The FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) is heading to Japan and Audi is currently in the lead of the manufacturers’ classification.
Audi managed to get ahead during the race in Austin, USA where it emerged victorious and turned the tables of the standings. As it heads to Fuji, Japan, it will be trying to extend its lead.
The track at Fuji, around 100 kilometres south west of Tokyo, is known to be particularly testing. It has a number of features that do not fit with the aerodynamics of the endurance race cars.
While some of its sections are very slow, these are immediately followed by very fast ones. What’s more, there is a 1.4 kilometre section near the start and finish of the track, which is one of the longer straights in international motorsport. Only the cars with the strongest engines will perform best here.
Over the course of WEC’s two-year history Audi has managed to take 13 victories out of 20 races. On the nine tracks where WEC events are held, the brand has won at least once on each. That is, except for the Fuji track.
During 2013, it seemed that the team of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer would have won as they were in pole position. However, there was heavy rain on that day, which can be a feature of the mountainous region, and it prevented the race from running smoothly.
The director stopped the event after 16 laps had passed behind the safety car and entrants only received half the number of points, much to the disappointment of teams, drivers and the crowd.
Fassler, Lotterer and Treluyer are coming back to the track this year with the hope of completing Audi’s win tally. They have had two wins in a row so far, at the Le Mans 24 Hours and at the track in Austin.
The Austin race was turbulent, yet the three driver team managed to get ahead thanks to clever tactical decisions and excellent driving. What’s more, they managed to reduce the gap in the drivers’ standings to 11 points behind Toyota, who are currently in the lead.
Not only that but the drivers of the other Audi R18 e-tron quattro, Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval and Tom Kristensen, are also a force to be reckoned with. Over the course of the last three races, their car has taken second place each time. However, like their team mates in the other car, they will be aiming to take the top spot in Japan.
The team of Di Grassi, Kristensen and Duval are only 13 points behind the other Audi team in the drivers’ standings.
Speaking about the upcoming race, head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich said: “We know how challenging the race will be at Fuji but are set on making up more ground in the World Championship. And we’d really love to finally win in Japan too.”
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