There was an important diploma of shock within the DTM paddock when Abt took the covers off its 2024 challenger on the Hockenheim finale final month. A shiny new Audi R8 LMS was showcased late within the night to an enormous hoard of photographers and journalists, with the automobile sporting the well-known blue-and-red livery that has grow to be a definite id of Crimson Bull in motorsport.
Whereas confirming that Abt will proceed its long-standing relationship with Audi regardless of the German producer’s resolution to curbing its GT3 programme, the reveal additionally marked the beginning of a brand new partnership with Crimson Bull, a model that had closely been concerned within the DTM prior to now.
However Crimson Bull’s most up-to-date involvement within the DTM got here largely because of sequence proprietor Gerhard Berger, who wished a significant model to assist promote the championship following the demise of the manufacturer-led Class 1 period. So when Berger bought the DTM to German vehicle membership ADAC on the finish of final yr, Crimson Bull additionally adopted the Austrian by way of the door, leaving a significant gap within the sequence.
No one would have anticipated such Crimson Bull to return to the DTM sooner or later, however Abt has managed to strike a deal to carry the model after an absence of only one season – and at an important juncture because it prepares for a future impartial of Audi.
Photograph by: Alexander Trienitz
Group presentation Group ABT Sportsline DTM 2024, Kelvin van der Linde, Group ABT Sportsline, Ricardo Feller, Group ABT Sportsline
Key to this transaction was Abt’s advertising and marketing head Harry Unflath, who is well among the best folks in your entire trade.
“Harry Unflath is at all times involved with the very prime at Crimson Bull,” Abt Managing Director Thomas Biermaier advised Autosport sister title Motorsport-Whole.com. “He has at all times labored on it. When he realised that the door was slowly opening once more, he instantly obtained his foot in.”
“It is like husband and spouse. You’ll be able to inform when there’s curiosity. After which you need to be there.”
One other main determine within the Abt-Crimson Bull deal was former DTM driver and the crew’s present sports activities director Martin Tomczyk.
Tomczyk drove for Abt in Crimson Bull colors from 2004-10 and continued to hold the logos of the model on his helmet and cap till retiring from the sequence on the finish of the 2016 season.
Additional, Tomczyk acted as sequence supervisor and consultant for Berger’s ITR organisation in 2022 and on this function additionally had frequent dealings with Crimson Bull’s resolution makers.
“In him, we now have a former Crimson Bull driver who additionally helped together with his contacts,” stated Biermaier. “The 2 of them landed this collectively.”
Photograph by: Motorsport Images
Martin Tomczyk, Audi A4 DTM, Audi Sport Group Abt Sportsline
Lengthy-time DTM followers will keep in mind that Abt loved an extended partnership with Crimson Bull from the rebirth of the sequence in 2000 till ‘17, when two-time champion Mattias Ekstrom referred to as it quits to deal with rallycross.
Nonetheless, Abt’s affiliation with Crimson Bull outdoors of motorsport goes way back to three many years, and it continues to supply elements for the corporate’s highway automobile fleet.
“We provide them with the vehicles for the sector service in Germany,” Biermaier revealed.
The Crimson Bull brand first appeared on an Abt Audi within the Tremendous Touring Automobile Cup (STW) in 1997, three years previous to their tie-up within the reborn DTM.
Crimson Bull involvement allows Abt to stick with Audi
Abt’s partnership with Crimson Bull is essential for the Kempten-based firm in additional methods than one. That’s as a result of Audi will now not be offering monetary backing to its prime groups in GT3 racing, decreasing its involvement to a mere provider of spare elements.
The take care of Crimson Bull, together with renewal of contracts with different sponsors, ensures Abt can independently finance the operating of a two-car crew within the sequence subsequent yr.
The brand new sponsorship settlement was introduced at Hockenheim within the presence of Hohensinn, exhibiting the facility Abt holds in Crimson Bull circles.
“There’s positively some compensation [from Red Bull],” stated Biermaier. “That was additionally a decisive motive for us to stay loyal to Audi. For them, it was essential that it was the DTM and that it was Abt.”
Abt had beforehand flirted with the concept of switching to Lamborghini, one other model of the Volkswagen Group, and had even entered a Huracan GT3 on the Nurburgring 24 Hours this yr.
However it will definitely determined to proceed its long-standing affiliation with Audi, regardless of the dearth of a monetary incentive from its associate producer.
Photograph by: Alexander Trienitz
Ricardo Feller, Group ABT Sportsline Audi R8 LMS GT3
Abt’s advertising and marketing head introduced Crimson Bull to Volkswagen
Apparently, Abt advertising and marketing head Unflath, who has held this function since mid-Eighties, beforehand performed a small function in Crimson Bull’s rise in Germany.
Again then, the son of former Volkswagen CEO Carl Hahn had his automobile tuned by Abt and Unflath requested him to talk to his father with the intention to get an appointment with the Volkswagen canteen supervisor.
The plan labored out, Unflath and Crimson Bull’s normal supervisor Robert Hohensinn met with the Volkswagen resolution makers in 1994 and all Volkswagen canteens began serving the drink, which was nonetheless controversial on the time attributable to its results on the human physique.
Crimson Bull proved to be very fashionable with shift staff and it was mirrored within the turnover of the corporate.