AVL RACING Brand Ambassador Ferdinand Habsburg Wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Ferdinand Habsburg (AUT) enjoyed a perfect debut at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans last weekend. The AVL RACING brand ambassador, who lined up alongside Robin Frijns (NED) and Charles Milesi (FRA) in the Belgian WRT team, won the LMP2 class (Le Mans Prototype 2) after a dramatic finish. In preparation for the French endurance classic, the 24-year-old had spent the previous week working hard in the AVL RACING Driving Simulator in Graz.
Le Mans/Graz 23rd August 2021 – Roughly 50,000 fans at the Circuit de la Sarthe not only witnessed the maiden victory for AVL RACING brand ambassador Ferdinand Habsburg, but also one of the most exciting 24-hour races in the history of Le Mans. Habsburg, Frijns and Milesi laid the foundation for their success with a good start, which saw Frijns waste no time at all climbing through the field from eleventh place in the #31 Oreca 07. As the race progressed, the WRT trio consistently worked their way towards the front, before Habsburg took the lead in the LMP2 category in his first stint. They then defended that lead with some flawless driving and scheduled pit stops.
In the dramatic closing stages, it initially looked as though lady luck had deserted Habsburg: an issue with the air jack system cost the trio a lot of time, and resulted in them being passed by the #31 WRT car. However, on the final lap of the 13.626-kilometre circuit, the tide turned once again: the leading car suddenly lost power and rolled out of contention. Frijns regained the lead with eight kilometres remaining. In a real thriller, he managed to bring the trio home just 0.727 seconds ahead of the flying second-placed car to take a spectacular victory. This was Habsburg’s first victory on his debut in Le Mans. In the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), to which the race belongs, Habsburg and his team-mates have climbed into second place – just one point off the lead with two races remaining.
Ferdinand Habsburg was the first in the squad of AVL RACING brand ambassadors. Prior to that, he had been part of the AVL RACING Young Driver Programme, which allows the Austrian company to support talented youngsters on the motorsport scene.
Le Mans 24 Hours circuit was completely new for Ferdinand, so as standard in the top level of racing, he prepared the race weekend at the AVL Driving Simulator in Graz. AVL´s state-of-the-art full motion hexapod platform with Six Degrees of Freedom (DOF) allowed him to get the feedback like handling and stability as the real race car. By integrating the latest vehicle model of Habsburg´s LMP2 into the vehicle dynamics simulation software AVL VSM™RACE, the driving simulator sessions bring a crucial benefit for the race car driver performance and as well for the engineering preparation. Track’s layout familiarization, driving style, consistency, race car setup development and full stint simulations including grip variations were the main targets during the session.
Ferdinand Habsburg, AVL RACING ambassador: “Le Mans winner … it is a dream to be able to say that, and I cannot thank everyone involved enough. The many laps in the simulator, working with the AVL race engineers in Graz, were excellent preparation for this challenge. My team-mates and the WRT team did a phenomenal job. This kind of success is not possible any other way.”
Ellen Lohr, Director Motorsport at AVL RACING: “Everyone at AVL is delighted with Ferdinand’s success at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The race was an emotional rollercoaster in the closing stages. Victory in the final minute, practically on the finish line. That is unbelievable. We are incredibly proud of Ferdinand.”
About Ferdinand Habsburg
Born in Austria in 1997, Ferdinand was the first person to join the Young Driver Program. From here he went on to take part in the Euroformula Open, FIA Formula 3 and the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype), accumulating a raft of victories and pole positions. After his DTM debut with R-Motorsport in 2019, Ferdinand joined the Audi Sport Team WRT in 2020 for his second DTM season, delivering strong performances throughout the year.
In 2021 he started his first full season in sports cars at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and won the first international title in the Asian Le Mans Series. As a result, he was invited to join the team for a full European Le Mans Series (ELMS) campaign. For the remainder of the season Ferdinand will make his FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) debut with Team WRT, fulfilling a lifelong dream of competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Read more at https://www.ferdinandhabsburg.com/
About AVL RACING
AVL RACING is the global comprehensive motorsport expert of AVL, working in all technical fields of the sport for more than 20 years. Currently AVL RACING is involved with customers in over 16 Race Series worldwide in the fields of engineering, testing, simulation, and manufacturing. We are key supplier for teams in the most respected racing series worldwide, from Formula 1, as well as NASCAR or Moto GP and provide state-of-the-art technology and services to the motorsport world. We believe in and utilize motorsports as the platform for innovation. We transfer this know-how into road car development for future generations of mobility.
Photo Credits: Drew Gibson, Brecht Decancq
Kathrin Kvas, Marketing Specialist AVL RACING
With more than 11,200 employees, AVL is one of the world’s leading mobility technology companies for development, simulation and testing in the automotive industry, and beyond. Drawing on its pioneering spirit, the company provides concepts, solutions and methodologies for a greener, safer and better world of mobility. AVL’s passion is innovation. Together with an international network of experts at more than 90 locations and with 45 Tech and Engineering Centers worldwide, AVL is supporting customers in their mobility ambitions. In 2022, the company generated a turnover of 1.86 billion Euros, of which 11 % are invested in R&D activities to ensure continuous innovation.
Markus Tomaschitz, Company Spokesman
Dan and Robin Nicholson have been named winners of the 11th annual SAE Foundation Gordon Millar Award.
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