Audi Motorsport Newsletter 41/2015

Leena Gade for FIA Women in Motorsport Commission in Wales

Leena Gade entered unusual territory in Wales. The Audi Sport race engineer for the number ‘7’ Audi R18 e-tron quattro in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) visited the finale of the World Rally Championship in Great Britain. As a commission member, Gade, alongside Michèle Mouton, the president of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission, is active in promoting women in motorsport. At the WRC finale, she familiarized herself with the activities of women in rallying. Prior to the start of the rally, the Briton climbed into the Volkswagen Polo R WRC alongside World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier. “It’s absolutely impressive to see what’s possible with these cars,” Leena Gade said after a short ride on a blocked off gravel track. Gade, as an engineer for Audi, won the Le Mans 24 Hours three times and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) once between 2011 and 2014. Michèle Mouton was the 1982 World Rally Championship runner-up in the Audi quattro.

Mattias Ekström surprises in golf tournament

During the traditional golf tournament hosted by Audi’s partner ABT Sportsline at the ‘Sonnenalp’ in the Allgäu region, DTM star Mattias Ekström caused a surprise on Monday on achieving the longest drive of all the participants. Although, by his own account, he grips a golf club only once a year, the Swede managed a remarkable 227 meters.

Mike Rockenfeller visits Schaeffler employees

DTM driver Mike Rockenfeller visited the Schaeffler site in Bühl. The Audi factory driver, who was competed in the race series in the company’s colors since 2012, signed posters and hats for a good 200 employees and looked backed over the season passed in an interview. Also in attendance was Daniel Abt, who contests the Formula E electric racing series for Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport. Both racing drivers used the trip for a round of questions and answers on the Schaeffler Twitter account.

Biela/Molina on the podium again

For the second time in succession, Frank Biela and Miguel Molina took second place with a 1:24 scale Audi R8 LMS in the 24 Hours of Hamburg for slotcars. It was the seventh consecutive podium finish for Biela in the traditional season highlight of the RCCO race series. After 5,248 laps, the two Audi drivers were only five laps behind the victorious McLaren-team mag channel racers. The Audi team took the lead during the night and held first place for a long time. Ralf Jüttner, Team Boss for Audi Sport Team Joest in the WEC, finished on podium in third place.

A word from … Edoardo Mortara

The DTM season is over, but a special highlight is still on the agenda from November 19-22 for Audi factory driver Edoardo Mortara: the Macau Grand Prix.

You completed your best season to date in the DTM with fourth place overall. What’s your verdict?

“It was certainly a good season. My fondest memory is of course my victory in the first race at Spielberg. The only thing I was disappointed by was the outcome of the season finale at Hockenheim. I arrived at the track in second place overall with a chance of winning the title, and in the end I lost two places.”

This coming weekend you travel to your favorite event the Macau Grand Prix where you have already won five times …

“Yes, as always a highlight. Obviously, I’d dearly love to add another win to my collection. Especially as the 2015 Grand Prix has the status of FIA GT World Cup for the first time. Consequently, the incentive to win is even greater than before. But it won’t be easy, because we have a qualification race before the main race. Anything can go wrong on this tight and twisty street circuit. The grid is also packed with drivers capable of winning.”

You compete for Audi Sport Team Phoenix and will race the new Audi R8 LMS for the first time. Did you have the opportunity to test it beforehand?

“I tested the car extensively at Le Castellet in the middle of last week. It fells very good. The Audi Sport customer racing engineers have done a great job, because the differences are really big to its predecessor the Audi R8 LMS ultra. I’m already looking forward to drive the new R8 LMS against certain tough competitors.”

