New dual leadership at Audi Sport GmbH

“It was extremely important to me that we were able to recruit Sebastian Grams for this important position at Audi Sport,” Hoffmann said. Grams brings valuable experience in the areas of powertrain development and digitalization. As Chief Information Officer (CIO) at SEAT and a member of the supervisory board at SEAT:CODE in Barcelona (Spain), he was responsible most recently for the digital transformation of the Spanish VW subsidiary. Created in 2019 under his leadership, the software company SEAT:CODE is opening up new business areas with purely digital products both for the VW Group and in the external market. “For us, the focus is on shaping tomorrow’s mobility in the high-performance segment as well. With Sebastian Grams and Julius Seebach, we have a young, energetic team that stands for an open, flexible and dynamic management culture,” Hoffmann said.

Grams will be responsible in his role as managing director for the series-production range at Audi Sport GmbH. In addition to the high-performance models, this also includes vehicle customization. In the future, Julius Seebach will increasingly be advancing the strategic realignment of international motorsport activities. He has been with Audi Sport GmbH since 2017, serving as managing director since May 2019. During this time, the AUDI AG subsidiary successfully implemented the largest international model initiative in its history and pressed ahead with a consistent electrification strategy. As part of the company’s transformation, Seebach successfully merged the Audi brand’s factory and customer racing programs into Audi Sport GmbH and developed the new Audi motorsport strategy.

Audi Sport GmbH, which developed out of quattro GmbH in 2017, is a wholly owned subsidiary of AUDI AG with its headquarters in Neckarsulm. It currently employs more than 1,300 people in the regions around Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm. While the Audi motorsport center is located in Neuburg an der Donau near Ingolstadt, the production flagship for series vehicles can be found in Böllinger Höfe near Neckarsulm. Audi Sport GmbH recently completed the biggest model initiative in its history. With twelve R and RS models, it is offering its youngest and largest portfolio ever. And this is pleasing its customers. In the past year, Audi Sport GmbH delivered more than 29,300 vehicles. That is a new high mark and a considerable 16.1 percent increase compared to the previous year. The Audi RS e-tron GT is already in the starting blocks. It carries special significance: The first all-electric RS model, it marks the launch of a consistent electrification strategy in the high-performance segment.

About the individuals:

Dr. Sebastian Grams
Dr. Sebastian Grams (41) was born in Heilbronn and holds two degrees in mechanical engineering and a doctorate from the University of Karlsruhe (KIT). He began his career in the Volkswagen Group with Audi in motorsport. He then held various management positions in Technical Development and IT/Digitalization. His broad experience ranges from high-performance engines and electric powertrains to software development and the introduction of new business models. Since 2018, Grams has been Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Group’s Spanish subsidiary SEAT and a member of the supervisory board of the software hotbed SEAT:CODE in Barcelona, where he played a key role in driving the company’s digital transformation. On March 1, 2021, Grams will become part of the management team at Audi Sport GmbH, headquartered at the Neckarsulm location, returning to his home country – and to the place he began his career in 2000.

Julius Seebach
Julius Seebach (37) began his career with AUDI AG in 2015. He was initially responsible for Powertrain Strategy and Area Management in Technical Development. In 2017, he successfully introduced product line management at Audi Sport GmbH and has since been in charge of the RS 4/RS 5 and RS 6/RS 7 product lines. He has been managing director of Audi Sport GmbH since May 1, 2019. Under his aegis, the subsidiary of AUDI AG realized the biggest international model initiative in its history, pushed ahead with its electrification strategy and consolidated all motorsport activities of the Audi brand under one roof. In addition to his position as managing director of Audi Sport GmbH, Seebach assumed responsibility for Audi Motorsport on December 1, 2020.

Audi México cleans 100 million liters of water

Audi México produces one of the most important models in the Audi Group’s Q category. The Audi Q5 is manufactured in San Jose Chiapa, in all its derivatives and for the whole world except China. All the manufacturing processes of this vehicle are carried out with due respect for the environment; an example of this is the Reverse Osmosis plant which today registers 100,000 m3 of water treated and reused for production.

Water is a vital element in the manufacture of a car. In the production of the Audi Q5, the liquid is used in different processes, such as in the corrosion protection of the body, and in the hermetic tests of the finished vehicles. A clear example of a smart factory is the Paint Shop, which has a specific treatment system for this process.

All the water used in the factory areas is combined with the rest of the liquid from the other processes and social uses such as toilets or kitchens. Every drop used goes through a biological treatment process. At the end of this, quality values are monitored to ensure legal and regulatory compliance.

