B-Quik were delighted to have Pierre Kaffer assisting the team for our first day of testing here on Wednesday, helping us to set up our Audis and coach their two drivers, Henk J. Kiks and Daniel Bilski.
Pierre is an Audi Sport factory driver supporting customer programmes so was the perfect fit to help us unlock more from our roster of Audi R8 LMS Cups, which also feature some minor updates for this round.
The 40-year-old German has an impressive ‘racing CV’. He started his career in Formula Ford, before moving onto Formula Opel and then Formula 3, but it’s when he graduated to sportscars that the winning habit really kicked in. Pierre includes GT2 victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours in a Risi Competizione-run Ferrari F430 GT2 in 2009 as well as two further trips to the podium, in 2008 (also with a Ferrari) as well in 2012 in an LMP2 Oreca. He’s also won the Sebring 12 Hour in 2004 with the factory Audi R8 LMP1 and has victories to his name at Petit Le Mans.
With all that background as well as knowing the Audi R8 LMS Cup inside out, he was a perfect fit to slot into B-Quik Racing and after a 35 hours of flying, starting from Utah, to get to Buriram, it was straight down to work in the garage. “Today we tried to find a good setup for the cars,” Pierre said at the end of Wednesday’s private testing. “We have a new rear diffuser so that means the setup needs to be a bit changed for it as we have more downforce at the rear now and we have to trim the car so the front matches the rear so we try to do this today.”
It wasn’t all smooth sailing though as Daniel suffered transmission hiccups in the #27 Audi in the morning which the team was able to fix, but it cost us running time. “Unfortunately this morning we had some problems which we had to solve before we could do the setup,” Pierre notes. “But apart from that the cars are running very well and the team has done a very good job to prepare all the cars that are here right now. I think we made a big step forward in terms of setup and how to handle the cars and I’m pretty confident that Henk and Daniel will be on pace here.”
With all our rivals in Super Car GTM Plus already employing professional driver coaches, having Pierre assisting Henk and Daniel helps us to play catch up in that area. “As well we did some coaching, mainly the technical stuff,” Pierre explains. “The theory side I tried to explain, how to use the car in the best way.”
Pierre sees that our two Audi drivers have plenty of pace and can keep improving themselves, it’s a never ending learning curve he reckons. “There are always things you can improve,” said the German. “When I take myself I always try to improve all the time, I’m always quite on it so the limit is the limit but you can always use the limit in a different way so if you’re not using the limit the right way I try always to better myself, to be hard with myself and say ‘Pierre you have to do this, this and this to make it better’.”
It was also his first time to drive Chang International Circuit, Pierre getting some useful laps in during the morning sessions as he worked on honing our new setups. “Buriram is a nice track,” he says. “I never expected a track like this in Thailand, it’s fun to drive and as I said before I made the setup of the car so I needed to drive this morning and I drove several lap and so yes it’s nice to be here.”
The life of the professional racing driver is one of being constantly on the road and – despite looking remarkably fresh faced – Pierre in fact had to make quite a journey to be with us for Wednesday. He was sharing the cockpit of a Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS Cup in a round of Pirelli World Challenge held at Utah Motorsport Campus, near Salt Lake City, last weekend and then came direct to Buriram.
That’s one heck of a journey, four consecutive flights across three continents, as he explained. “It was quite a long trip, it took me around 35 hours to be here but finally I made it,” he said. “I went from Utah to Charles de Gaulle [Paris], from Charles de Gaulle to Zurich and from Zurich to Bangkok and then from Bangkok to the other side of Bangkok to the other airport [Don Muang] to take the flight to Buriram.”
With job done for B-Quik, on Wednesday evening Pierre was on a plane to Europe and next weekend he will be back on track, this time in endurance action in Portugal, driving an Audi TT RS2 for LMS Motorsport in the Portimão 24 Hour.
Source. Edd Ellison