Awesome Audette: 2011 F2000 Champion
Remy Audette clinched the 2011 F2000 Championship with five wins, 14 top tens, six poles, and 13 top fives in 14 races. Audette, from Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs, Quebec, driving the No. 21 Audette Racing Dimensions Doors Van Diemen, made it look easy in his fourth season of F2000 competition.
More amazingly, in 40 F2000 Championship Series starts since 2008, Audette has an average finishing position of 4.1 and has failed to finish just once, and only finished outside the top ten three times, with an astounding 34 top fives.
His worst finish in 2011? Seventh at Mid-Ohio. Stat-junkies have to go back to Summit Point in 2009 to find anything worse.
His overall finishing position in 2011 was 2.7. Qualifying-wise, he averaged a grid position of third.
Audette Racing’s 2011 crew consisted of Andrew Wojeteczko (right), Sebastien Durand (left) and Jean-Denis Bernier (middle).
The stats are impressive, but so is the team dynamic. Audette works on the car himself, and usually splits the tractor/trailer driving duties with another crew member.
“It’s different when you work on the car yourself. It’s the way I learned with my Dad karting, and even in F1600 in Canada, if you want to win, you need to finish.”
Audette explained how he learned to prepare the kart himself. “My Dad showed us the right way to go racing; if you just pay and wreck the car every weekend you are never going to learn.”
Us being both Remy and brother Mathieu, who is a front runner in the Canadian Touring Car ranks for Audette Racing.
No Crashed Cars
“I’m always in control, it’s hard to answer,” said Audette, discussing his one DNF statistic. “If I want to pass someone, we want to be sure we aren’t going to make contact.
“I know what it takes to repair the car,” Audette said, adding that the idea of being at the track all night fixing a damaged race car is not his idea of fun.
“If something odd is happening I’ll pit during practice and tell the guys what’s going on, and usually there is something wrong. Some other drivers have no idea and just say ‘look at the data,’ but when you work on the car yourself you have a deeper understanding.”
The Canadian made the jump from Quebec Formula Ford to F2000 in 2008.
“The F2000 car was good value for the money, and it was a transition point,” said Audette. “You have to pass through F2000 to move up the racing ladder. We showed up at VIR in 2008, it was a big field, and we finished third and fourth. We had gotten the car a month prior, and I remember the big teams looking at us like ‘who are those guys?’”
Audette, now 26 years-old, would run a partial season in 2008, where he had an uncharacteristic weekend, finishing 13th and 25th at Watkins Glen, his only DNF, ever, in F2000 competition.
“We had this sway bar system on the car then, and it broke and I just got stuck in the chicane in the gravel,” commented Audette.
After that, the Canadian said he hated the track, which also saw him finish on the podium with a sheared off front wing in a crash-fest of a race in 2009.
The other finishes would be strong – all top tens, mostly top fives, and near the front of the field.
In 2009, Audette Racing ran a full season in F2000, with the No. 21 scoring its first win at Lime Rock Park and leading the Championship for the opening part of the year before settling for third in the standings.
That season saw Audette’s most recent outside-the-top-ten finish, coming home a lap down at Summit Point after contact with 2009 Series Champion Chris Miller.
Miller was penalized a handful of Championship points the following day for avoidable contact.
Audette Racing brought a feel-good atmosphere to the F2000 paddock, clearly enjoying themselves. From hosting evening gatherings with a make-shift bar, to team members working in ridiculous wigs for an entire weekend that erupted in a wig-hostage situation with Series staffers.
A year later, Audette would run a partial schedule, concentrating on the family business of door manufacturing.
A win came at Mosport in the rain, which Audette said was one of the major highlights of his career, gapping the field by more than 20 seconds in just half an hour.
“That was a ball, a big win,” added Audette. “That was the first time at Mosport in the rain.”
With a full season confirmed over the winter, Audette emerged as one of the title favorites heading into the 2011 season.
What was the change that made him the guy to beat? “I trained all winter, I was more concentrated than ever on the car,” answered Audette, who spent off-days in the winter snowmobiling in Quebec.
“And, I had a new engineer, Andrew Wojeteczko, the car is almost the same every session now. Before that we were always making changes, making it harder to learn.”
A win came at VIR in race two of the year, which Audette underlined as a great weekend, finishing fourth a day earlier in a race that saw pitstops for rain tires.
A month later he also somehow recovered from a disastrous start at Atlanta to finish in the top five and snag valuable points.
A sweep of Watkins Glen in June was one of Audette’s main notables for 2011, passing both Chris Livengood and Tim Minor for the win on Sunday morning. Now, Watkins Glen is one of his favorite tracks.
At Mid-Ohio, the No. 21 wasn’t in its usual position in the front of the field, but Audette brought home more points salvaging a fifth place on Friday and his worst result since 2009, seventh, on Saturday.
Weeks later, Audette would win on home turf in Canada in front of a huge ALMS crowd, and dominated the sports pages of the Toronto Star, also taking part in a media event that saw the No. 21 sitting on the streets in Toronto.
The Canadian navigated around first-turn front-of-the-field drama that seemed to involve everyone except for him for win number four at Mosport, a feat that would happen again two months later at Lime Rock.
“The biggest challenge this year has been Kyle (Connery),” explained Audette. “He has been very fast.” And while Connery did pose an early Championship threat to Audette, a number of crashes left Connery without strong points finishes. While Audette was able to do well every where, consistently finishing at the pointy end of the field.
“What motivates me to do well all weekend are the objectives we set. We want to finish both races with a certain amount of points,” explained the Canadian. “The objectives are strict, and while I don’t look at them right before the race, they are in the back of my head.”
For the mandatory “what’s going on for 2012?” section, Audette said he doesn’t know yet. Options range from a partial season in F2000, a full-effort to defend his title, to various Star Mazda one-offs in Canada, to racing touring cars with his brother.
He stressed that the family door business is important, where he is involved in research and development for steel, wood and interior doors for the biggest door manufacturer in Canada.
“F2000 is the best series we’ve ever run,” Audette added. “It’s professional and there is no B.S. This is the first series we’ve raced in where there aren’t any politics going on.”
So, it’s all about the racing.