Dieter Gass - Photo courtesy Audi SportEnlarge Photo
Audi Sport is extending its leadership team with the appointment of Dieter Gass, 48, in the newly created role as head of racing commitments. Gass is expected to reinforce the group led by the head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich; he starts work on January 1, 2012.
Gass returns to Audi Sport after spells with Toyota's Formula One project, where he worked with current Audi driver Allan McNish, and then with Lotus Formula One; he served as the Lotus team's sporting director in 2010 and its representative to the world governing body, the FIA.
Gass, who has a degree in engineering, worked as an Audi Sport engineer from November 1994 to March 2001, first in the super touring car department and then, from 1999 on, in Audi AG's successful sports prototype program, as a race engineer at the Le Mans 24 Hours, amongst other assignments.
"We're facing a particularly challenging racing season with two high-caliber and intensive programs in DTM and in the new FIA World Endurance Championships, with numerous overlaps of calendar dates, new strong competitors and the development of new technologies," noted Dr Ullrich.
"We gave some thought to areas in which we might be able to benefit from reinforcements, in order to meet the challenges that have continued to grow. One of the results of these considerations is this new position, for centralized optimization of our racing commitments. We've been able to superbly fill this need with Dieter Gass."
Dr Ullrich recognizes the wealth of knowledge Gass gained over the past 11 years in Formula One that "will benefit [Audi] in the future. We never lost touch during this time and I'm very happy that we've been able to get him to come back to Audi now," he said. "He was the candidate we were wishing to fill for this role."
Even during his time in F1 Gass "continued to intensively follow Audi's activities in motorsport," he acknowledged. "I'm looking forward to the exciting projects awaiting me at Audi Sport. The DTM and the sport prototypes are two projects that are extremely demanding, both technically and strategically. With my extensive experience, particularly concerning racing commitments, I'm hoping to be able to contribute my part to Audi Sport's ability to continue its success story in motor sport."
Gass, who studied electromechanical engineering design at the Technical University Darmstadt and did his thesis work on the development of a roll angle sensor for a motorcycle ABS system, is married and the father of two children. He will report directly to Dr Ullrich at Audi Sport.
© 2011 Anne Proffit