> Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team enter a new era


Vernay & Shedden are ready to race with their Audi RS3 LMS on the streets of Marrakech where this weekend the WTCR (FIA World Touring Car Cup) will open.


The FIA World Touring Car Championship is known as the WTCR (FIA World Touring Car Cup) in 2018, due to the adoption of the TCR technical regulations. It will see 25 drivers, 11 teams and 7 manufacturers contest a brand-new championship. The excitement and racing are set to be truly top-notch.


The rules see TCR and WTCC combined. On the TCR side, the regulation insists on front-wheel-drive, four/five-door saloons or hatchbacks using turbocharged production engines with a capacity of between 1750-2000cc and with a maximum power output of 350bhp. The WTCR will remain as the top level world touring car series, the Balance of Performance (BOP) system being developed to ensure a close level of competitiveness between all the cars.


The first race of the year will be held in Morocco at the Circuit Moulay El Hassan, located in the heart of Marrakech’s bustling hotel district. Designed by Hermann Tilke, a renowned architecture agency, the circuit takes in the most of the Atlas Mountains and Marrakech city walls. It is a close-fitting track, just 2.9 km long, with various tight and wall-lined turns; the drivers will have no time to enjoy the views when the lights will turn green!


Two Qualifying sessions rather than the previous one will feature in all race weekends going forward, while an extra race has been added compare to last year traditional TCR International schedule to make it 3 in total. With 10 racing weekends between April and November, there will be a total of 30 thrilling races to enjoy. First Qualifying session and Race 1 will take place on the opening day of the weekend; on the second day will be split in two with a three-phases qualifying session in the morning and 2 races in the afternoon.


After a day of testing at the Barcelona circuit last week, both Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team’s drivers, Frenchman Jean-Karl Vernay (reigning TCR International champion) and Scottish driver Gordon Shedden (multiple BTCC champion) had the opportunity to understand and improve the setup of their Audi RS3 LMS on the eve of the Morocco event.


#69 Jean-Karl ' Jay Kay ' VERNAY:
"It was a good test, we needed it to understand the car better. Weather conditions were finally good even if there's still a lot of work to do apparently. I think it was overall very positive. Now we're looking forward to Marrakech.”


#52 Gordon ' Flash ' SHEDDEN:
“It's been a really productive test in Barcelona and great to be out there with some other cars to try and understand where we are with the Audi RS3 LMS. We made some good progress. Obviously everyone is keeping a bit quiet on the time sheets but I'm confident for the first round.”

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