The FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) is wound up to a high pitch. Within the space of three weeks, sports car fans have been thrilled by the lead in the manufacturers’ championship changing twice. Following two one-two victories in succession, Audi had taken the top spot in the standings at the season’s midpoint. Although the brand had to relinquish its lead in the race in Japan, it remains in striking distance of the leader of the standings. Now the World Championship decision is coming to a head, as the sixth of eight WEC races is on the agenda at Shanghai on November 2.
The brand with the four rings is separated by merely eight points from leader of the standings Toyota in the manufacturers’ classification, while the brand’s advantage over the third-placed brand, Porsche, is 66 points. A total of 132 points are yet to be awarded until the finale. The WEC round in China has special significance for Audi for several reasons. The track is regarded as very challenging, the team achieved victory there last year, and the ‘Middle Kingdom’ has evolved into the largest sales market for AUDI AG. In China, the company delivered 415,704 automobiles between January and September – 16 percent more than a year ago. Audi operates production sites in the cities of Changchun and Foshan.
Its extreme configuration makes this race track unique. The Shanghai International Circuit features the longest corners in the motorsport world in the form of helical bends. In addition, the sequence of several long straights, interrupted by very narrow turns, results in a downright ‘stop-and-go’ rhythm that provides good overtaking opportunities. A year ago, the brand with the four rings scored its first victory in Mainland China: Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F) decided an extremely thrilling 6-hour race in the WEC in their favour with an advantage of 15.374 seconds. In addition, the brand, in 2013, recorded an early win of the drivers’ world championship by Loïc Duval/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish (F/DK/GB) there. This year, the FIA WEC is more thrilling than ever before because an early decision of the title is mathematically impossible in China in the manufacturers’ championship and highly improbable in the drivers’ championship.
The Chinese racing fans can look forward not only to seeing the two WEC sports cars from Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm. On the first weekend in November, the Audi R8 LMS Cup will be held there as well. In 2012, the series was Audi’s first one-make cup in Asia. Thrilling close battles between the 570-hp GT race cars are guaranteed in rounds 9 and 10 of the season, as the decisive stage in the contest for the title has begun in the Cup too.
World Endurance Championship Visits audi’s Largest Market