During the early days of the 2011 NAIAS (Detroit Auto Show) Audi turned to the interwebs and asked inquiring minds to submit questions to Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen via social network channels. We decided to submit three questions via Twitter and waited to see if we would get some answers. First we asked how close the Audi E-tron is to production. Then, we asked what would be the first model to feature their new MMI tech they showed off at CES. Lastly, we asked if Audi would be making a return to American motorsports and if so which series would they enter. Of the three questions the President answered the last two (not bad!). Check out the video below to hear his responses to our questions and many other questions from Audi enthusiasts.
I’m a race fan and I’m sure many of you reading this are race fans too, but sometimes I think we forget that to the manufacturers that compete in racing series are often in it to test cool new stuff to sell to us! We all thought it was cool that Falken Tire would be running their RSR Porsche at the Petit Le Mans race but its also pretty cool that they can show just how good their tires are. When the skies opened up and drenched the track during the race, Falken’s Porsche equipped with their Azenis RT wet tires was setting the fastest time in the GT2 class. I realize that sounds a little “advitorial” but hey I like progress.
BRASELTON, GA (Sept. 28, 2009)- On a day of highs and lows, Team Falken’s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR had both, as it returned to competition for Petit Le Mans on a rainy day at Road Atlanta.
“Our learning curve has proven to be a bit longer than we anticipated,” said Team Falken Manager Rod Everett.
Among the lows were the challenges placed on the team by the weather. Red flags ruled both practice and the race itself, reducing track time. Fortunately, the team had tested earlier at Road Atlanta, and had determined an optimum set up. To offset the lows of daytime practice, the Porsche performed well during the night session practice, recording faster times than three other GT2 teams. Final qualifying placed Team Falken in 11th with Driver Bryan Sellers behind the wheel.
“Fortunately, we were set with tires, both wet and dry,” added Everett, “and one of the highs of the weekend for Team Falken was setting the quickest time in the rain during the first hour. That told us our Falken Azenis RT race tires performed well on wet surfaces.”
Driver Dominic Cicero worked well with Sellers, as the two ran in the previous ALMS event in which Team Falken competed, and the Porsche advanced to 8th place during the opening laps in the rain. While maintaining their pace when the track dried, Sellers struck the #44 Porsche as he went for a pass and repairs took approximately 40 minutes.
“The accident obviously put us behind, but we were able to get the car back on the track pretty quickly,” Everett noted, “which really showed the strength of our teamwork and how adaptable the Porsche is. We regained positions and were in 11th place in our class when the race was first red flagged due to weather conditions, and ultimately called after 4 hours, 48 minutes of competition.”
“The GT2 class is now the most competitive in ALMS, and we wanted to be able to show the capabilities of Team Falken among these entrants,” said Mark Richter, Senior Manager of Dealer Marketing. “Despite the challenges, including the weather, we felt this was a good experience for Team Falken, and it better prepares us for the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.”
Team Falken intends to return to ALMS and the GT2 class and will compete throughout the 2010 season.
The final race in the 2009 American Le Mans Series is the four-hour Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. The green flag is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, October 10. The race will air on SPEED from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 11.
Some might have told you that the big ticket for the second day of the Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach was the Toyota Pro Celebrity Race (AKA Scion pinball) but the real action was the American LeMans race. Four different classes of race cars lined up on the streets of Long Beach and it was my chance to see cars like the Mazda Lola Coupe, Falken Porsche RSR, and the Rahal Letterman Racing BMW M3’s up close and personal.
The race was absolutely nuts. There was everything from controversial penalties to a Corvette spontaneously combusting! Don’t worry about that last part though the driver (Boris Said) got out ok.
In the P2 class the Mazdas was taking it to the Acuras and were leading the class for a good portion of the race. This was a pretty impressive feat for Mazda considering that their Lola B09 coupe is so new that the paint is still drying. Although, despite an impressive run the Fernandez Racing P2 Acura was able to take the lead away from Mazda in pit lane. However Mazda was still able to keep the Acura’s in their sights and earned second and third on the podium.
The story in P1 was the battle between Gil De Ferran’s Acura team and the Tequila Patron Highcroft Acura’s. The Tequila Patron team is used to being on top but legendary Honda/Acura driver Gil De Ferrran wasn’t having it. Gil has raced on the streets of Long Beach many times in his legendary career but never managed to win. He was a runner up many times but couldn’t quite get his feet on the top spot of the podium…until this weekend. He and teammate Simon Pagenaud were able to hold off Scott Sharp and David Brabham to take the win. A controversial pit lane call against the Highcroft team didn’t hurt Gil’s efforts either. More on that below.
In the GT2 Class things got hot…literally. Things were going fine until one #28 Riley Corvette driven by Boris Said suddenly burst into flames. Boris must have saw it coming because during the replay you could see that he already had the door open and was ripping himself out of his harness before the car even came to a complete stop. Luckily Boris was ok and suffered only minor injuries.
The American Le Mans race is in my opinion the best part of the weekend short of the main event. If you didn’t make it out to Long Beach this year I highly suggest that you start planning for next year. I guarantee you’ll have a blast.
Now check out SPEED’s recap of the race and after that a few pictures taken by yours truly.
Tags: · 2009 long beach grand prix, Acura P1, ALMS, american le mans series, boris said, Corvette, dyson racing, Events, Falken, Flying Lizard, gplb.com, highcroft racing, Hype, Mazda P2, News, Racing, toyota grand prix of long beach