Benoît Tréluyer and Audi Sport crew-mates Marcel Fässler and André Lotterer will be giving their all when the FIA World Endurance Championship travels to the Shanghai International Circuit this weekend (9 November) as they look to keep their title hopes alive while capturing the hearts of the Chinese public.
With just two rounds remaining the trio are no longer looking at the scoreboard. Points aren’t their main target as they instead focus solely on racing and winning for Audi.
“As usual, we are going to drive our own race and look to take the victory,” confirms the Frenchman. “And if we’re still mathematically in the title fight on Saturday evening, all the better!
“To be honest, I’m not unhappy with the situation,” he continues. “I relish a challenge; I like to find problems and then give everything to overcome them. On the other hand, I don’t enjoy having to manage situations. I’ll force myself to do it when necessary, but it’s not the path I’d choose.”
On Saturday, Benoît’s quest for victory will be made all the more difficult by the nature of the Shanghai circuit, which has not yet proved a happy hunting ground for the Audi Sport team.
“It’s the most complicated circuit for us,” confirms Benoît. “It doesn’t suit our car very well, and this is where we faced our biggest challenge last year. We’ve worked hard and made progress, but we’ll have to wait until first practice to get a better sense of our potential.”
While the Shanghai International Circuit does not rank among his personal favourites, Benoît nevertheless understands the importance China holds for the WEC.
“There are some interesting sections, but it’s not a track that inspires intense feelings for a driver,” he explains. “That said, this is an important event for the championship and the manufacturers who compete in it. Spectator numbers and the atmosphere can still be improved, but you must remember that this is only the second time the WEC has raced in Shanghai, while Formula 1 has been there since 2004.”
With that in mind Benoît’s target this weekend is to put on a fantastic show and help promote the series on Chinese soil, while also erasing memories of the procession behind the safety car witnessed during last month’s 6 Hours of Fuji.
“It is important to provide a great event in China as this will help anchor the WEC in the country and set up an unmissable final round in Bahrain. That will be crucial to building momentum for the 2014 championship, which is already looking great thanks to the addition of a third LMP1 manufacturer. The Toyotas will be very strong in Shanghai and we are expecting a great fight. The same will also be true in LMP2 and the GT classes, which should be as competitive as ever.”
Benoît hopes that China will soon be fully aware of the great potential the FIA World Endurance Championship possesses, while he and his crew-mates have their eyes set firmly on the top of the podium.