Coming up next week

19/11 André Lotterer turns 34 years of age
21/11 Bahrain (BHR), WEC, round 8
21–22/11 Macau (CN), FIA GT World Cup

– End –

Audi Sport customer racing teams win titles in Australia

Nine from nine possible top-ten positions including three victories – following a consistently strong season, it was Christopher Mies who travelled as Australian GT Championship leader to the finale at the Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell, New Zealand. In the first race, the German, who shared an Audi R8 LMS ultra fielded by Jamec PEM Racing with Ryan Millier, wrapped up the title at the first opportunity after taking fourth place. “I can hardly believe that I’m champion. My thanks go to Jamec PEM Racing for the fantastic year in Australia. The championship title is a team success,” says Mies who celebrates his third major GT championship with Audi after winning the 2009 FIA GT3 European Championship and 2012 Blancpain Endurance Series. For the Ingolstadt based manufacturer, it was the second title down under after Mark Eddy’s triumph in 2011.

“Congratulations to Jamec PEM Racing and Christopher Mies,” said Romolo Liebchen, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “My sincere thanks also go to the Melbourne Performance Centre that always prepared our cars perfectly for this extremely competitive series contested by as many as 13 brands. I’m already looking forward to the 2016 season that starts next February. Many customer in this important market of ours are interested in the new Audi R8 LMS.”

Reason for cheer also at Audi Sport customer racing team Wall Racing: Greg Taylor and Barton Mawer won the Trophy class title for non-current cars.

– End –

WEC finale: Audi to battle for third title

Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer, with seven podium places in succession, have maintained their chances for the championship title up to the end. In second place of the standings, they are traveling to Bahrain with a twelve-point deficit, with 26 points yet to be awarded in the island state. “This is arguably the most thrilling season of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The decision will only be made in the final race,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “My thanks for this go to an untiring squad that has never given up, continued to develop the Audi R18 e-tron quattro, and worked hard.”

A statistical characteristic underscores the quality of this title race: no other driver squad has been on podium this year as often as Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer. They celebrated two victories, a second and four third places.

At the same time, Audi is aware of how difficult a feat winning an FIA WEC title for the third time after 2012 and 2013 will be. Even if Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer, as in 2012, were to lead an Audi one-two victory in Bahrain, such a result would not secure success in the championship for them. In this case, the current leaders of the standings, Timo Bernhard/Brendon Hartley/Mark Webber, would have to finish in no better than fourth place for the Audi drivers to claim the title. “We’re going to give everything and hope for a little fortune to still win the championship,” says Chris Reinke, Head of LMP at Audi Sport. “Giving up is out of the question for us – the opposite is true. As long as there’s a chance, we’re going to battle for the title. In tough conditions such as those in Bahrain, quite a bit is possible.”

Audi Toolmaking is the best in the industry

The jury composed of members from the fields of industry, business and research were convinced by the diversity of innovations from Audi Toolmaking ‑ ranging from intelligent tools that independently control themselves to safeguard the precision of sheet-metal parts measured in hundredths of millimeters to 3D printers for the production of metal parts. The jury also praised Audi Toolmaking’s technological capability as well as its financial, organizational and strategic aspects. The result: Audi was voted the winner in the individual category “Internal toolmaking with more than 50 employees” and in the overall competition. This is already the fourth victory for Audi Toolmaking, which means it is the record prizewinner. “Toolmaking has always been one of Audi’s core competences. With our inventive talent, we succeed again and again in pushing the boundaries of what is technically feasible. In this way, we lay the foundation for our high‑quality car bodies and maintain our excellent standing vis‑à‑vis our international competitors,” stated Prof. Dr. Hubert Waltl, Board of Management Member for Production at AUDI AG.

Audi Toolmaking covers the entire process chain of sheet-metal production. The division supplies Audi as as well as other brands of the Volkswagen Group with forming tools and manufacturing equipment. Audi Toolmaking currently employs more than 2,000 people at its current five locations of Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm, Barcelona (Spain), Győr (Hungary) and Beijing (China). “This prize is a great honor and confirmation of our work. As well as factors such as perfection and precision, quality awareness, efficiency and sustainability, our success is due above all to the expertise of our team. It is they who make our Toolmaking so effective,” said Michael Breme, Head of Audi Toolmaking.

The annual award of “Toolmaker of the Year” is an initiative of the Toolmaking Laboratory (WZL) of RWTH Aachen University and the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (IPT). The prize has now been awarded for the twelfth time; one of its aims is to further strengthen the international competitiveness of German toolmaking and mold making. 

