Caddy, team principle, who is based at Holybourne, near Alton, and Cadspeed were the first team to take delivery of Audi’s brand-new RS3 LMS. The car was shipped straight to Dubai where James Kaye took the wheel for its racing debut.
Running the car with a team from Atech, the RS3 LMS immediately showed its potential as Kaye challenged for victory in both the 12-lap sprint races.
After some action-packed racing, with the Audi fighting against TCR-spec cars from VW, Seat and Alfa Romeo, Kaye achieved third and fourth places respectively.
The Dubai event marked the opening round of the Creventic 24-Hour Endurance Series, and after a TCR race debrief and systems check by the Atech team, the Audi joined the 94-car start line with 24 hours of racing ahead.
Kaye was joined by Julian Griffin, Erik Holstein and 16-year-old Finlay Hutchison for the race through the day, into the night and back into daylight again.
The quartet, having covered 513 laps at an average speed of 115.09 kph, eventually claimed a stunning victory on the RS3 LMS’s first endurance outing.
The CadSpeed Audi beat the Modena Motorsport SEAT León TCR DSG of Wayne Shen, John Shen, Francis Tjia and Mathias Beche by two laps, while the Zest Racecar Engineering SEAT León TCR DSG (Philippe Ulivieri/Gosia Rdest/John Allen/JT Coupal/John Weisberg) finished in third position with a gap of 30 laps.
Kaye, who has 300 British Touring Class races to his name, reflected: “It was a dream result. Our Audi ran like clockwork. Everyone had thought us mad contesting the 24-hour race with such a new car and with no prior testing, but we proved the doubters wrong. The amazing engineering and build quality of the Audi made this possible. For me personally, it was very satisfying. We wrote history in Dubai and no-one can take that away from us – truly incredible.
Finlay Hutchison "It was great to win the race on my TCR debut and the Audi RS3 LMS' debut as well! Huge thanks to the team for such a well driven operation and my teammates who all did a fantastic job so we could end up winning the race by a comfortable margin in the end. Lastly a big thank you to all my partners and supporters - we have started the year as we mean to go on and I am very much looking forward to the rest of the season."