International players in the automotive aftermarket gathered in Italy for Autopromotec 2017, and the evolving technology of connected cars and what it means for the future of the aftermarket was a big focus.
With top technology and a standout driver squad, Team Prosperia C. Abt and premium tire manufacturer Hankook take on the challenge this weekend of the legendary 24-hour race through the “Green Hell”, how the track is nicknamed by drivers and spectators. The team runs two Audi R8 LMS ultra liveried in the Hankook design, renowned and popular amongst “Nordschleife” fans.
With up to 175 race cars, about 650 drivers, an estimated 200,000 fans who celebrate their very own race party around the 25.3 kilometre circuit, this weekend’s Nürburgring 24 Hours is Germany’s biggest motorsport event. Team Prosperia C. Abt Racing again takes on the very special challenge this year and fields two Hankook Competition-shod Audi R8 LMS ultra at the notorious endurance classic.
With a range of race tires which were perfectly developed to suit the special track and weather conditions of the “Green Hell”, the team couldn’t be better prepared. As the exclusive tire partner of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters / German Touring Car Championships) and thanks to the experience gained from countless endurance races all over the world (aside from the Nürburgring: Le Mans, Spa Francorchamps, Sebring just to mention a few), the comprehensive range of Hankook race tires offers a solution for all eventualities at the Nürburgring.
Depending on the weather and track conditions the cars will run on the successful Hankook Tipe Ventus Race slicks, intermediate or wets which were specially adapted to competition endurance racing. Tire dimension will be 300/660-18 at the front and 320/710-18 at the rear axle.
Team Prosperia C. Abt Racing is no stranger to the challenges of the “Green Hell”: the entire system consisting of vehicle, tire and driver has to be perfectly coordinated. This is why team principal and co-owner Christian Abt has put together a top rate driver line up who have accumulated a wealth of experience in long distance racing for the Audi R8 LMS ultra.
First and foremost there is last year’s winner Nicki Thiim. The Dane, who not only won at the Nürburgring in 2013 but also clinched the championship title in the Porsche Supercup, shares driving duties with Nordschleife specialist Marco Seefried on the No.9 Audi. Marco has already climbed the podium at the 24 hour classic after finishing second in 2010 on the famous Hankook Ferrari. The pair is joined by Britain’s Richard Westbrook, the winner of the 2010 FIA GT1 World Championship. Richard gained extensive endurance experience from four starts at Le Mans and four Nürburgring 24-hour campaigns. Completing the squad is Switzerland resident Alexander Mueller who has tackled Le Mans four times.
Germany’s Christopher Mies takes the wheel of the No.10 Audi R8 LMS ultra. At 25 years of age he is the youngest driver in the Prosperia Team, yet rich in endurance racing experience: in 2009 he clinched the FIA GT3 European Championship and was crowned champion of the prestigious Blancpain Endurance Series in 2012. Twice Christopher took the winner’s laurels from the famous Bathurst 12-hour race in Australia. Mies shares the cockpit with Christer Joens who had the pleasure of a champagne shower at the Nürburgring 24 Hours when he finished third in 2010. The third driver in the No.9 car is Niclas Kentenich from the north-western German city of Neuss. Niclas has a wealth of experience on the Nordschleife, and also demonstrated his endurance abilities by winning the Dubai 24 Hours in 2009. His best result at the Nürburgring by now was ninth in 2011. Dominik Schwager from Munich can draw from the experience of four starts at the Nürburgring 24 Hours and one at Le Mans.
“With a double victory for Audi from the 24 Hours here in 2012 and at many VLN races, the Audi R8 LMS ultra has proven that it is a true winner. I am happy that we were able to contract eight top drivers for this year who bring a wealth of experience in endurance racing with them – and they all have the winner’s DNA that is vital for success. With Hankook we’ve got a competency and experienced tire partner on board who will provide us with the best possible technical support. So all is set for a good result. Each member of our team will do their utmost for the best possible outcome,” says a confident Christian Abt.
“Especially because of the sheer distance of one lap and the character of the circuit, the Nürburgring is unique and very challenging. This is what makes the track so special,” says Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook Motorsport Director Europe. “We benefit from many years of experience on the Nordschleife, and therefore we are perfectly prepared with the Nürburgring-variant of our ‘Ventus Race’ competitions tires. So we are very optimistic to score an outstanding result with our partner Prosperia C. Abt Racing.”
The 42nd running of arguably the world’s toughest long distance race takes off on Thursday, 19 June, with the first free practice. On Saturday 21 June at 16:00 hrs it’s all go for the 24 hour pursuit on the famed circuit in the Eifel region. “A 24 hour race is full of uncertainties, so it’s very difficult to set a goal or even dare to predict an outcome. But during the preparation phase we did our utmost to ensure a good outcome. That’s why we head into the race feeling confident,” says team co-owner Slobodan Cvetkovic, looking forward to the season highlight on the national racing calendar.
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Stacey Miller is the new director of communications for the Auto Care Association.
RNR Tire Express & Custom Wheels in Jonesboro, Ark., picked one hardworking mom from thousands of entries as the winner of a brand new car.
During the 2017 Memorial Day weekend, Simple Tire LLC is donating 5% of its sales to Wounded Warriors Family Support.
The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) is investigating the national security implications of steel imports, and the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) has testified consumers, as well as the U.S. military, depend on tires and the availability of certain imported steel is critical.
The opening of Apollo Tyres Ltd.’s new $500 million consumer and commercial tire plant outside of Budapest, Hungary, last month was a huge global event. Said to be the largest investment by an Indian-based company in Hungary, the grand opening drew a visit from Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
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The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) is rebranding itself, and its new name is more focused on what its members do — manufacture tires in the United States.
Plaza Tire Service Inc. has opened its first store in Springfield, Mo., which brings the company to 61 stores in four states.
The Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group) has honored three suppliers for sales and service excellence.
Zhongce Rubber Group Co Ltd. (ZC Rubber) has opened a research and development center in China in cooperation with a state-owned research and development institute.
Since 1994 Bauer Built Inc. has recognized the children and grandchildren of its employees through the G. F. “Sam” and Ethel V. Bauer/Bauer Built Inc. Scholarship program. Four high school seniors have earned the prize in 2017.
Amanda Mathis will continue to lead Bridgestone America Inc.'s financial team in a new role: chief financial officer (CFO).