Audi gets nod from builders
ABT race engineer Franco Chiocchetti was one of the several hundred persons attending JamWest Speedway's meet in Westmoreland on Sunday.
His mission, however, was to monitor the performance of the newly overhauled Audi TT-R DTM. Chiocchetti, who is from Germany, is employed to ABT Sportsline builders of the Audi TT-R DTM.
"I'm satisfied with the car's performance. But that's easy to say since we won," he told Auto.
The race car, driven by Doug Gore, set a new lap record of 1:06:946 minutes.
Chiocchetti, who has been with ABT since 2001, was a part of the development programme that turned the demure Audi TT into the ferocious race car it was for the German Touring Car Masters (DTM).
"I was actually on holiday when the car returned to Germany, so I wasn't a part of the repairs. I'm confident the upgrades are having the desired effect," he said.
The race engineer had nothing but praise for JamWest's motorsport facility which he was visiting for the first time.
"I think this circuit is more interesting than Dover [Raceway in St Ann]. It has a good mix of corners that challenge the driver," he said.
Importantly for Chiocchetti, he prefers the larger run-off areas.
"At Dover, if you make a mistake you'll probably have a serious accident. Here the run-offs mean you can push your car to the limit and not be punished, which I think is important for driver development," he said.
When quizzed on the Audi's chances at Dover Raceway's April 1 meet, he expressed confidence about car and driver.
"The key to victory is having a happy driver in a comfortable environment," he said.
Chiocchetti, who was expected to return to Germany yesterday, will be preparing for an expanded DTM series with driver Adrien Tambay in an Audi A5 DTM. In addition to Audi and Mercedes, BMW joined the race series last year.
"It's healthy now that BMW joined last year. The DTM is looking to expand into the North American and Japanese markets," he said.