Audi R18 TDI – Le Mans Prototype

Audi R18 TDI

The Audi R18 TDI is the next evolution in Audi’s Le Mans Prototype (LMP) vehicles. The successor to the R15, the R18 features a smaller displacement turbo diesel engine, with more emphasis placed on lightweight construction and aerodynamic efficiency. The Audi R18 made its race debut at Spa, and clinched pole position. Despite proving that the R18 had the speed necessary to be a strong contender, they ultimately finished the race third, fourth, and fifth. However, the R18’s previous outing was merely a practice run in preparation for their true test, the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 11.

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Lucas Ordonez – Gran Turismo Gamer Preps for Le Mans

Lucas Ordonez Le Mans

Lucas Ordonez went from Playstation gamer to world class racer, seemingly overnight. Lucas won Nissan and Playstation’s first GT Academy competition in 2008, and will now compete in the most prestigious event racing has to offer. The 24 Hours of Le Mans. The purpose of the GT Academy competition was to find the most skilled Gran Turismo gamer, and then mold that person into a professional racer. By winning that contest Lucas earned himself a contract with Nissan. From there he drove a Nissan 350z in the Dubai 24 hour endurance race in which he performed exceptionally well.

The experience and success continued from there. Now though, the stakes are higher as he’ll pilot an LMP2 car powered by Nissan in the 24 hours of Le Mans. The video below documents his training for the race, which includes a mock 24 hour drive in a Nissan GTR.

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Allan McNish Video – Enduring the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Audi and Allan McNish animated video

A victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a coveted title that every professional driver yearns for. It’s a rare accolade that Audi’s veteran driver, Alan McNish was able to capture at last year’s event. Along with the help from his outstanding teammates Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello. The 24 Hours of Le Mans could arguably be the toughest and most grueling race that a driver could ever come across. Making Audi’s nine victories in the past 11 years that much more significant, as it’s no easy task. Audi will go for back to back wins, and campaign their new R18TDI when the 79th 24 Hours of Le Mans commences on June 11.

The following is an animated video featuring Allan McNish detailing the specific difficulties faced in the 24 hour event. Don’t think professional racers are athletes? Check this video out and see if it changes your opinion.

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Nissan GTR at Okayama – Super GT 2011

Nissan GTR Okayama

More behind the scenes video footage, this time following the Nissan GTR’s competing in Japan’s Super GT Series. The following videos capture footage of the GTR’s dominating performance at Okayama, which recently took place this past weekend. As Nissan tries to reenergize their motorsports program, the Nissan GTR is certainly doing more than its fair share to bring racing prestige back to the brand. But, of course we wouldn’t expect anything less from their flagship supercar.

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2011 Grand-Am Rolex Series VIR Recap

grand am at vir

The fourth round of the 2011 Grand-Am Rolex series was held at Virginia International Raceway, and the event was not short on compelling story lines. The biggest of which, the bounty placed on the Chip Ganassi Telmex BMW. Grand-Am posted a $25,000 reward for anyone who could defeat the 01, effectively ending their win-streak that spans into the 2010 season.

For the drivers in the DP category, while the bounty definitely added a bit of intrigue, what’s more important to them is reeling in the 01 BMW in the chase for the championship. Make no mistake, all of these teams are extremely competitive and thus already hungry enough for a win in the 2011 season. With that said, the intensity was easily felt from start, to close finish.

With so much at stake the pressure was on and the action did not disappoint.

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Audi R8 LMS

Audi R8 LMS

Audi has been a successful participant in customer racing since 2009 with the R8 LMS. quattro GmbH builds the racing models at its motorsports factory in Heilbronn-Biberach. 35 units are currently being raced worldwide by customer and importer teams.

“The R8 LMS is the first race car from Audi developed specifically for customer racing,” says Werner Frowein, Managing Director of quattro GmbH. “The car allows our customers to also experience the sporty genes of the R8 family on the race track.” The R8 LMS is entered in 17 race series and numerous individual races in 2011 in the hope of expanding on its successful record of seven titles and 65 wins so far.

