Audi wins at Indianapolis

Audi Sport customer racing shares the lead of the International GT Challenge after a thrilling Indianapolis 8 Hour race.

After eight hours of racing with every conceivable drama thrown into the mix, Audi Sport has taken top spot on the podium and a share of the championship lead.

18 October, 2021

At one stage a one-two looked likely, but more incidents ruled the second Audi out of contention

It was a race with a bit of everything from start right through to the checkered flag – but at the end of eight gruelling hours, Audi Sport customer racing was on the top of the podium and in the box seat going into the final race of this year’s International GT Challenge.

Three Audi Sport teams lined up on the grid at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway as well as several customer teams across the categories. But drama was part of there race from the very start and not long after the race got underway the #37 R8 LMS of Robin Frijns, Nico Müller and Mattia Drudi was effectively ruled out of contention after an incident with another car did significant damage to their car’s aero package.

The two remaining Audi Sport cars though were in the thick of the action for the entire race, the driving trio of Christopher Haase, Patric Niederhauser and Markus Winkelhock in the Audi Sport Team Saintéloc #25 car were up at the business end of the field from early on. Teammates Christopher Mies, Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts in #32 were also well and truly in the mix and looking for a podium finish and a very real possibility of a one-two result until the dying stages of the race saw them slip back in the field as a result of time penalties.

For the team in the #25 car, it was a balancing act between maintaining speed at the front and managing to avoid the numerous incidents that continually cropped throughout the race. 

Christopher Haase and Patric Niederhauser after a hard-fought victory.
The #32 car was in the mix for a podium finish until the dying stages.

The presence of two very seasoned campaigners on the team in Markus Winkelhock and Chris Haase was a distinct advantage. But team member, Patric Niederhause, also put his stamp on the race and ultimately the victory, shouldering plenty of the driving, particularly with Winklehock getting an ‘early mark’ to be with his partner who was expecting the couple’s child.

That’s not to say that their race was without incident, but even a drive-through penalty after a pit stop that was too short thanks to a faulty measurement was not enough to diminish their lead. After eight long hours, the e Audi Sport Team Saintéloc crossed the finish line just 11.9 seconds ahead of their nearest rival. A well-earned victory, it sees Audi increase its lead over Ferrari to 40 points in the Intercontinental GT Challenge manufacturers standings, while in the drivers standings, the Indy winners Christopher Haase, Patric Niederhauser and Markus Winkelhock are now tied at the top with the Ferrari trio of Come Ledogar, Nicklas Nielsen and Alessandro Pier Guidi.

“A big congratulations to Audi Sport Team Saintéloc and our three successful drivers who survived a demanding race without any damage,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “Thanks to this success, a title win in the Intercontinental GT Challenge is within reach. In addition, our Indy winners are now also at the top of the drivers standings before the finale in South Africa.” 

The crucial final race of the series will take place at Kyalami Raceway in South Africa the fourth of December to decide both the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ championships. 

Even a drive-through penalty rewards the end of the race was not enough to diminish their lead

Markus Winkelhock (left) added another big race win and an addition to the family.
Head of Motorsport, Chris Reinke adds another win to his impressive collection.