The Head of Audi Motorsport about the company's extensive motorsport program that begins with the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season opener at Silverstone next weekend.
In 2015, Audi is tackling the biggest motorsport program in its history. Why is Audi so significantly involved in motorsport?
“Motorsport is superbly suited for emphasizing the sportiness of the brand around the world, to enable substantial technology transfer and to provide a growing number of customers with models they can enjoy on the road themselves.”
Last October, Audi Sport moved from Ingolstadt to Neuburg. What are the working conditions like? What’s the feedback of the teams that prepared the new race cars before the beginning of the 2015 season in Neuburg for the first time?
“The teams were as enthusiastic as our own employees. The new environment offers completely different working conditions. The job of preparing new cars is a lot more enjoyable from everyone’s point of view. This has been a unanimous verdict and reflects my feelings too!”
LMP forms the spearhead of the motorsport commitment. How do you view the development of LMP since its formation?
“The development of the Le Mans prototypes is a success story in motorsport. Ever since the FIA has been licensing a World Championship you can tell that interest in this series in international motorsport has massively increased. The regulations that have been jointly worked out are extremely focused on the future. Consequently, manufacturers can demonstrate their technological expertise in motorsport which in turn benefits the customers, as efficient and eco-conscious driving is the direction that is being pursued for road vehicles as well.”
The DTM is the second factory-backed program. How important is the DTM for Audi?
"The DTM is very important for Audi. It’s a very product-related championship and we’re in direct battle with our main competitors in the premium class: BMW and Mercedes. On the race track, you can immediately recognize the base models. These road-going vehicles directly compete with each other in the market place as well. We tackle this challenge on the race track with the RS 5 DTM, one of the brand’s sportiest road-going models."
The DTM weekends have received a new format for 2015. What’s the philosophy behind this?
“We’d like to deliver even greater motorsport to the fans over a weekend. By introducing two races per event the fans are clearly getting more DTM per weekend than before.”