Press conference with Audi driver Mattias Ekström

Mattias Ekström would like to personally inform you of what the program of the two-time DTM Champion and World Rallycross Champion will look like in the 2018 season.

Press conference at Red Bull Hangar-7
At Salzburg Airport
On Monday, January 29, 2018 starting at 1:00 PM

The 39-year-old Swede has been driving for Audi since 1999 and supported by Red Bull since 2001. In the DTM, Mattias Ekström has contested 193 races in total. Two championship titles (2004 and 2007), 23 race victories, 20 pole positions and 23 fastest race laps have made him the most successful Audi DTM campaigner of all time. In parallel, Ekström has been competing in the World RX with his own team, EKS, since 2014. In 38 rounds contested to date, he has celebrated ten victories and made it into the final of the top six on 28 occasions so far. His greatest success has been the World RX title in 2016.

Good ideas from employees: AUDI AG saves approximately €108.6 million in 2017

Audi places importance on quick and lean processes in its ideas management: Experts from the relevant departments examine the employees’ suggestions at headquarters and decided directly on implementation. An online tool informs the employees about how the process is progressing and ensures maximum transparency. An internal ideas agency accompanies and advises the employees. The Audi employees receive financial rewards from the company for suggestions that are implemented, the amount of which depends on the savings achieved.

“We always encourage our employees to look very closely at their own working area and to question the status quo,” stated Joachim Kraege, Head of Organization and Consulting at AUDI AG, “because the creativity and inventiveness of everyone at Audi are crucial success factors for us.” Klaus Mittermaier, Chairman of the Group Works Council at AUDI AG: “It is our workforce that makes the long‑term success of our brand possible. The Audi Ideas Program shows that very clearly. So it’s very important to us as members of the Works Council that our colleagues personally profit from their improvement suggestions.”

Often it is apparently small, unspectacular ideas from one’s own working area that improve processes, avoid waste or make work easier. For example, two auto‑mechatronics apprentices had the idea of marking torque‑wrench sockets green and red. The color system eases the fitting of the sockets, prevents the wrong use of the tool and therefore saves time.

Thanks to the idea of two employees in engine development, Audi saves approximately €100,000 each year. The two maintenance workers noticed that the ventilation systems in their buildings were operating day and night. Their suggestion: reducing the fans’ speed when no‑one is present. Meanwhile, the ventilation systems are switched on during the week only from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m.

In the area of quality assurance, three employees improved the method of measuring car doors: They reduced the time required to adjust the measuring instruments from 34 to just 18 minutes for each door. As a result, they and their colleagues save 200 working hours each year, in which they can now concentrate on other tasks.

There has been an employee suggestion scheme at Audi for 50 years now, and the Ideas Program has existed in its current form since 1994. The Audi Group has established ideas programs also at its other plants in Europe. In Győr and Brussels, the company implemented more than 10,100 employee suggestions in 2017 and thus saved approximately €33 million.

Audi Smart Energy Network pilot project: eco-electricity intelligently managed

As part of a research project, Audi is running a pilot project with households in the Ingolstadt area and the Zurich region in conjunction with other partners. This involves combining various sizes of photovoltaic systems with stationary storage batteries. The control software by the Zurich start-up company Ampard distributes the solar power intelligently based on the current or plannable demand from car, household and heating system. A unique feature of the pilot project is that it also interacts with the power grid: Over a built-in communication interface, all systems are interconnected to form a virtual power plant, and constitute a smart grid.

The connected home storage devices can provide what is known as balancing power. In other words, they balance out the fluctuations between power generation and consumption, and stabilize the grid frequency by temporarily storing smaller amounts of energy in stationary units at short notice. This optimizes internal consumption: Operators of photovoltaic systems increase their proportion of own-use solar power while cutting their power procurement costs.
“We are looking at electric mobility in the context of an overall energy supply system that is increasingly based on renewables. We are playing a pioneering role with the prequalification of the balancing-power market – enabling producers to feed power into the grid, as part of the pilot project. That is now for the first time also possible down at the level of individual households, which helps balance the entire power grid,” remarked Dr. Hagen Seifert, Head of Sustainable Product Concepts at Audi.

As part of its quest for emission-free premium mobility, Audi is also looking at services that extend beyond the automobile as a product. One important aspect is the interrelationship between all those areas of life where the car meshes seamlessly with a connected environment. There is particular focus on services that involve interaction between car and environment. 

Audi Sport to start 2018 season in America and Australia with strong customer teams

In Australia, Audi will be battling for overall victory seven days later. In 2011 and 2012, customer teams supported by Audi Sport customer racing won the 12-hour classic on the Bathurst race track with the Audi R8 LMS. The challenging roller coaster circuit 200 kilometers west of Sydney will open the 2018 Intercontinental GT Challenge. Rounds in Europe, Asia and North America complete the calendar. Audi in 2016 and 2017 was the overall winner in the drivers’ and manufacturers’ classifications. This year, the four rings are tackling the defense of both titles. 

