German automaker Audi plans to produce eight performance models for the U.S. market in the next two years under a new brand introduced recently at the New York International Auto Show.
The aim is to bring all elements of racing—including its professional motorsports and products geared for retail customers—under one new brand called Audi Sport.
The Audi R and RS models will fall under the Audi Sport brand along with performance parts, customer racing, professional motorsports, and a collection of associated gear such as clothing and accessories. The 2017 R8 V10 Spyder, the RS 5 Coupe, and the 2018 TT RS will all be under the Audi Sport brand. Other models in the Audi Sport portfolio include the R8 and RS 7 as well as the 2017 and the 2018 RS 3, which will launch this summer for the first time in the U.S.
The automaker unveiled the GT4 version of its R8 LMS race car—the newest addition to the Audi Sport customer racing program—ahead of the New York International Auto Show. The R8 LMS GT3 race car was first introduced in 2009, followed by the second generation of this model in 2015, and the RS 3 LMS for the TCR category in 2016.
Audi unveiled the GT4 version of its R8 LMS race car, the newest addition to the Audi Sport customer racing program
“Audi is a brand built on progress, and for us, racing has been the lab where so much of that progress has been made,” Audi of America President Scott Keogh said in a statement. “With the launch of Audi Sport in the U.S., we are excited to offer our customers even more products that benefit from the same developments and technologies first used in motorsport.”
Automakers that participate in professional racing often take innovations developed for the race track and put them—in some form—into production cars. Audi is no different. The company, which has a motorsports history that can be traced back to the 1930s, developed the R8 production vehicle in parallel with the GT3 race car called the R8 LMS.
Today, the R8 LMS shares about half of the same parts with its production vehicle cousin, the R8.
Customers of the Audi Sport brand will have access to exclusive materials for the interior as well as custom paint jobs to let customers personalize their vehicles. These Audi exclusive offerings are available on the A6, A7, A8, R8 and RS 5 model lines.
More than half of Audi dealers have made the investment to become specialized Audi Sport dealers, according to the automaker. Article by Kirsten Korosec, Fortune.com.
Stephan Winkelmann, former boss of Lamborghini, is now the new CEO of Audi Sport GmbH (Audi Sport GmbH: based in Neckarsulm, built on four business areas). Its core business is the manufacturing of the Audi R8 and RS models.
quattro GmbH, established in Neckarsulm in 1983, has been operating as Audi Sport GmbH since the end of 2016. With Stephan Winkelmann at the helm, this fully owned subsidiary of AUDI AG currently has around 1,200 employees.
Since 1983 quattro GmbH, with its headquarters in Neckarsulm, has been building high-performance sports cars and delivering high-tech automotive concepts. And now the Audi subsidiary has changed its name to Audi Sport GmbH. It is built on four business areas. In addition to developing and manufacturing the Audi R8 and Audi RS models, it is responsible for customer motorsport – Audi Sport customer racing. Other areas of business include car customization options via the Audi exclusive program, plus lifestyle articles marketed as the Audi Sport collection.
The name Audi Sport is inspired by a long and successful tradition of motorsport. As far back as the 1930s, the legendary “Silver Arrow” models of Auto Union were the ultimate benchmark on racing circuits worldwide. In the 1980s, the Audi quattro with permanent all-wheel drive proved outstandingly successful in rally competition. Today the brand with the four rings is involved in the World RX, DTM, Formula E, GT racing and in the TCR category. Young racing talent is being fostered in the Audi Sport TT Cup. The production models benefit from developments and technologies first used in motorsport. The Audi R8 and the Audi RS models represent the sporty vanguard of the brand, combining superlative performance with exclusiveness and prestige.
The abbreviation RS stands for the most powerful engine version within a particular Audi model series, for impressive dynamic performance, for understated sophistication coupled with comprehensive everyday usability, and for quattro permanent all-wheel drive. The brand’s RS tradition started in 1994 with the appearance of the Audi RS 2 Avant.
It was a trendsetter – a genuine high-performance sports car with five seats and a large luggage compartment. Since then, quattro GmbH has steadily expanded the portfolio of RS models, which now range from the compact Audi RS 3 Sportback to superior cars such as the Audi RS 6 Avant or Audi RS 7 Sportback. The subsidiary’s focus is to create the most prestigious models in the portfolio of AUDI AG.
The Audi R8 is the pinnacle of the product range. The first generation appeared on the market in 2007 with an innovative vehicle concept: mid-engine, systematic lightweight construction featuring Audi Space Frame technology, and quattro drive. The high-performance sports car provides a typical driving experience, but is also perfectly suited to the racetrack thanks to its optimum power-to-weight ratio.
The Audi subsidiary doubled its sales over the past five years. Over the next 18 months, Audi Sport GmbH will be launching eight new models, which will further consolidate the company’s position in the market. The number of specialized Audi Sport dealers will increase from 370 at present to around 600 by the end of 2017.
Stephan Winkelmann has been Managing Director of the company since March 15, 2016. Audi Sport GmbH has around 1,200 employees at locations in Neckarsulm and Ingolstadt.