In Brief: Hans Juergen Abt of Abt Sportsline Sits Down for Chat at 2011 Geneva Motor Show
by, 03-08-2011 at 02:47 PM (16203 Views)
Anyone keeping track of Audi’s DTM efforts will immediately recognize one very regular face in the Geneva Motor Show stand of Abt Sportsline. One of the brothers behind the fabled Audi tuning brand, Hans Juergen Abt is also the Team Director of Audi Sport’s Team Abt Sportsline. No surprise, Hans Juergen was on hand at Geneva to help launch his company’s new R8 GT S and the tuning mogul was kind enough to sit down with us for a brief chat. Here’s a quick rundown of what he told us.
<b>On Abt Company History</b>
The Abt company has been in business before there was even a car. In the 1800s the Abt clan was modifying wagons and buggies albeit with less of a high-performance take. However, converting the horse-drawn contraptions to runners for winter use was quite lucrative and helped position the company to be an early adopter of the automobile by the time the carriage went horseless.
Abt’s tie with Audi goes back longer than you might expect. Prior to World War 2, the Abts managed a dealership for Auto Union. Following the war, the Abt family also took on the Volkswagen brand and, by the 1970s, had begun modifying the Volkswagen Golf and racing it in the Golf Cup.
By the time the Ur quattro arrived on the scene, the Abt family was well seasoned in the art of performance so tuning and upgrades for the legendary all-wheel drive coupe came quite naturally.
<b>On the R8 GTR and new R8 GT S</b>
When Abt Sportsline launched the R8 GTR hot on the heels of its own R8 LMS racing team, the brand stated they’d build just 25 of the cars. To this date 20 have been ordered and/or delivered though none have yet sold in the States.
We noted parts like the carbon fiber mirrors appear to be taken directly from the R8 LMS racing program and inquired about the many components that make up the GTR for R8 owners who might be interested in doing some of the changes without buying one of the planned 25. Mr. Abt said items like the mirrors can be sold separately but that others such as the rear plexiglass cannot. As it turns out, the plexiglass requires the carbon fiber rear hatch and rear wing, which also all requires the GTR’s rollcage. A major component set such as this has been reserved only for GTR orders.
<b>On the DTM Coming to America</b>
Hans Juergen Abt is quite excited about the prospects for the DTM coming to America. Organizers of the Grand-Am series announced late last year that the DTM model would be rolled into Grand-Am race weekends by the 2013 racing season and we asked him about it.
Intentionally, we stayed away from asking Mr. Abt to confirm Audi involvement in the series but did ask him what his take was on the American move and if he saw potential for his company in that eventuality. Hans Juergen explained that he saw a lot of potential, be that fielding a team or providing support to an American operation and also added that it should be very good for the series as a whole.
Check out a thorough collection of photography from the 2011 Geneva Motor Show via the link below.
Photo Gallery: 2011 Geneva Motor Show