Dealing with the aftermath of the diesel emissions scandal may be commanding a large share of Audi‘s attention these days, but that’s not all it has going on. The German automaker has also been steadily overhauling its performance and motorsport operations.
That effort takes a big (if mostly symbolic) step today as the company rebrands the unit previously known as Quattro GmbH to Audi Sport GmbH.
With its front-line Le Mans Prototype racing program now a thing of the past, the relaunched Audi Sport GmbH brings the automaker’s performance vehicles and racing activities under one roof. Or roofs, we should say, in plural, with 1,200 employees split between four locations in Neckarsulm and in Ingolstadt – with Stephan Winkelmann at the top.
The former Lamborghini chief was brought in this past March, and will now direct the division’s four areas of activity.
Those include Audi’s remaining racing activities, which include factory participation in DTM and Formula E, the operation of the Audi Sport TT Cup, and the sale and support of the R8 LMS and RS3 LMS to customer racing teams. Audi also supports Mattias Ekström’s team in the FIA World Rallycross Championship, winning both the drivers’ and teams’ titles.
The division will also continue to handle special orders through the Audi Exclusive program, and the marketing of Audi Sport merchandise. More interesting, however, is its fourth and largest focus: performance road cars. The division is responsible for the production of the R8 supercar, the S8 Plus performance sedan, and five RS models: the RS3 sedan, RS Q3 crossover, RS6 Avant wagon, RS7 Sportback, and TT RS coupe and roadster.
That’s a big step up from the single model that Quattro GmbH used to produce at a time, but that’s not even the extent of it. Audi Sport GmbH confirmed that it will launch eight new models over the course of the next 18 months.
That will likely include a new RS5 coupe, convertible, and potentially even a Sportback version. It could very well include new versions of existing models as well. But it could also bring additional model lines into the portfolio.
Currently the A1, Q2, Q3, and Q7 are not offered in RS performance spec, and we’d welcome more hardcore versions of each.