The new #7 Audi R18 e-tron has taken first blood in the opening round of the 2015 WEC season after pipping Porsche and Toyota to the flag at the 6h of Silverstone.
Audi’s Le Mans-winning trio of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer battled throughout with rivals its fellow LMP1 rivals to secure the top sport, winning the race just 4.61sec ahead of the #18 Porsche 919 Hybrid.
It took until the fourth hour of racing at the home of British motor racing to overcome the Porsche, with the Audi Sport Team Joest car taking full advantage of its compatriot’s mistake at the kerbs before the Wellington Straight. However, despite a 72-second lead being established, car #7 was handed a stop-go penalty for exceeding track limits whilst attempting to overtake one of the GTE Aston Martins, bringing the lead down considerably.
With just 15 minutes of the race remaining, the gap between the leading Audi and second-placed Porsche was a mere eight seconds, but the R18 held on to take the flag.
Fassler was the driver to cross the line on the 201st and final lap - a new record race distance - and had this to say on his battle with the #18 Porsche: “I must say this was one of the best fights I have had in my whole career and I really enjoyed this whole race today. I have to say it was pretty fair from Neel who gave space and I think we raced well together.”
Elsewhere in the team, the sister #8 Audi was unfortunately hit with bodywork damage that cost the trio of Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis with a seven-minute delay and resulted in a still respectable fifth-place finish.