Bits & Pretzels Event 2020: Audi offers digital showcase for start-ups and expert talks

Communication as equals, interaction with guests and substantive inspiration for daily work – this is what the Bits & Pretzels audience requires. Audi wants to add value here and has therefore been a permanent member of the innovative Bits & Pretzels community for years. “Whether in the Group or in a start-up: Innovations are driving the transformation. This mindset is firmly embedded in Audi’s DNA – Vorsprung durch Technik,” says Hildegard Wortmann, Audi Board Member for Sales and Marketing. “With Bits & Pretzels as a partner, we are pursuing this clear objective and are bringing together innovative thought leaders from all over the world. This is about progress and fresh ideas as well as about shaping the future.”

During the first virtual Bits & Pretzels Networking Week, Audi is curating six online sessions on the topic of “Living Progress” on September 30 from 4 to 6 p.m. International speakers will analyze topics such as new leadership, brand strategy and business models for the future of mobility and will share their insider perspectives with the start-up community. In addition, the virtual audience will ask questions in real time using a chat function. The speakers will respond directly during the online session. In the Bits & Pretzels master classes, the corporate innovation unit Audi Denkwerkstatt (September 29, 2:20 p.m.) and the Audi Social Media Team (September 29, 2:40 p.m.) will share practical knowledge about innovation methods and building a successful corporate profile in social media.

Since 2014, the Bits & Pretzels festival has been bringing together founders, investors, start-up enthusiasts and other decision-makers from the start-up sector. At the event, entrepreneurs from all over the world meet up to share their experiences and to network. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will take place this year in virtual form. Named the digital “Bits & Pretzels Networking Week,” a live-streamed event in English will run from September 27 to October 2, 2020. Audi has been a partner of the festival since 2018.

Chronological overview of the Audi vertical in the live stream:
“Let’s Talk about Living Progress” on September 30, 2020 (CEST)

4:00 p.m.

“New Leadership? Learnings of leaders in times of crisis and beyond.” 
Hildegard Wortmann (Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG,
Sales & Marketing), Cawa Younosi (Head of HR SAP Germany)

4:20 p.m.

“Brand-new Brand – How do you build a brand to become more valuable?” 
Henrik Wenders (Senior Vice President Brand Audi, AUDI AG)

4:40 p.m.

“Seven digital trends from China that have experienced growth during the crisis”
Christian Balzer & Ming Zhu (Audi China), Marcel Münch (trend platform DONGXii)

5:00 p.m.

“Corporate Innovation Units: How to implement new digital business successfully in the long term?”
Matthias Brendel (Head of Audi Denkwerkstatt), Lennart Dobravsky (Director Research & Intelligence Lufthansa Innovation Hub), MC: Catherine Bischoff

5:20 p.m.

“Mobility as rich ground for start-ups: First-hand expertise on promising chances for new business models” 
Thomas Andrae & Founder Pitch with Nicola Büsse (MOBIKO GmbH), Christian Lang (Chargery GmbH), Jakob Muus (Tracks GmbH)

5:40 p.m.

“Diverse mindsets for added value: The chances of combining start-up and corporate culture. Three key take-aways from living between two worlds”
Anna Trunk (HR Innovationmanagement AUDI AG), Nicola Büsse (MOBIKO GmbH), Nicolai Gropper (Audi Business Innovation GmbH)

Information for editors:
Here is the link for accreditation. Please note in one of the fields that you have received the invitation from Audi. Accessing the link enables your participation in the entire event. You can select the Audi program on the platform itself after logging in.

Comprehensive digital platform for fans of Audi Sport at the Nürburgring 24-hour race

“The majority of the loyal fans have to stay at home in times of Corona and are not allowed to visit the race on site,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “They should now be able to follow our race from their living rooms in a way never seen before. A wide variety of stories and backgrounds, live channels, a great studio show and interactive elements mean that our supporters will be able to immerse themselves in the action like never before.” A livestream including live timing from the qualifying and the entire race provides an overview. Three onboard cameras in the R8 LMS cars used by Audi Sport with start numbers #1, #3 and #29 provide a unique view of the cockpit. Telemetry data and other information complete the live picture. Legendary Radio Le Mans presenter John Hindhaugh will guide through the studio broadcasts from Friday to Sunday. With five-time Le Mans winner Frank Biela and two-time Le Mans winner, FIA WEC World Champion and Formula E Team Principal Allan McNish, he has two top-class experts at his side.

