Audi Sport GmbH celebrates its 40th anniversary –

Audi Sport GmbH celebrates its 40th anniversary –

Almost 40 years ago – on October 10, 1983 – Audi Sport GmbH, as it is known today, was founded under the name quattro GmbH, which today creates a sporty and unique image of the brand with four rings. At Audi, cars with red diamonds represent playfulness and playfulness. Commemorative events began at the “24 Hours of the Nürburgring” held May 18-21.

Highlights that represent Audi Sport GmbH such as 40 years of life, more than 250,000 cars built in the last decade alone and more than 400 motorsport names, encountered 20.832 kilometers, 73 bends and a change in height of more than 300 meters of the legendary Nordschleife. – also known as the “Green Hell” – of the Nürburgring. This race track has created Audi Sport GmbH like no other. The track in the Eifel region and the wholly owned subsidiary of AUDI AG have close ties – in racing and high performance cars in the range. Audi Sport has been an official partner of the 24-hour race since 2002 and provides “official cars” to the race organizers.

Since 2009, the Audi R8 LMS has been participating in the Eifel Marathon, one of Audi Sport’s annual customer racing highlights. The customer racing division has been part of the former quattro GmbH since 2011. With six overall victories and three more in the GT3 class to date, Audi is the most successful manufacturer in the GT3 era of classic endurance racing in the “Green Hell “. It is therefore no surprise that Audi Sport GmbH launched its birthday celebrations at the Nürburgring: In this year’s edition of the 24-hour race, the four Audi R8 LMS of the Audi Sport Teams competed in reverse formations to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Audi Sport GmbH, featuring iconic graphics from Audi’s motorcycle history. In the spirit of the birthday, former DTM champions Mike Rockenfeller, Timo Scheider and Martin Tomczyk brought 40 as their entry number. Their Audi R8 LMS from Audi Sport Team Scherer PHX was based on the 1992 Audi V8 quattro DTM.

Due to the demanding characteristics of the track, the Nordschleife is not only a motorcycle challenge, but also a hallmark of the production cars of Audi Sport GmbH. Each new R and RS model completes several thousand kilometers on different circuits in the Eifel during its development phase. “The Nürburgring is the toughest race in the world. It’s a great place for us and therefore a fitting start to celebrate our company’s 40 years in the 24-hour race,” says Rolf Michl, CEO of Audi Sport GmbH and Head of Motorsport at Audi. “The Nürburgring-Nordschleife is considered a mecca for all motorsport enthusiasts. For me, the 24-hour race is one of the best things you can find in motorsport, but the Nürburgring is also important for the development of our production cars. All our models are tested there under bad conditions and are being prepared for production.

Exciting activities for anniversaries

As part of the celebration, various models from the company’s history were presented at °Boulevard. These include the first-generation Audi R8 and RS 4 Avant, the current R8 GT and the RS 4 Avant with the competition package. Another attraction was the electric Audi S1 ​​​​Hoonitron, which the unforgettable Ken Block caused a shock on the streets of Las Vegas in the video “Electrikhana”. And shortly before the 24-hour race, spectators were dazzled by high-performance models from Audi’s sports subsidiary in a motorcade around the famous circuit.

Fans of the brand can also look forward to the festivities at the headquarters of Audi Sport GmbH in Neckarsulm. The anniversary exhibition “40 Audi Sport GmbH – Fascination Meets Performance” will provide an almost complete overview of the history of Audi Sport GmbH from June 14: In addition to the signature models, which include the first quattro GmbH classic car and various models from the customer racing program and various models available, there will also be notable displays from the Audi collection at the Audi Forum Neckarsulm. The exhibition runs concurrently with a special exhibition ‘150 Years of NSU: Innovation, Daring, Transformation’ on the history of NSU’s traditional brand.

Finally, another attraction awaits in the autumn: To celebrate the birthday of Audi Sport GmbH, a rally of red diamond enthusiasts is planned for October 14, in the direction of the Audi Forum Neckarsulm. Audi Sport GmbH invites guests to a special day there. Guided tours and information of the special exhibits, which will be supplemented for the day only with further exhibits on four wheels that are not accessible to the public, will allow visitors to take a fascinating journey through the company’s 40-year history. An on-stage entertainment program will complete the spectacle offered to guests.

In a very good position for the future

“Audi Sport GmbH has written a true success story over the past four decades. With the passion and spirit of the team, many exciting high-performance projects have been developed and brought to production, exceptional customer experiences have been created and great achievements have been achieved in motorsport ,” says Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Technical Development Management Board there. AUDI AG and President of the Advisory Committee of Audi Sport GmbH. “We have a clear goal: to successfully transfer the DNA of four-ring sports into the electric future.” CEO Sebastian Grams adds: “The company has remained true to its spirit over the years, always being brave and daring to do new things. This spirit of innovation still defines us today. We want to create the future of mobility in the high-performance segment in a sustainable and progressive way. .”

