In the past weeks, Mattias Ekstr?m has received plenty of awards and prizes. On top of these motorsport accolades, the DTM champion now enjoys a very special honour: the Audi driver received the Great Golden Badge of the Swedish Royal Automobile Association, handed over by Princess Lilian of Sweden. This award is not presented regularly and is only bestowed on Swedish personalities.
"We want to honour the exceptional performance of Mattias Ekstr?m with this award. Apart from Formula 1, the DTM is the most popular and high-class racing series in Europe", underlines the judges in favour of Ekstr?m.
The 26-year old Audi driver who clinched the title in the penultimate round of the past DTM season having won four races, received the Badge of Honour during a ceremony in the Audi Forum in Stockholm. The late husband of Princess Lilian, Prince Bertil, was known in Sweden as the "Motor Prince". Since his death in 1997, Lilian has kept her enthusiasm for motorsport.
"I am very pleased about this accolade as the prize is not awarded very often. It is something really special," said Mattias Ekstr?m. "The badge is a great reward for a season which was tough but wonderful at the same time. It will get a special place in my home."
Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, one of the guests of honour in Stockholm, shared the pleasure with his driver: "For Audi this is a marvellous feat to have claimed all three titles in our DTM comeback year. I believe that Mattias is a truly deserving DTM champion."
"Due to his driving skills, he has earned the title on his own merits. This accolade shows that he is not only a worthy but a very pleasant champion, too. I am delighted about how much his achievement is being recognized and appreciated in Sweden."
There is not much time for Mattias Ekstr?m, however, to celebrate the award in his home country: the DTM champion and other Audi works driver will sign autographs for all employees of Audi Sport during a visit in Ingolstadt on Friday.