Away from the live area, the digital platform also invites visitors to get to know the environment and background of the race and the appearance of Audi Sport in detail. Many interactive elements allow fans to move through the weekend in a varied way and to get involved themselves, for example via Photo Booth or questions to the racing drivers. 

Effective immediately, Audi Sport’s digital platform on the Internet welcomes fans at

audi-on-track.com

Tribute to the successful R8 LMS: the Audi R8 green hell

“We are synonymous with high performance – in both series production and motorsport,” says Julius Seebach, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “The R8 road sports car and the R8 LMS racing car were designed and developed jointly; around half of their parts are identical. The R8 green hell edition model draws on the proximity to motorsport, while also paying tribute to our legendary victories on the Nürburgring.”

The close connection between road sports car and racing car is also underscored at this year’s 24 Hours on the Nürburgring race. The GT3 racing car with number 1, which is used by the Audi Sport Team Phoenix, is visually adapted to the R8 green hell with its foil wrap in dark green. Nico Müller/Frank Stippler/Dries Vanthoor/Frédéric Vervisch (CH/D/B/B), all of whom have won the race at least once, are the four Audi drivers that will take turns behind the wheel of the R8 LMS. Two-time winner Frank Stippler in particular, who knows the “Green Hell” better than most, has close ties with the R8. He won the 24 Hours on the Nürburgring in a GT3 racing car most recently in 2019. Stippler was involved right from the start during testing of the first generation of the Audi R8 LMS, which debuted in 2009. Aside from his skills as a driver, he also contributed his engineering expertise. Ever since then, it has been hard to imagine the development of customer racing cars and even sporty road models without him.

Exclusive look: Tioman green and matt black foil wrap

The Audi R8 green hell edition model is numbered consecutively and limited to 50 units worldwide. The model costs EUR 233,949.59 in Germany. This exclusive status becomes apparent at first glance. True to the motto “Green Hell” the outer skin is painted standard in dark Tioman green. As an option, however, customers can also choose ibis white, Daytona gray or mythos black. The front hood, the A-pillars, the roof and the rear end are covered partially in matt black foil with a racing look. The doors of the customer cars feature the edition number in large transparent matt figures reminiscent of starting numbers; the “GREEN HELL R8” logo adorns the sideblade and the windshield in gloss black. The matt black styling package adds highlights to the front end, sills and diffuser, supplemented by sideblades, mirror housings and rear wing in the same tone. The surfaces of the 20-inch wheels in 5-twin-spoke dynamic design are also painted matt black. Red details on the rims round off the striking design.

In the interior, the driver sits on lightweight bucket seats with center panels upholstered in Alcantara. The same material is also used on the steering wheel rim with its red 12 o’clock marker, on the hood over the digital instrument display, on the door armrests, knee pads and on the center armrest. Almost all these areas come with contrasting stitching in a blue-green “Kailash fern” tone. The monoposto – the large arc running around the cockpit –, the instrument panel, the door pull handle and door rail as well as the floor mats with their red piping also come with contrasting stitching in this color. The floors mats feature a “GREEN HELL R8” logo.

Sharp performance: V10 naturally aspirated engine with 620 PS

At the heart of the R8 green hell edition model is the Audi R8 V10 performance quattro in its coupé variant. Its sonorous V10 naturally aspirated engine sends 456 kW (620 PS) via the seven-speed S tronic to the four wheels. This power catapults the high-performance sports car from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.1 seconds and on up to a top speed of 331 km/h (205.7 mph). The quattro drive, which splits the power variably between the axles as required, is tailored specifically to the mid-engine layout. A mechanical locking differential at the rear axle further increases the driving dynamics and traction.

The body with its Audi Space Frame design (ASF) is made of aluminum and carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP). The underbody of the high-performance sports car, including the propeller shaft, is almost completely covered with smooth paneling. Two small diffusers in the front area send air through the wheel arches; this also helps to cool the brakes. In front of the rear axle, the paneling integrates what are known as NACA vents, which transport cooling air to the engine and S tronic. The wide diffuser under the rear ensures that the accelerated air returns to ambient speed without causing excessive swirl.

 This suction effect allows the air to flow more harmoniously, thereby increasing downforce. As on a racing car, twin wishbones all-round locate the wheels; the brake disks are made of CFRP ceramic. The Audi drive select system incorporates a Performance mode that allows the key dynamic handling parameters to be adjusted in three stages to the road’s coefficient of friction. The driver can access this function via a satellite button on the steering wheel.