Eight GT3 race cars are taking on the challenge in Australia. Team Valvoline Jamec Pem Racing will be on the grid with five Audi Sport drivers, Kelvin van der Linde, Frédéric Vervisch, Christopher Haase, Christopher Mies and Markus Winkelhock, plus local touring car ace Garth Tander. Audi Sport Team WRT is contesting a race in Australia for the first time. One of the two cockpits will be shared by Audi Sport campaigners Robin Frijns and Dries Vanthoor with Blancpain GT Sprint Champion Stuart Leonard. At the wheel of the second WRT Audi will be last year’s FIA WEC GT Am Trophy winners Mathias Lauda, Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy together with local hero Will Davison. Three privateer teams from Australia and one from New Zealand are completing the circle of Audi’s customer teams at Bathurst. “This puts us in a good position in America and in Australia for the next two endurance races,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. 

Driver lineups

Daytona GT3

Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS
Andrew Davis/Andy Lally/John Potter/Markus Winkelhock (USA/USA/USA/D)

Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi R8 LMS
Kelvin van der Linde/Sheldon van der Linde/Christopher Mies/Jeffrey Schmidt (ZA/ZA/D/CH)

Daytona GT4

GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4
Daren Jorgensen/Cameron Lawrence/Rick Parfitt Jr. (USA/USA/USA)

GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4
Andrew Davis/George Kurtz/James Sofronas (USA/USA/USA)

CarBahn Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GT4
Sameer Gandhi/Tyler McQuarrie/Mark Siegel/Jeff Westphal (USA/USA/USA/USA)

Daytona TCR

eEuroParts Audi RS 3 LMS
Lee Carpentier/Kieron O’Rourke (USA/USA)

Compass Racing Audi RS 3 LMS
Rodrigo Sales/Kuno Wittmer (USA/CDN)

Compass Racing Audi RS 3 LMS
Roy Block/Pierre Kleinubing (RA/BR)

Compass Racing Audi RS 3 LMS
Britt Casey Jr./Tom Long (USA/USA)

JDC Motorsports Audi RS 3 LMS

Murillo Racing Audi RS 3 LMS
Matt Fassnacht/Justin Piscitel (USA/USA)

RS Werkes Audi RS 3 LMS
Don Istock (USA)

Bathurst GT3

Valvoline Jamec Pem Racing Audi R8 LMS
Kelvin van der Linde/Garth Tander/Frédéric Vervisch (ZA/AUS/B)

Valvoline Jamec Pem Racing Audi R8 LMS
Christopher Haase/Christopher Mies/Markus Winkelhock (D/D/D)

Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS
Robin Frijns/Stuart Leonard/Dries Vanthoor (NL/GB/B)

Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS
Paul Dalla Lana/Will Davison/Pedro Lamy/Mathias Lauda (CDN/AUS/P/A)

Supabarn Audi R8 LMS
James Koundouris/Theo Koundouris/Duvashen Padayachee/Ash Walsh (AUS/AUS/AUS/AUS)

Hallmarc Audi R8 LMS
Marc Cini/Dean Fiore/Lee Holdsworth (AUS/AUS/AUS)

Daniel Gaunt/Ash Samadi/NN (NZ/AUS)

International Motorsport Audi R8 LMS
Richard Bagnall/Matt Halliday/Jonny Reid (NZ/NZ/NZ)

– End –

Audi Anniversary Dates 2018

Sixty years ago, Auto Union GmbH, as it was then called, began construction of a new production facility in Ingolstadt. From it arose the most modern European automotive factory of its day. One year later the first DKW Junior rolled off the assembly line.

Ten years later, in 1968, the team in Ingolstadt presented the Audi 100. This predecessor of the Audi A6 brought Auto Union GmbH into the upper mid-class. The Audi 100 became a trailblazer for the success of today’s AUDI AG.

Thirty years ago, in 1988, the Four Rings finally took the first step into the premium class – with the Audi V8 . Ten years later, in August 1998, another milestone of the company’s history arrived at the dealers: the Audi TT Coupé. Now in its third model generation, the TT continues to thrill customers today.

Other data from the history of Audi worth remembering this year:
150 years ago – Birth of August Horch; 80 years ago – Auto Union Grand Prix type D racing car; 80 years ago – Death of Bernd Rosemeyer; 40 years ago – Audi 80 B2; 30 years ago – Audi 200 TransAm; 25 years ago – Audi Space Frame (ASF); 25 years ago – establishment of Audi Hungaria Motor Kft.

An overview and further information can be found in the digital Anniversary Booklet online at the Audi MediaCenter.