The Audi customer team WRT Speedstar Audi Sport scored third place with its Audi R8 LMS in the strongly-supported GTD class at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Audi Sport drivers Mirko Bortolotti and Dries Vanthoor, who shared the cockpit of the number 88 entry with Rolf Ineichen and Daniel Morad, at times led the class and finished the race on the podium. Audi Sport customer racing celebrated a podium lock-out in the support race: At the season opener of the Michelin Pilot Challenge, three Audi RS 3 LMS occupied the top positions of the TCR class after the four-hour race.
After Audi Sport customer racing had won the GTD class at the Daytona 24-hour race in 2013 and 2016, the Audi R8 LMS was again competitive at the 2020 running of the long-distance classic in Florida (USA). Starting the race from sixth on the grid, the Audi R8 LMS run by WRT Speedstar Audi Sport, held its position in the top group of the class, which represented the largest contingent on the grid with 18 vehicles.
From the ninth hour, the #88 Audi R8 LMS was on a steady course for a podium place and took the lead of the class for the first time shortly after the halfway mark. An extended pit stop to change the brake pads and contacts with competitors cost the team precious seconds.
“The final phase of this exciting 24-hour race was very intense,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “The stable weather conditions and few caution phases allowed an unusually high pace during the race. To make it onto the podium is a great achievement. When you come so close to victory you might wish for more. But we can be proud of third place.”
“I am proud and happy,” said Mirko Bortolotti, who drove the last stint. “Many thanks to the entire Audi Sport customer racing team, WRT Speedstar Audi Sport and my teammates. They all did a fantastic job. We were in the lead several times, lost it, fought our way back and got everything out of our car. Unfortunately I couldn’t fight for victory in the end, but we’ll be back.”
Customer teams of Audi Sport customer racing celebrated a podium sweep at the season opening round of the Michelin Pilot Challenge, which was run as support to the 24-hour race and strongly supported with 18 TCR race cars from four makes. Road Shagger Racing scored the second win after Laguna Seca in 2019 with Americans Gavin Ernstone and Jon Morley. Two more Audi customer teams completed Audi’s triple success: William Tally and Mikey Taylor (Speed Syndicate Motorsport) claimed second place ahead of Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson (JDC-Miller MotorSports). For the Audi RS 3 LMS, this marked the second class win in a support event to the Daytona 24 Hours after 2018.
“I am very happy with our win on this famous circuit,” said Gavin Ernstone. “I took up the race from eleventh and lost a few places on the way. But the Audi RS 3 LMS was fantastic and made it possible for me to charge back to the front.”