Ingolstadt/Hockenheim -- Visits by corporate board members, numerous prominent guests and marketing activities galore dominated Audi's "off-track" presentation at the DTM's season finale.
At Hockenheim, Audi welcomed the largest number of prominent guests in the 2008 DTM season: comedian Django Asul, actress Liz Baffoe ("Lindenstraße", "Tatort") and her male colleagues Bruno Eyron (SOKO Donau), Claus Theo Gartner ("Ein Fall fur Zwei"), Michael Guillaume ("SOKO 5113"), Ingo Lenßen ("Richter Alexander Hold"), Simon Licht ("Baader Meinhof Komplex") and Fritz Wepper ("Derrick"), singer Nisha Kataria ("Hero"), TV presenters Nova Meierhenrich and Tamara Sedmak, ski jumper Dieter Thoma as well as surgeon Professor Werner Mang.
Audi's motorsport team received high-level visitors at the DTM finale. Six members of the management board from various divisions of the corporation witnessed the event live "on location": Rupert Stadler (Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG), Michael Dick (Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, Technical Development), Frank Dreves (Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, Production), Axel Strotbek (Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, Finance and Organisation), Prof Dr Jochem Heizmann (Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Group, Group Production Division) and Horst Muhl (Member of the Board of Management, Skoda Auto for the Production Division).
At the Audi A4 "Drive Away" of the German sales department, 44 managing directors of Audi dealerships and their guests received their new cars during the DTM finale at Hockenheim. Shortly before the start on Sunday, the 44 Audi A4 vehicles completed a lap around the circuit before the guests witnessed the race live at the VIP Hospitality.
In addition, quattro GmbH handed over 33 new Audi RS 6 Avant vehicles. At this Audi "Drive Away" event the managing directors and sales managers of the dealerships also had the chance to do an exclusive lap around the Hockenheimring with the most powerful Audi production cars of all time.
At Hockenheim, paddock visitors witnessed a premiere: more than a 1,000 guests had registered to visit Audi's VIP Lounge. To accommodate them, the biggest Audi VIP Hospitality ever built for the DTM was set up.
In addition to the regular audience at the race, 1,300 Top Service mechanics from the South-West sales region cheered for the Audi squad in the DTM. The mechanics, who had arrived in 25 busses, experienced the race on Sunday from a perfect position directly in a large lounge on the pit lane roof. The Head of Sales Germany of AUDI AG, Jorg Felske, welcomed the mechanics during a speech. In a special fan corner, the employees were easily recognisable thanks to their red Audi caps.
1,500 employees from the Audi plants in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm used the opportunity of the Audi Employee Special to visit the finale. Like previously at the Hockenheim season opener and at the fifth round at the Norisring, Audi now offered their employees this opportunity for the third time this season. An exclusive employee lounge had been set up for this purpose at the Brand World.
Two days prior to the beginning of the race weekend Alexandre Premat experienced the joys of first-time fatherhood. His partner, Cleo, gave birth to daughter Zoe on the 22nd of October. Audi Sport Team Phoenix greeted the new father with various useful items for children -- from a chair, diapers and toys all the way to a "Zoe on tour" sticker applied to the rear of the Audi A4 DTM. The crowning gift, though, was an Audi Mini quattro. To create the car's livery, mechanics of the team had exactly copied the graphics on the Audi Bank/Shell Helix Audi A4 DTM.
For the first time, the two Audi A4 DTM cars driven by Mattias Ekstrom and Martin Tomczyk did not contest an event featuring identical colours of partner Red Bull. At the finale, the German's car was advertising Red Bull's new cola soft drink.
For Thomas Mandl and Hans Augustin, Hockenheim will remain an unforgettable experience. The two guests had travelled to the season finale under the auspices of Best Buddies. Best Buddies is an international organisation dedicated to the cause of fostering the social integration of people with a mental disability. It is supported by Audi. In the DTM, Katherine Legge and Oliver Jarvis represent the colours of Best Buddies. After the qualifying, the two racers personally welcomed the guests from Munich and offered them an exclusive glimpse behind the scenes during a pit lane tour.
Audi's Team Abt Sportsline was treated to a particularly high dose of enthusiasm during the weekend. For Hockenheim, its loyal fans had prepared a special appearance. In front of the Audi Team and Media Hospitality, they welcome all the guests with a huge banner saying, "Timo, you'll make it! Clinch the title! Max attack!" Large green flags ("Timo'll do it") complemented the showing. Scheider cheerfully joined his supporters on Saturday evening and granted their wishes for autographs.
With a nice gesture Christijan Albers thanked his team for the season at the beginning of the weekend. The Dutchman invited his team Futurecom-TME to a champagne reception and, following his speech, treated them to two huge marzipan cakes and presented personal gifts featuring the style of his racing outfit.