Audi to Continue Expanded Factory Supported Team Pool

Photo: Audi

Plans are in place for Audi to continue to utilize an expanded rotation of regional customer teams for its factory-supported GT3 efforts worldwide, according to customer racing boss Chris Reinke.

The German manufacturer was present in last weekend’s Total 24 Hours of Spa with four works-backed cars, including newly supported entries from ISR and Sainteloc Racing, the latter which claimed overall victory, in addition to longtime partner Belgian Audi Club Team WRT.

While WRT also ran cars at the Nürburgring 24, Land Motorsport won the race, also in its factory debut, with Audi having recently extended support to Melbourne Performance Centre’s Audi R8 LMS cars in February’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour as well.

After years of limiting its support to only WRT and Phoenix Racing, Reinke believes its new focus of spreading support to additional teams has created more opportunities for success.

“We’ve tried to integrate into our supported efforts those customers who support us also in the regular day-to-day business,” Reinke told Sportscar365.

“It’s worked out very [well] for us because it gives us a chance to get fresh feedback, fresh input and to learn from one another. So there’s no reason not to try elsewhere.”

Reinke said they’ve yet to decide on possible factory-backed teams for the final two Intercontinental GT Challenge rounds at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Sepang, but could again take the approach of opting for local customers in both events.

While the Asian market features a number of Audi customer operations, its North American presence is currently limited to Pirelli World Challenge squad Magnus Racing as well as Stevenson Motorsports and Alex Job Racing, which compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

“For sure we will try to integrate local teams for the two remaining races of the Intercontinental GT Challenge,” Reinke said. “No decision has been taken yet.

“I would think for sure, also with the penetration of Audi R8 LMS in the market, I’m pretty sure we will be present in those races.”

Having won the inaugural manufacturers championship last year and currently leading this year’s standings, Reinke said Audi fully supports SRO’s IGTC formula.

“The philosophy to run this championship is to ideally integrate local teams into one big effort for the brand. That absolutely suits our ambition,” he said.

“Therefore yes, it has a meaning, and all of our customers around the world contribute for one success for Audi Sport customer racing.

“I think the [concept] is great; we’re proud to have won the championship the first year and we’ll try our best to live up to the expectations the second year.

“On top, it’s a very beautiful trophy as I learned [last weekend] and it will make it on the trophy board so I wouldn’t mind to have it again!”

5 Comments

  1. gtgianlu

    August 1, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    They were 5 factory backed cars,3 Wrt,1 each Isr and Sainteloc

    • John Dagys

      August 2, 2017 at 6:25 am

      Technically only two were considered factory backed at WRT.

      • Issac

        August 2, 2017 at 8:35 pm

        Technically maybe but in reality there were three from WRT. Why give a car the Audi Sport label and livery if it wasn’t? I get the feeling even you don’t believe them John.

        • Steve

          August 4, 2017 at 4:42 am

          It’s not factory backed because the factory didn’t fund it. All of the Audi cars in Spa had essentially the same livery, even the ISR customer car.

  2. jSmith

    August 1, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Audi should support a factory program in the US. Bring back Flying Lizard, they can get it done!

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