In addition to biological water treatment, a reverse osmosis treatment plant was built, which has managed to return 100,000 m3 to production, equivalent to 100 million liters of water in just over two years. With this, Audi México is reducing its water footprint in the manufacturing process.

Tarek Mashhour, CEO of Audi México: “One of the important pillars in our Mission:Zero strategy is to incorporate technology that reduces environmental impact in our operations. That is why we built a Reverse Osmosis plant to make the right use of water by closing the cycle with its processing in our facilities, avoiding discharges to the outside”.

The Reverse Osmosis plant has two main treatment phases, ultrafiltration and then the reverse osmosis stage where all the impurities and minerals are removed for reuse in production.

Water for industrial use and water with a high concentration of impurities is obtained from the reverse osmosis treatment. These are reduced through the evaporation ponds built at the side of the plant in order to solidify the remains and manage them as waste in compliance with the applicable regulations. In this way, Audi México avoids the discharge of wastewater to the outside and guarantees the correct use of water by closing the cycle within the plant.

Audi strengthens business in China: First majority interest held by Audi in new cooperation company for local electric car production with FAW

“With the new Audi-FAW company in Changchun, we are further expanding our presence on the Chinese market and strengthening our position as a manufacturer of fully electric premium vehicles through local production,” says Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG and the person responsible for business in China. “In doing so, we are continuing the Audi success story in China and actively helping to shape the transformation of the Chinese automotive industry as it moves toward sustainable mobility.” Local manufacture of the first PPE model produced jointly with FAW is scheduled to start by 2024. Changchun is also the headquarters of the joint venture FAW‑Volkswagen, which Audi has been involved in for more than 30 years and, in addition to other locations in China, already produces models with the Four Rings locally.

Founding of cooperation company with FAW for future success in China

The founding of the new PPE company is officially scheduled for the first quarter of 2021, just as soon as the consent of all stakeholders and the Chinese regulatory authorities has been obtained. “This deepened partnership between Audi and FAW heralds a new era of electrification as the next ‘golden decade’ for Audi on the highly important Chinese market,” says Werner Eichhorn, President of Audi China. FAW Audi Sales Co., Ltd. will assume responsibility for selling the Audi models produced locally by FAW-Volkswagen as well as Audi import vehicles and future cars produced at the joint PPE plant.

Introduction of SAIC as second partner to further boost business on the Chinese market

Through these strategic decisions, Audi is further strengthening its presence on its biggest foreign market. This partnership with FAW will allow Audi to increase the number of locally produced models to 12 by the end of 2021. The models produced by its second partner, SAIC Volkswagen, are set to be introduced in 2022. Audi has so far delivered almost 7 million vehicles on the Chinese market. In 2020 alone, Audi sold 727,358 vehicles in China, the brand’s best ever result in over 30 years of business on the Chinese market.

New Euro 6d emission standard: Audi has converted its model range

The conversion was an organizational tour de force for the company. The challenge entailed using the existing capacities at the test rigs in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm in the best way possible – despite the coronavirus crisis and the lost working hours and production downtimes that accompany it. Currently, 193 models are certified according to the new level of the emission standard, the vast majority of the previous range. A few additional models will follow in the first months of the new year. Nothing will be removed from the portfolio as a result of the conversion to Euro 6d.

Extensive: A4 and A5 family with 58 engine/transmission variants

The approval authorities define a model in this context as an engine/transmission variant in connection with a certain body form. This includes a powertrain consisting of an engine and a transmission that is used in a certain product line – such as a 2.0 TDI with a seven-gear S tronic and quattro drive. Every body variant – such as a sedan, Sportback or Avant – results in a separate engine/transmission variant. The diverse A4 and A5 family has a total of 58 engine/transmission variants.

The Euro 6 emission standard has already been in effect since the beginning of 2015 for new vehicles. Since then, the limit value for nitrogen oxides of 80 milligrams per kilometer (128.7 mg/mi) has applied for cars with a diesel engine. For cars with a gasoline engine, it is 60 milligrams per kilometer (96.9 mg/mi). With each new level of the standard, the European Union has raised the requirements for the measurement methods, measurement cycles, measurement procedures, and boundary conditions for testing. The new Euro 6d-ISC-FCM level of the standard, which has applied for all new vehicles since January 1, 2021, has an even stronger focus on Real Driving Emissions (RDE) than the previous level: The vehicles must now comply with the limits even during these RDE tests, which are carried out on the road under defined conditions. A conformity value of 0.43 accounts for the tolerances of the measuring devices, however. In addition, Euro 6d requires an on-board fuel consumption monitoring system. Audi has implemented this in the form of software in the engine control unit.

