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Green light for Audi Sport
Halo Audi Sport sub-brand rolls performance flagships and racing into one
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14 Aug 2015
AUDI is turning up the boost on its high-performance reputation, with a rebranding that bundles its most potent R-badged vehicles and global motorsport exploits under a single Audi Sport banner.
Signified by a “red rhombus,” the Audi Sport brand now extends from its origins in the German car-maker's racing endeavours, to the flagship range of RS and R8 driver-focused cars through a network of host dealerships.
By the end of this year, 15 dealerships across Australia will have adopted the new brand that Audi says will more clearly connect its successes in motorsport, customer racing opportunities and the road-going RS badge.
Speaking at the high-octane Audi Sport brand launch at Phillip Island this week, Audi Australia managing director Andrew Doyle told GoAuto the new identity adds to its previous efforts in promoting the quattro (all-wheel drive) and RS brands, and its high-performance heritage.
“All the RS products and the R8 now fall under Audi Sport and I think it's a much clearer way of identifying that segment of cars – a really modern and fresh approach,” he said.
“It looks good, it brands well, and we are rolling it out across our dealer network.”
Mr Doyle said the previous campaign to increase the profile of its Quattro brand had been successful, and the introduction of the Audi Sport title would continue the emphasis on performance.
“The brand quattro Gmbh is a subsidiary of Audi AG and quattro is making all of the RS product. There is nothing wrong with the term quattro and that still remains, but we needed a halo sub-brand under the Audi brand to more clearly identify what these range of products are.”
Audi's range of RS Q3, RS4, RS5, RS6, RS7, R8 and imminent RS3 will all still be available at every Audi dealership, but participating showrooms will feature a dedicated Audi Sport corner for a unique retail experience says Audi.
A range of Audi Sport merchandise will be displayed among the high-performance range of vehicles with a sharper and predominantly black interior design framing the brand-identifying red rhombus.
Until now, the Audi Sport banner has been reserved exclusively for its extensive motorsport ventures around the world such as the German DTM, TT Cup, GT, WEC and endurance racing series' including the punishing Le Mans 24 Hour.
Before lapping the iconic Australian racing circuit in an R8 LMS race-car, ex-Formula 1 racer and five-times Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro reviewed his 15-year career with Audi Sport and praised the growing team.
“This is why Audi is so successful because of these people, because of the dedication and I thought, if ever I run a company, I want people like this and I want to be able to motivate people like this. This is the DNA,” he said.
“Since then Audi Sport has changed a lot. Now there are hundreds of engineers lots of new people and I witnessed this growing process. I really hope it doesn't lose this DNA of commitment, of excellence, of pride – and it didn't.”
Mr Pirro explained that the expansion of Audi Sport into the RS and R8 range was particularly relevant given the growing overlap of technologies from motorsport into road car technology.
“The other good thing about Audi Sport is the strong link that we have with the factory,” he said. “They use motorsport to improve the road vehicles.
“In our Le Mans adventure, the second year we won with a direct injection engine and it was a great improvement. From a racing point of view it was a really big step, and then it goes in the road vehicles.”
Audi will continue to compete under the Audi Sport headline in a number of corporate motorsport events, as well as a range of customer circuit events such as the TT Cup and Audi Driving Experience.
The range of track events offers a curriculum of courses for participants to gradually build their experience, culminating in the Race Experience in which customers are trained to drive the vicious R8 LMS race-car.
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