The championship winning Audi team is welcoming a new challenge this season with the No. 39 Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO for the full IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup. The No. 39 is piloted by team veteran Jeff Westphal and IMSA competitor Richard Heistand. Together, with the support of master engineer Steve Dinan and Audi Sport customer racing, the team aims to showcase a successful motorsports ladder system and add another championship to its resume.
Westphal, the longtime IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship endurance driver is ready to join the series in a new capacity: sprint racing. As one of the most respected drivers and coaches in the IMSA paddock, a full GTD season was long overdue for the California native.
“My previous experience in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will definitely be helpful as I step into GTD with CarBahn with Peregrine Racing,” Westphal said. “I am familiar with the level of grip, speed and closing rates of the prototypes around us. Simply put, the step up to GTD just adds more variables and complexity to race weekends that are otherwise familiar from the past three GT4 seasons.
Westphal won the 2019 IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Championship with CarBahn with Peregrine Racing in the Audi R8 LMS GT4, however this will be his first time competing in the Audi R8 LMS.
“The Audi R8 LMS GT4 and GT3 are siblings, and share quite a few concepts, construction and components. The differences aren’t insignificant, but the feel the car gives the driver will be very similar to what we are used to at CarBahn with Peregrine Racing, as well as what Richard is used to with the Lambo GT3 experience he brings. The Lambo GT3 and Audi R8 LMS share a lot of components as well, thus making the Audi the more familiar unknown quantity.”
Driver Heistand is no stranger to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship paddock, most recently competing in a Lamborghini Hurrican GT3 in 2020. Similar to co-driver Westphal, his latest events have been endurance races adding a layer of excitement to his 2021 sprint race campaign.
“Well firstly, I’m just very excited to be joining CarBahn with Peregrine Racing and looking forward to driving the Audi R8 LMS,” Heistand said. “The key to success in racing starts and ends with being on a great team, so I’m very grateful and excited. It’s funny to think this will be my third season in IMSA in my third new car. After a three race Michelin Endurance Cup run in 2020, I’ll be visiting these sprint tracks for just the second time. It’s nice to think I’ve established myself over the last couple years, and I feel more settled than ever headed into this season.”
The 2021 season will present the team with a plethora of new contests, all of which Heistand is eager to overcome together.
“Above all I’m really just looking forward to working with the team,” Heistand said. “It will be great to work teammate Jeff, our owners Mark and Sameer, Audi Sport customer racing, and of course Steve Dinan. Steve is a bit of a legend and there aren’t many opportunities to work with a guy like him.”
“That’s the best part of all this, everyone on the team is dreaming the same dream and working together to achieve it. It’s a brotherhood that’s hard to replicate outside of sports. Lastly, as you gain experience it’s kind of like building a jigsaw puzzle. As it fills out there becomes clarity of what the picture is going to look like and what areas you need to complete.”
The No. 39 Audi R8 LMS makes its debut at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course May 14-16, for the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Series Round 1. The weekend will also host the No. 93 Audi R8 LMS GT4 for IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Round 3, promising a thrilling weekend for CarBahn with Peregrine Racing group.
Source. CarBahn Motorsports with Peregrine Racing