Production: ongoing technology transfer

The Audi R8 green hell is produced in the “Böllinger Höfe” manufacturing facility near the Audi Neckarsulm plant. Flexibility is a high priority at the facility. In addition to the series-production vehicles, the employees also produce the Audi Space Frame for the R8 LMS racing car in the body shop. Given the complex work procedures, this involves an ongoing technology transfer from motorsports as well as a high level of training.

Success story: the Audi R8 LMS at the 24 Hours on the Nürburgring race

The GT3 version of the Audi R8 LMS has been making history in customer motorsport and particularly on the Nürburgring since 2009. In the first three years between 2009 and 2011 the racing car took the GT3 class victory at the 24 Hours on the Nürburgring at each outing. In 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019 it won the overall standings. This tally makes Audi the most successful GT3 manufacturer in the Green Hell in this era. To date, the series-production-based racing car has a total of 13 overall victories to its name at 24-hour races in Dubai, Spa, Zolder and on the Nürburgring. The model has performed equally well in many other race series: Since 2009, two generations of the Audi R8 LMS have won 75 overall driver titles and secured 96 other championship placings around the globe.

The R8 racing car family has three members including the flagship R8 LMS GT3. The R8 LMS GT4, which is much closer to the series-production model, joined the ranks of its flagship counterpart in 2017. Its record of success already includes 18 global titles. The GT entry-level model has been recently updated for the 2020 season. In late 2019, Audi Sport customer racing rolled out a new edition: the R8 LMS GT2. The 640 PS top-of-the-line racing car in the portfolio is aimed particularly at gentleman drivers.

Audi Sport with twelve customer racing cars at the season highlight at the Nürburgring

In the battle for overall victory, Audi Sport itself is relying on three R8 LMS, entered by the Car Collection, Land and Phoenix teams. Phoenix Racing has already won the race five times, Land-Motorsport contributes another win. Twelve professional drivers share the three cockpits. This year, nine Audi Sport drivers will be supported by Audi factory drivers Nico Müller, Robin Frijns and two-time champion René Rast – the three top contenders in the current DTM standings.

Car Collection Motorsport enters two more private GT3 sports cars. Last year’s winner Pierre Kaffer and his Swiss Audi Sport driver colleague Patric Niederhauser are among the international line-up, as are up-and-coming drivers such as the Dutchman Milan Dontje, who learned his trade in the Audi Sport TT Cup, or the Austrian Simon Reicher, who raised his profile in the Audi RS 3 LMS. In its privately fielded Audi R8 LMS, Phoenix Racing relies on the Italian Michele Beretta, this year’s Bathurst 12 Hour winner Jules Gounon from France, the German Kim-Luis Schramm, as well as on Audi Sport driver and last year’s winner Frank Stippler, who alternately competes in the team’s two cars. Finally, the RaceIng ¬– Powered by HFG/Racing Engineers team will start the race with the three gentleman drivers Stefan Aust, Christian Bollrath and Bernhard Henzel, all experienced on the Nordschleife. The three Germans will be supported by the Swiss Audi Sport driver Rahel Frey. She celebrated a class win with Henzel last year.

In the SP8 category, Giti Tire Motorsport by WS Racing entered an Audi R8 LMS GT4. Kari-Pekka Laaksonen, Kristian Jepsen, Jan Sørensen and Roland Waschkau try to continue the success of the team. A year ago, the team clinched second place as the best GT4 participant in the SP8 class. Team Bonk Motorsport completes the circle of Audi customers at the endurance race. Last year, the racers from Münster took second place in the SP3T class. This was already their fourth podium place with the entry-level touring car from Audi in the 24-hour race. This year, Hermann Bock, Max Partl, Alexander Prinz and Andreas Möntmann share the tasks. Three more Audi RS 3 LMS of the Belgian team Comtoyou Racing will be part of the supporting program at the second round of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup. With Gilles Magnus and Tom Coronel, two of the three private drivers of the outfit will come to the Eifel as championship leaders in different classifications.

The 24-hour race at the Nürburgring has been held since 1970, and Audi Sport has been an official partner of the event since 2002, providing twelve official cars this year. 50 years after the first edition of the endurance race, the starting flag will drop on the 25.378-kilometer circuit on Saturday, September 26 at 3.30 p.m. CEST. Comprehensive live coverage by television partner RTL Nitro as well as by Audi itself will bring the race around the clock to the fans, only some of whom are allowed to come to the Grand Prix circuit under strict conditions in the year of the Corona crisis.

