Smart Factory Hackathon: coding for Audi’s production of the future

With their specialized knowledge of various subjects ‑ including IT, mathematics, business administration or communication design ‑ participants in the Smart Factory Hackathon will take on real‑life tasks from the areas of production and logistics in groups of three to five persons. With the use of anonymized data sets, they will work out solutions and generate real application cases. They will have 25 hours to do so, as a reminder of Audi’s 25th hour – the extra hour that drivers will gain in the future with autonomous cars. The participants will be able to consult Audi production and IT experts for advice. The tasks will focus on the key issues of big data, machine learning, deep learning and artificial intelligence. “Together with students and young professionals, we provoke some radical ideas with our Smart Factory Hackathon. This results in completely new approaches to complex problems. The goal of the Hackathon is to jointly implement the prototypes that are developed in reality,” explains the organizer of the competition, Kathrin Schwinghammer.

The first day of the event starts with an introduction to the Hackathon tasks and an individual tour of the plant that is adapted accordingly. The starting signal for the Hackathon will be given the next day. After the 25 hours, a jury will assess the proposed solutions in terms of their technical methodology, implementation, added value and potential. The teams will then make short pitches of their ideas to the public and the jury. These pitches will also have an effect on the final assessment. The rankings of the jury and the public will have equal weightings in deciding the winner.

The premiere of the Audi Smart Factory Hackathon in October 2016 was a great success. 16 teams from all over the world took part and developed software solutions for the factory of the future within 24 hours. Audi is currently following up about two thirds of the ideas and gradually integrating them in production in cooperation with the teams. One example is the idea of the winning team in 2016, Happy Unicorns. The Austrians developed a system for container management that allows the automated recognition, counting and classification of transport containers, and they are now implementing it together with their company as an Audi supplier.

For all creative minds that have some experience with coding and would like to take on new challenges: Applications for the Audi Smart Factory Hackathon 2017 can be submitted until September 1, the number of participants is limited. Please apply online at or

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Customer racing success in America and Australia

Audi RS 3 LMS (TCR)

Two trophies for an Audi customer team: Paul Holton continued his string of podium results in the Pirelli World Challenge. The American took two second place finishes in the Touring Car Class with an Audi RS 3 LMS from the C360R team at the Lime Rock circuit in Connecticut.

Win in Russia: At the second round of the TCR Russia, two Audi drivers stood on the podium. Irek Minnakhmetov reached second place in the first sprint at the Smolensk Ring in an Audi RS 3 LMS, while Dmitry Bragin won the second race.

Dates for next week

02–03/06 Detroit (USA), Weathertech SportsCar Championship 5th round

02–04/06 Zolder (B), Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup 3rd round

02–04/06 Misano (I), Italian GT Championship 3rd and 4th round

02–04/06 Misano (I), TCR Italy 3rd and 4th round

03–04/06 Zolder (B), TCR Benelux 11th – 15th round

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Audi and Ekström from hunted to hunter

To mark the 50th anniversary of rallycross at the Lydden Hill Race Circuit, Ekström and his team mates Toomas Heikkinen und Reinis Nitišs experienced a weekend with several obstacles. “I started well and held third place consistently in the qualifying sessions behind the strong Polos,” said Ekström. “In the semi-final, things weren’t quite right, which is why I had to start the finale from the third row.” After making a good start and a thrilling battle with Sébastien Loeb, a tire failure dropped the Swede down the order. At the end, he finished fifth. “We have to be honest. Winning here was never on the cards, but a podium finish was. But to achieve this, everything would have had to run perfectly.”

Ekström also lost the overall lead in South East England. The Swede had topped the standings for 253 days across two seasons. The former hunted has now become the hunter. “I’m only four points behind Johan Kristoffersson,” said Ekström. “In rallycross things can change very quickly. It’s possible to score 30 points on a weekend. We’ll be back and will attack from the word go at the next round in Norway.”

Toomas Heikkinen qualified for the semi-final for the fifth time this season, but missed the final after finishing sixth. “The semi-final is always the minimum goal. It’s disappointing that it wasn’t quite enough again this time, but the engine failure on Saturday had me playing catchup immediately,” explained the Finn. Nitišs fared much worse and as 16th overall was demoted to spectating after qualifying. “I’ll have to forget this weekend quickly and look forward. I have fond memories of Norway.” In Hell in 2014, Nitišs at the age of 18 years and 181 days became the youngest driver to date to win a World Championship round in the Supercar Class. The sixth round of the season is held on June 10–11.

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Fourth victory for the Audi R8 LMS in the Nürburgring 24 Hours

Audi Sport Team WRT had to be satisfied with third place in the end. Following the setback of Audi Sport Team Land, the Belgian team with drivers Marcel Fässler/Robin Frijns/Nico Müller/René Rast (CH/NL/CH/D) looked like the sure winners, but they lost the game of tire poker: The team first changed to slicks and then later made the final change to rain tires. 

Phoenix Racing, with another Audi R8 LMS, delivered another result within the top twenty finishers, following a comeback drive. After damage suffered due to an accident, the team fell back to as low as 79th place. Dennis Busch/Nicolaj Møller Madsen/Mike Rockenfeller/Frank Stippler (D/DK/D/D) fought back to 19th. The private customer team, Car Collection Motorsport, was satisfied to have finished the race, too. The amateur drivers Klaus Koch/Lorenzo Rocco/Ronnie Saurenmann/Jan-Erik Slooten (D/I/CH/D) finished in 27th place. Another privateer team added a class victory to the Audi Sport customer racing success story. LMS Engineering won the SP 3T class with drivers Ulrich Andree/Daniela Schmid/Christian Schmitz/Stefan Wieninger, who drove an Audi TT RS.

Two debuts brought Audi’s customer racing program more valuable results: The Bonk Motorsport team with the Audi RS 3 LMS, which was racing at the Nürburgring 24 Hours for the first time, finished in second and third place within the TCR class. The Audi R8 LMS GT4 also completed its first race. Audi Sport Team Phoenix crossed the finish line in third and fifth in the SP-X class with the production-based sports car.

“With temperatures of more than 25 degrees Celsius and a rain shower in the final phase, we have experienced one of the toughest, fastest and most dramatic races in history,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. Having driven 158 laps, the winners completed only one lap fewer than the record distance covered by Audi in 2014. “Audi was the dominant brand, leading the race for 143 laps – corresponding to 90 percent of the race. My utmost congratulations go to all of the customers, team members and drivers, who have made this result possible. This success was achieved in dramatic fashion, and it will certainly go down in the motorsport history books.”

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Third victory for Philip Ellis in the Audi Sport TT Cup

Guest starter Johnny Cecotto delivered an eye-catching performance in the Eifel. The 61-year-old former motorcycle world champion, who still has many fans in Germany and has signed many autograph cards, reached seventh place. Behind him, Mike Beckhusen crossed the line after a strong fight-back. The 17-year-old German had started from 14th and fought his way through to eighth.

“We have just witnessed a very competitive race at the Nürburgring with many overtaking maneuvers,” said Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “The variety on the podium shows that we have a wealth of talent on the grid. This is how it should be – long may it continue.”

The round on Friday was not classified. After an accident involving Tommaso Mosca, race control brought the proceedings to a halt, as the track barriers were too badly damaged. By this point, only five laps had been completed, and therefore less than half of the designated distance.

After a break of five weeks, the races at the Norisring on July 1 and 2 are next on the agenda. The track in Nuremberg is the only street circuit on the calendar, and at 2.3 kilometers, it is the shortest as well.

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