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Preparing a Grand-Am Race Car

Grand-Am Race Car

How big is the gap between street car and Grand-Am racer and what does it take to prep one of these special vehicles? Brumos Racing crew chief Skip Schinsing breaks down the inner workings of their Porsche GT3 and explains how it differs from its street legal little brother. The Brumos GT3 competes in Grand-Am’s Rolex series in the GT category, and from a power standpoint it’s very similar to the road-going version. So, GT3 owners should be proud to know that the number 59 Brumos is currently in the top 10 in the Rolex GT standings, proving that this platform is capable of competing with the best in the world. But, if you own a Porsche GT3 then you’re certainly already well aware of its world class capabilities.

Below, you also have BGB Motorsports team manager John Tecce giving us the details on prepping a Porsche Cayman, turning a street car into a Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge racer. Most notably, the bitter sweetness of tearing apart an expensive Porsche.

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Nissan Makes History at GT1 Qualifying in Portimao

Nissan Gt1

Nissan made history in today’s GT1 World Championship Qualifying Race in Portimão by claiming the first ever 1-2-3 placing by a single manufacturer since the series’ formation, something that in itself followed on from an unprecedented and amazing feat during the earlier Qualifying session: all four of the competing Nissan GT-Rs finishing in the top four positions.

The hour long, three-stage Qualifying session saw the British pairing of Richard Westbrook and Peter Dumbreck, in the no.22 JR Motorsports, finishing just ahead of Brazilian duo Enrique Bernoldi and Ricardo Zonta (no.20 Sumo Power GT), with Lucas Luhr and Michael Krumm (no.23 JR Motorsports ) in third, and Jamie Campbell-Walter/David Brabham’s no.21 Sumo Power GT in fourth.

It was vital that the Nissan teams’ Qualifying efforts didn’t go to waste in the Qualifying Race with a repeat of the sort of chaos that wiped the two Sumo Power GTs out during the first few seconds of the Zolder Championship Race, but, though it was a much cleaner start this time around, there was still to be one Nissan casualty as the race began. Ricardo Zonta, making a quick start from second and jostling with Dumbreck for first position, got clipped from behind in the first corner; an impact that sent him spinning on-track and which knocked him back to 13th place.

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Maserati Trofeo 2011 Round 1 – Imola

Maserati Trofeo 2011

The first of eight rounds in the 2011 Maserati Trofeo season went down at Imola this past weekend. The schedule for this international spec series coincides with the WTCC, the International Series GT Open, and the Italian GT Championship. But, all that really matters is that the series features up to 20 Maserati Trofeo’s going head to head at some of the best tracks in the world.

The Trofeo originated as the road-going GranTurismo S, Maserati then built upon that successful platform to create the GranTurismo MC Concept, which then evolved into the track car that we see before us today, the GranTurismo MC Trofeo.

The Trofeo features improved aerodynamic performance and a significant reduction in overall weight, while maintaining the striking appearance that has become unique with the GranTurismo.

It’s fitted with single-rate racing dampers and aluminum ‘Flow-Forming’ wheels, 11”x18” front – 13”x18 rear, fitting slick/rain tires with sizes 305/660/18 on the front and 325/705/18 on the rear. To further emphasize driver skill in this spec series, the Trofeo does not include anti-lock brakes.

Click through to witness the Trofeo in action at Imola, along with some driver interviews.

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Ferrari 458 Challenge laps Infineon – Video

Ferrari 458 Challenge laps Infineon

The Ferrari Challenge is a spec racing series created for privateer racers to fully enjoy their Ferrari’s in their natural environment, the race track. The car currently being used in the series is the Ferrari 458 Challenge, which is slightly modified for track use and additional safety, while everything under the hood remains the same as the road-going 458 Italia.

The 458 Challenge produces 570 hp at 9,000 rpm, with modifications made to the gear ratio in order to achieve higher torque at lower revs. Also, as expected with a competition vehicle significant effort has been put forth in reducing the weight of the car. Ferrari engineers have reduced the thickness of the body shell panels along with using lightweight materials, such as carbon-fiber and lexan to meet that goal.

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