Audi continues sales growth in October

“Despite the imminent model changeover with our bestseller, the A4, Audi sales continued to develop positively in October. This once again demonstrates that our business stands on a very solid foundation,” says Dietmar Voggenreiter, Member of the Board of Management for Sales and Marketing at AUDI AG. “We are thus firmly on track to achieving another all-time high for the whole of 2015.”

The new A4 will be launched this week as a Sedan and Avant in the first European countries before celebrating its premiere in the overseas markets in 2016. To date, its predecessor has been the most successful Audi A4 generation ever, with already over 2.4 million units sold worldwide. The company will continue the success story with the new A4 and expects further substantial growth for the global premium mid-size segment. Even before the new A4 arrives at dealers, the pre-orders for the model have already reached a very high level.

Over the past few months both the new Audi TT and the new Q7 got off to a successful start; both continued to grow in October. TT sales rose by 79 percent to around 2,400 units compared with the same period in 2014. Sales of the Q7 grew by 55.3 percent to around 7,600 full-size SUVs. Its new generation is still to be introduced in the large non-European markets over the coming months. In October, sales of the A6 also increased notably (+5.2% to around 24,500 cars) in the top segment. 

Among Audi’s large sales markets, the United States proved the strongest growth engine for the four rings in October too. Audi of America reported sales up 16.8 percent to 17,700 customers in the month. Audi’s cumulative sales increased by 13.0 percent since January to 165,103 premium cars and, as such, performed more than twice as strongly as the U.S. market as a whole. 

In Europe, France (+11.0% to 5,495 cars), Italy (+11.9% to 4,602 cars) and the Netherlands (+30.4% to 1,619 cars) in particular managed in October to build on their positive development over the past few months. Audi also achieved further progress on the Iberian Peninsula: in Spain, Audi delivered 3,380 cars, 7.7 percent more than a year ago, while 881 deliveries in Portugal topped the previous year’s figure by 39.4 percent. In Russia by contrast, following growth in September, October sales returned to miss 2014 levels (-17.9% to 2,155 cars). In total, Audi sold around 67,350 cars in Europe in the past month, 3.4 percent more than a year ago; cumulative sales totaled around 680,000 deliveries, up 3.8 percent. 

In China, Audi delivered 46,763 premium cars to customers in October, down 2.8 percent year-on-year. In the same period last year, the market introduction of the A3 Sedan as another locally produced model, which got underway in fall 2014, created additional traffic at Chinese dealers. From January through October of this year, sales in China were almost on the same level as in 2014: down 0.6 percent to 461,174 customers. In the same period, Audi increased sales substantially in Australia (+19.0% to 19,079 cars) and South Korea (+11.1% to 25,848 cars). As such, the company’s cumulative deliveries throughout the Asia-Pacific region totaled around 549,100 cars, 0.3 percent more than a year ago.  

Sales for

AUDI AG

In October

Cumulative

2015

2014

Change from 2014

2015

2014

Change from 2014

World

149,200

146,236

+2.0%

1,497,150

1,444,874

+3.6%

Europe

67,350

65,146

+3.4%

680,000

655,123

+3.8%

– Germany

23,004

22,905

+0.4%

231,371

220,948

+4.7%

– UK

13,257

12,721

+4.2%

146,827

139,561

+5.2%

– France

5,495

4,951

+11.0%

49,898

48,318

+3.3%

– Italy

4,602

4,112

+11.9%

45,790

41,740

+9.7%

– Spain

3,380

3,139

+7.7%

38,347

34,030

+12.7%

– Russia

2,155

2,624

-17.9%

21,121

28,348

-25.5%

USA

17,700

15,150

+16.8%

165,103

146,133

+13.0%

Mexico

1,165

948

+22.9%

11,388

10,455

+8.9%

Brazil

1,345

1,201

+12.0%

14,394

10,866

+32.5%

China
(incl. Hong Kong)

46,763

48,108

-2.8%

461,174

463,812

-0.6%