefan Mücke and Adrian Fernandez. 

“We’ll arrive at Spa full of confidence that we can deliver another competitive performance. We made real progress with the Vantage GTE during its first two races at Sebring and Long Beach, so we’ll target another WEC podium come race weekend. The whole team is looking forward to racing in Europe again, particularly at a circuit with so much heritage. The Vantage GTE hasn’t yet raced on a track such as Spa, what with its long straights and high-speed corners, so I’m sure we’ll learn a lot about the car throughout the weekend which will be beneficial for the rest of the season,” said John Gaw, Aston Martin Racing Team Principal.

Aston Martin has a historic link to Spa having won the 24 Hours of Spa in 1955 and 1957. 

Audi is giving four chassis their debut at the race with drivers Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer in the #1 Audi R18 E-tron Quattro, Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish in the #2 E-tron Quattro, Romain Dumas, Loïc Duval and Marc Gené in the #3 R18 Ultra and Marco Bonanomi, Oliver Jarvis and Mike Rockenfeller in the #4 R18 Ultra. 

The R18 E-tron Quattro marks a major move forward for Audi racing cars. It is its first hybrid, and the introduction of the R18 Ultra alongside the E-tron shows that Audi might not be totally sure that the concept is going to work. It is the first time Audi has ever debuted two new racing cars at once. 

"Like last year, Spa will be a ‘dress rehearsal’ for us for the Le Mans 24 Hours. We’d been planning to compete there with exactly the same teams as at Le Mans, in other words with all four vehicles and the squads assigned to them. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to completely follow our plan with respect to the drivers. Mike Rockenfeller is not available because he’ll be running in the DTM at the Lausitzring. And Timo Bernhard isn’t completely fit yet after his accident at Sebring. That’s why we’re giving reserve driver Marc Gené the chance to contest a race," Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.

Spa was meant to be the introduction for the Toyota TS030 hybridTS030 HYBRIDToyota TS030 HYBRIDJapan, 2012 > present5 photos
2 videos
, but the car suffered an irreparable crash during testing that meant the team would have to build an entirely new carbon fiber tub. Toyota Hybrid Racing says that it will not have a new car ready for testing until May 4.

“I would like to express my thanks to the staff members at TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH who have worked so hard to deliver our second monocoque ahead of schedule. Now we have a very intense testing program to prepare for Le Mans, beginning with an initial functionality test to shakedown our systems," said Team President Yoshiaki Kinoshita.

Now, the car's maiden competition will be the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 16 and 17. 

Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro: An All-Wheel Drive Diesel Hybrid for Le Mans
Toyota Not Racing at Spa after Testing Crash; Driver Ok

Aston MartinAston Martin
Vantage (modern)Vantage (modern)
Vantage (modern) Gen.1Vantage (modern) Gen.1
Vantage GTEVantage GTE
V 8 (90º vee)
273 cu in
Top Speed
178 mph
6, sequential manual
Maximum power
450 hp
Fixed-head coupé
Fuel consumption (combined)
annual ownership cost




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