The Audi Sport teams in the Nürburgring 24-hour race

Audi R8 LMS #1 (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)

Nico Müller/Frank Stippler/Dries Vanthoor/Frédéric Vervisch (CH/D/B/B)

Audi R8 LMS #3 (Audi Sport Team Car Collection)

Mirko Bortolotti/Robin Frijns/Christopher Haase/Markus Winkelhock (I/NL/D/D)

Audi R8 LMS #29 (Audi Sport Team Land)

Mattia Drudi/Kelvin van der Linde/Christopher Mies/René Rast (I/ZA/D/D)

Audi R8 LMS #5 (Phoenix Racing)

Michele Beretta/Jules Gounon/Kim-Luis Schramm/Frank Stippler (I/F/D/D)

Audi R8 LMS #7 (Car Collection Motorsport)

Milan Dontje/Miro Konôpka/Patric Niederhauser/Mike David Ortmann (NL/SK/CH/D)

Audi R8 LMS #11 (IronForce Racing)

Elia Erhart/Pierre Kaffer/Simon Reicher/Jan-Erik Slooten (D/D/D/D)

Audi R8 LMS #15 (RacingIng – Powered by HFG/Racing Engineers)

Stefan Aust/Christian Bollrath/Rahel Frey/Bernhard Henzel (D/D/CH/D)

Audi R8 LMS GT4 #53 (Giti Tire Motorsport by WS Racing)

Kristian Jepsen/Kari-Pekka Laaksonen/Jan Sørensen/Roland Waschkau (DK/FIN/DK/D)

Audi RS 3 LMS #171 (Bonk Motorsport)

Hermann Bock/Max Partl/Alexander Prinz/Andreas Möntmann (D/D/D/D)

The Audi Sport teams in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup 

Audi RS 3 LMS #16 (Comtoyou Racing)

Gilles Magnus (B)

Audi RS 3 LMS #17 (Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport)

Nathanaël Berthon (F)

Audi RS 3 LMS #31 (Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport)

Tom Coronel (NL)

1-2-3 win for Audi Sport teams in the ADAC GT Masters

Audi RS 3 LMS (TCR)

Third win of the season for the Audi RS 3 LMS and lead of the standings: In Italy, Audi’s entry-level touring car remains on course for success. Eric Brigliadori celebrated his third overall victory this year in the Italian racing series, which has a strong field of 25 participants, at the fourth race weekend of TCR Italy at Vallelunga. The young driver of the BF Motorsport team took the lead of the race from grid position one and did not relinquish it until the eleventh lap. A red flag after an accident ended the race prematurely. Brigliadori made the leap to the top from third place in the standings. After four of six race weekends, he leads both the series’ overall standings and the junior classification. The Audi customer team BF Motorsport is also leading the team classification.

Seventh podium result in Russia: Aleksej Dudukalo remains best Audi privateer in TCR Russia. Initially, the Russian from Lukoil Racing had led the first sprint on the sixth race weekend. On the Nring near the city of Nizhny Novgorod, he had started from pole position in the Audi RS 3 LMS and controlled the race even when it started to rain. Three laps before the end an opponent overtook him and Dudukalo crossed the finish line in second place. It was already the fifth podium place this season for the 43-year-old veteran. After two victories, two second places and one third place, the Russian lies in second place in the standings before the finale in Fort Grozny in October.

Class success in China: Team TSRT achieved a class win at the second round of the Zhuhai Motorsport Association (ZMA) club sport season. Liang Yongchao in the Audi RS 3 LMS decided the A5 class for himself and achieved fifth place overall in a field of eleven participants.

Coming up next week

24–26/09 Nürburgring (D), rounds 3 and 4, FIA WTCR

24–27/09 Nürburgring (D), 24-hour race 

25–26/09 Sachsenring (D), rounds 7 and 8, Spezial Tourenwagen-Trophy

25–27/09 Assen (NL), rounds 5 and 6, Audi Sport Seyffarth R8 LMS Cup

25–27/09 Zandvoort (NL), rounds 5 and 6, GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup

25–27/09 Monza (I), rounds 5 and 6, TCR Europe

25–27/09 Mid-Ohio (USA), rounds 6 and 7, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge

25–27/09 Mid-Ohio (USA), round 7, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

25–27/09 Virginia (USA), round 6, Trans Am

26–27/09 Okayama (J), rounds 5 and 6, TCR Japan

26–27/09 Monza (I), rounds 5 and 6, GT Cup Open Europe