Audi celebrated motorsport experience last week with its opening of the world’s first Audi Sport Center in Abu Dhabi and a weekend event in Dubai for Emirati ladies to experience Audi sports cars.
The first stand-alone showroom in the world, dedicated to Audi Sport was opened in Abu Dhabi with seven more Audi dealerships in the region poised to house the exclusive facility in their showrooms soon. The new Audi Sport Center will set apart the men from the macho men by showcasing Audi Sport RS and R models only, and offers customers the opportunity to fully personalize their Audi Sport models.
The Audi Sport Center was inaugurated by Audi Sport CEO, Stephan Winkelmann and H.E. Ali Bin Khalfan Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri, founder and Chairman of family council Ali and Sons. The Center is located in Al Sawari Tower A on Corniche Road. 370 Audi Sport dealers worldwide have signed on and the number is expected to reach 700 by the end of 2017. The seven in the Middle East are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Lebanon.
All high-performance models of Audi will now be unified under Audi Sport. The new performance brand emphasizes the close link between motorsports and the road and exemplifies the transfer of racing technology into current models. The pillars of Audi Sport are Motorsport, Performance Models, Merchandising and Audi exclusive.
Motorsport has been Audi’s testing grounds for innovations like quattro, e-tron & ultra. It has bred legends like Walter Roehrl and Tom Kristensen. Kristensen, Audi Sport brand ambassador and nine-times Le Mans winner, was present at the event and also at Dubai Autodrome earlier in the day where he took to the track in an Audi Sport R8 LMS race car to kick-start the launch.
Audi Sport experience for Emirati Ladies
If driving is the most ubiquitous yardstick for gender equality, there are several woman drivers who have proven themselves to be ‘more equal’ than men when it comes to racing. Even the BBC Top Gear team, once an archetypal coop of male chauvinism, now includes a woman who goes by the nickname of ‘the fastest taxi driver in the world’!
On a more everyday scale, more and more sports cars are being sold and more and more women are getting behind their wheels, and this is true for Audi as well. Over 17,000 new Audi sports cars took to the road – and track – in 2015; the brand has doubled its sports car sales in the past 5 years. In the Middle East, (without counting KSA sales) it has expanded by 32% in the past year, while the flagship R8 Coupé has grown by 133%.
Behind those darkened windows, you will find a woman driver and Audi is encouraging many more to take control of its mean machines. The event in Dubai Autodrome was a perfect introduction to the power and prowess of cars like Audi R8 and Audi TT, for the invited group of Emirati ladies.
There was excited anticipation in their conversation, and shortly after a briefing, they were handed over the control of these cars with an instructor assigned with the task of helping them make the most of the track. Instead of squeals and frightened screams that one usually hears in track events, here was the display of steady grit and enthusiasm from a bunch of aficionados! Of course, the squeals of excitement wouldn’t be muffled, too.
Steeping out of an Audi R8 was Amjaad AlSalmi, the Emirati entrepreneur who conceived the event for Audi. She is a driving enthusiast and owns a Porsche Panamera. Among Audi sport cars, she loves the R8. Well, no marks for guessing that!