The technology: twin dosing and particularly voluminous gasoline particulate filters

Audi made a considerable effort to ensure that the values were under the new emission limits in all conditions. Twin-dosing technology is a key factor for the diesel models for both inline four-cylinder and V6 engines. Audi had already gradually introduced twin-dosing technology to the compact models with traverse-mounted diesel engines and the six-cylinder models in the midsize range during 2020 – such as in the Audi A3, A4, A5, and Q5.

For the models with gasoline engines, the focus was on the carbon particles that are produced primarily in the event of a cold start. Audi started equipping its gasoline models with gasoline particulate filters back in 2018. They are particularly voluminous and reduce particulate emissions by up to 90 percent. Further information as well as animations and illustrations relating to the aftertreatment of the exhaust gas for gasoline and diesel engines can be found in the Tech Focus newsletter.

Global program 2021 for Audi Sport customer racing

“After a demanding 2020 season for global motorsport, we’re making a statement and committing early to a major international program in 2021,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “The Intercontinental GT Challenge as the world’s most high-profile GT3 series is at the heart of this, just like the Nürburgring 24 Hours.” Audi has already won an IGTC title and the 24-hour race in the Eifel five times each. 

Audi Sport customer racing is also watching two other competitions with interest. The FIA Motorsport Games are scheduled for October 2021 at Le Castellet. Teams from Audi already successfully competed in the first edition in 2019 with the Audi R8 LMS and Audi RS 3 LMS models in this multidisciplinary competition, a kind of Olympics of motorsport, held by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). The traditional road race in Macau in November marks another highlight. This GT sports car race has existed since 2008 and was held as the FIA GT World Cup between 2015 and 2019. Audi has already won the competition four times. Most recently, two of the brand’s private customer teams clinched two podium places in November 2020.

This program complements the worldwide commitment of customers. In America, Asia, Australia, Europe and South Africa, private teams as well as importer teams field the brand’s various models with great success year after year. Audi Sport customer racing has been providing drivers from its squad for the corresponding GT3 programs for many years. This applies in particular to teams that enter the GT World Challenge Europe, the ADAC GT Masters and, for the first time, the newly aligned DTM.

This driver squad will again include Audi Sport drivers Mattia Drudi, Rahel Frey, Christopher Haase, Pierre Kaffer, Kelvin van der Linde, Christopher Mies, Patric Niederhauser, Frank Stippler, Dries Vanthoor, Frédéric Vervisch and Markus Winkelhock in 2021. Two young drivers will get a chance to prove themselves for the first time at Audi Sport customer racing in the 2021 season. Dennis Marschall has already shown his talent in the Audi Sport TT Cup in 2015 and 2016. With the Rutronik Racing outfit, the 24-year-old German student from Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen has repeatedly shown top performances as a privateer driver in the ADAC GT Masters over the past two years, including two pole positions in the season that has just ended. In addition, he contested two major international events in the IGTC for the first time in 2020 at Spa and Kyalami. Charles Weerts will also be driving for Audi Sport customer racing in the future. At just 19 years of age, the Belgian is the youngest driver to date to have won the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup in the Audi R8 LMS and most recently finished second in the IGTC finale at Kyalami.

In addition, several of the best DTM drivers will again be part of the Audi Sport driver squad in 2021. Mike Rockenfeller, the 2013 champion, and Nico Müller, the current runner-up, will continue to drive for the four rings in the future. René Rast, the winner from 2017, 2019 and 2020, will contest the FIA Formula E World Championship for Audi. In addition, selected customer racing events complement his program. All three drivers have also strengthened the customer racing driver squad in major competitions over many years. Outstanding successes include René Rast’s victory in the 2014 Nürburgring 24 Hours, Nico Müller’s win a year later, and Rast’s victories in the 2012 and 2014 Spa 24 Hours.

Audi Sport customer racing in the 2021 season 

Single events 

03/06–06/06 Nürburgring 24 Hours

22/10–24/10 FIA Motorsport Games, Le Castellet

19/11–21/11 Macau Grand Prix

Intercontinental GT Challenge

31/07–01/08 Spa 24 Hours 

21/08–22/08 Suzuka 10 Hours 

16/10–17/10 Indianapolis 8 Hour

03/12–04/12 Kyalami 9 Hour