While the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season has brought change for Dion von Moltke, there’s been one constant for the rising GT star as he climbed behind the wheel in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Despite his switch from Flying Lizard Motorsports to Paul Miller Racing, the 24-year-old has continued his relationship with Audi, trading one R8 LMS for another, as he entered his fourth season driving the mid-engined sports car.
For von Moltke, the biggest adjustment was coming to grips with the team, although it didn’t take much time for the former Rolex 24 class winner to acclimate with the 2014 GTD championship runner-up squad.
“I didn’t know much about the team but stepping in at Daytona, I was impressed right away,” von Moltke told Sportscar365. “The team functions in a real close-knit family atmosphere, which is nice.
“Everyone’s on top of it. Everyone knows their job and does their job. It made me feel comfortable right away, from the first race, which is rare for a driver. Usually it takes two, three or four races to feel comfortable with a team.”
As the most experienced driver of the GT3-based car in North America, von Moltke’s knowledge of the R8 LMS has also paid dividends through the car’s evolution.
He credits Audi Sport customer racing USA for working with teams in providing series-specific developments to the now GTD-spec entry.
“They’ve been very instrumental in how far the car has come,” von Moltke said. “In our debut with the car, we struggled massively.
“From the Alex Job car, which was essentially a factory run Audi, they changed some geometry on the front end and got the car working really well. Ever since then, it’s been a great working relationship.”
Von Moltke has also seen a transformation from the four different Audi teams he’s driven for over the years, including techniques the Paul Miller squad has done differently from others.
“Just going from the Lizards last year to Paul Miller this year, there’s a big difference in how each team works with the car,” he said. “It shows you how variable the car can be and how it can work in different setups and still be a very quick car, which is an important thing for a race car to have.
“You need a car with a bigger open window and that’s what Audi has been able to develop, to make the car so successful internationally. Hopefully we can add to that success for its last season in racing with the old iteration of the R8.”
A bid for the class win at Daytona for Von Moltke and co-drivers Christopher Haase, Bryce Miller and Rene Rast was thwarted by loose bodywork from an incident, which put the No. 48 Audi three laps down, but still enough for a fifth place finish.
They head into this weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring seeking Audi’s first GT class victory, in a race that’s seen 11 overall triumphs by the German manufacturer with its legendary LMP1 program.
Von Moltke, meanwhile, seeks his third Sebring class victory, a feat that would be remarkable in its own right given only four previous starts in the Florida endurance classic.
“We’re hungry and we want to get better,” von Moltke said. “We know Sebring, we’ve tested there and we feel like we have a really good package; We feel the Audi is a very good car around that track. We’ve got good teammates and a good strong team.
“I think we’ve got a shot to battle for the win. We just have to make sure we do our jobs and survive the first ten hours. Once it hits nighttime and if we can be in the right spot, I think we will have a good chance to hopefully battle for the win.”