Ekblom On The Audi 24 Hour Car
(The Nurburgring One)
Audi's recent grand test session at Jerez, with enough cars present
to fill half a championship grid, has already been mentioned here
on dsc; in the presence of the new A4 DTM challenger and the venerable
R8, Sweden's Fredrik Ekblom and Germany's Frank Stippler got themselves
acquainted with the ex-DTM Audi TT-R they will drive in the Nürburgring
24 hour marathon in June. Ekblom passes on his thoughts on the new
experience, and offers some insight into the improvements Audi has
made over last year's car.
"The TT-R has more
"stink" than I thought. Both the (Abt Sportsline) team
and I are very happy."
The newbies had two versions
of the TT-R available, a "genuine" 2003 DTM car and the
modified endurance version. "The 24 Hours car has more power
than the DTM version,“ says Ekblom, "and the carbon fibre
brake disks are unbelievably effective.“
The enduro car is a brand
new 2004 "evolution" based on a 2003 DTM chassis; therefore
"laptimes are not worth talking about, as this is practically
a new car, compared to the one they used on the 'Ring in 2003."
As one would have expected, Audi and Abt have obviously put all
the data gathered in last year's race to good use.
Frank Stippler, and myself also drove in different conditions; but
the car is a lot faster than I had expected, and very easy to drive
- it was great," summed up Ekblom
Fitted with all the necessary
endurance racing gadgetry, the enduro car is heavier than the DTM
sprinter, but it also has more power - now around 500bhp, according
to Ekblom. Fellow Swede and Audi DTM veteran Mattias Ekström
reports that judging by the way he let the back hang out through
the turns and left black tyre marks all around the track, Fredrik
obviously found his time in the V8 powered TT-R an enjoyable experience.
"I am very pleased,
everything went like a dream. I got to know the car, and the cooperation
with the team works well; this is what this test at Jerez was about.
A test on the Nordschleife will be next, and that's when we can
start comparing lap times."
Ekström will team up with team manager Christian Abt for the
Nürburgring 24 Hours. Will the clash of dates with Le Mans
mean double 24 hour victories simultaneously?