Audi Sport GmbH currently operates in four business areas: In addition to the development and production of high-performance models, it is responsible for the brand’s racing and customer divisions. In addition, vehicle customization through the exclusive Audi program and the sale of premium lifestyle collections from the Audi collection are among its core areas. Audi Sport GmbH currently employs around 1,500 people. In 2022, the wholly owned subsidiary of AUDI AG again set a sales record with 45,515 vehicles. With 16 models, the car portfolio is bigger than ever, from the compact Audi RS 3 Sportback and the high-performance SUV RS Q8 to the super sports car R8 Coupé and the flagship electric model, the RS e-tron GT. With the all-electric four-door coupe, Audi’s sports subsidiary shows pioneering spirit in the field of electrification.

Last year, 10,042, or almost a quarter of the cars produced by Audi Sport GmbH, were already models of the e-tron GT family, with almost one in three of them being an RS model. “We want to offer our customers the right offer for all categories. This ranges from the spread of electrification through micro-hybrids to the flexibility of future plug-in performance models to the special experience of driving electric vehicles,” Sebastian Grams explains the strategy of organization. “With the RS e-tron GT, we started an era of pure emotion with electric cars – with the new Audi Sport electric models on the PPE platform, as the first electric performance SUV, we will continue this look. By the end of this decade , the portfolio is set to convert 100% to pure battery electric (BEV) and plug-in electric (PHEV) models. At the same time, we want to increase our expertise in small car models that will make a big impression in the future.”

Audi Sport GmbH is also an important power supply driver for Audi in motorsport. Under his leadership, the first prototype of the Audi RS Q e-tron was created in 2021 for its first participation in the famous Dakar Rally. The self-driving car concept combines an electric drivetrain with a high-voltage battery and a high-performance power inverter that charges the high-voltage battery while driving. The power converter consists of the TFSI engine from the DTM connected to the drive unit from the Formula E as a generator. From 2026, the four rings will compete in the FIA ​​Formula 1 World Championship.

The new regulations are based on a significant expansion of electrification, and the electric drive unit (MGU-K) will be almost as powerful as an internal combustion engine. The high-performance 1.6-liter turbocharged engines will run on sustainable synthetic fuel. An independent company, Audi Formula Racing GmbH, was founded to enter the top class of motorsport.

Frequent changes

When Audi Sport GmbH was founded as quattro GmbH in 1983 with only a handful of employees, no one expected that it would become a manufacturer of high-quality, high-performance cars and a highly successful motorsport program over the next four decades. In the early days, the company’s primary concern was to ensure the protection of the “quattro” name and marketing rights. But since then, the company has continued to grow and open new lines of business. In 1984, for example, he started selling equipment. Since then, products from the Audi collection have made the hearts of fans beat faster. Be it clothing and luggage, or automotive designs, the lifestyle collection enables a complete branded experience.

Eleven years later, another important pillar was added: Since 1995, Audi Sport customers who love unusual things have been able to customize their cars. The options and equipment programs offered only by Audi are important and have always been a guarantee of technical and visual improvement. One of the most unusual cars was probably the Audi ‘Picasso’ convertible with a leather interior designed by the world famous artist.

Another milestone in the company’s history followed just one year later: quattro GmbH officially became a car manufacturer and presented the S6 plus, its first model, at the Geneva Motor Show. In 2007, the brand with four rings launched its first super sports car: the Audi R8, now in its second generation. The GT3 version of the mid-engine sports car was also the starting point for the customer racing program, which has since been further expanded with the RS 3 LMS, R8 LMS GT4 and R8 LMS GT2 models. To date, customer racing cars designed by Audi have won more than 400 titles and numerous race victories around the world.

In 2014, the R8 got a special production line at the Böllinger Höfe factory, which combines a manufacturing unit with a smart factory. In addition to the mid-engined sports car, the top electric models, the e-tron GT quattro and RS e-tron GT, are also designed in a common production method that is unique across the Group. In 2016, quattro GmbH was renamed Audi Sport GmbH. The name Audi Sport is based on the long and successful tradition of the four rings in motorsport.

“Audi Sport GmbH has already run an exciting and highly successful 40-year course. This was and is only possible thanks to the great efforts of the team,” says Rolf Michl. “For us, one thing is certain: to follow new, unusual paths and go further – this will continue to be the hallmark of Audi Sport GmbH.”