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Preview WEC Austin 2015: Audi seeks revenge in Austin

Preview of WEC Austin 2015
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D he defeat at the home game at the Nürburgring hurt, but it hurt even more the clarity: while Audi and Porsche fought fascinating duels at eye level in the LMP1 class in the first 3 world championship races in Silverstone, Spa as well as in the 24h race in Le Mans, the Ingolstadt-based team received a slap in the Eifel: Porsche came along a completely newly developed high-downforce package for the second half of the season of the sports car world championship for the Germany home game - and rammed Audi into the ground.

On average for the 20 percent of the fastest race laps, Porsche was 0.7 seconds faster per lap than Audi. In addition, the Swabians were able to make up 5 to 6 seconds per pit stop on Audi when refueling - Porsche's superiority was overwhelming, Audi had zero chances in the Eifel.

Audi in Austin with improvements to the car

That was probably their own fault: while Porsche had stepped on the gas on the aero side, Audi Sport came to the Eifel with the aero package from Le Mans, which is actually designed for a low level of downforce. In Austin, Audi is now back at the start with more downforce, primarily to improve tire use and lap time consistency. At the Nürburgring, the Audi chauffeurs complained of inconsistent grip conditions - presumably a consequence of the low downforce.

The second problem on the ring: the cooling did not work adequately at the high temperatures. 'The basis for the package in Austin is still the Le Mans Spec,' explains Joest Technical Director Ralf Jüttner. 'But we have significantly improved the cooling and are also driving more downforce. For the rest of the season, we will re-evaluate temperatures, cooling and downforce level from race to race - and then decide which specification we will drive with.' In other words: it cannot be ruled out that Audi will switch back to the high-downforce variant from the start of the season in Silverstone in the further course of the season.

At Porsche, too, there are changes to the new aero package for Austin. The Swabians say that there are only small improvements in detail, while the competition believes that the FIA ​​and ACO should have made changes. The battle for the two LMP1 titles in the Drivers 'and Manufacturers' World Championships is completely open between Audi and Porsche with four races still outstanding.

Porsche with time advantage when refueling

Nevertheless, it stands to suspect that the Porsche soaring continuesshould continue. Because even if Audi closes the gap again, Porsche will continue to have the wild card of shorter refueling stops: the Swabians have found a solution in the refueling area that presumably sucks more gasoline into the tank through negative pressure. In the 6-hour races with normally 6 pit stops, this advantage can add up to over half a minute.

The LMP1 opponents Toyota and Audi unanimously call for the FIA ​​and ACO to intervene, but with technical follow-up checks on Nürburgring did not raise any complaints about possible rule violations. In this respect, one can assume that Porsche will again be able to make full use of the refueling pound in Austin.

There are no technical changes to the third LMP1 player, Toyota. The Japanese have already redirected all resources to 2016 when a new chassis with new energy storage (batteries) and a new V6 biturbo engine will arrive. 'In principle we have to hope for extraordinary circumstances in the race in order to have a chance of victory,' said Anthony Davidson at the ring. Toyota lags too clearly in terms of speed. So they hope for durability problems with their opponents - or rain. 'These are the defensive weapons of racing,' said Davidson.

Porsche also strong in the GT class

In the GT LM class for works teams, Olaf Manthey's Porsche GT team is no less optimistic about Austin than their LMP1 colleagues: an additional test should improve competitiveness after the one-two at the Nürburgring, like Marco Ujhasi , Head of Development for the GT program, explains: 'The challenge in Austin is to get the right mechanical set-up for the slow corners and the right aerodynamic set-up for the fast corners. The high temperatures can also be a decisive factor and going to the start with the right tires has an advantage. We'll test in Austin beforehand. If we can make the most of that, then I'm very confident for the race. ' Ferrari will be very strong as usual: at the Nürburgring the Italians played no role in the race due to reliability problems, but the speed of the 458 GTE was absolutely on a par with the Porsche 911 RSR.


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