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Ullrich Wanting to ‘Lend his Support’ to Endurance Racing in New ACO Role

Former Audi Motorsport boss Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich on his new special advisor role with ACO…

Photo: Audi

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich says he wants to ‘lend his support’ to endurance racing in his new role with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, particularly in helping shape future regulations.

The longtime Head of Audi Motorsport was confirmed last week as a special advisor to the ACO, where he’ll work alongside President Pierre Fillon and FIA World Endurance Championship CEO Gerard Neveu, among others, in providing input on sporting, marketing and technical decisions. 

Ullrich, who led the German manufacturer to 13 overall victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, said it was his passion for endurance racing and personal relationships within the organization that contributed to his decision to come out of retirement for the new role.

“We met twice, we talked a lot and I confess that the idea interested me,” Ullrich told Endurance-Info. “I accepted for two reasons. First, endurance [racing] is something very special in motorsports. I am willing to lend my support to this category.

“Another very important thing is the people with whom I have a very good relationship for a long time. Even when I was on the other side of the table of discussions, as a competitor, I always enjoyed our relationship.

“When I made that decision, it was important to work with people I like personally. This collaboration will take a different dimension through this agreement.

“As I already stated, I am proud and excited to bring the stamina that brought me [here] as a participant.”

Despite considerable changes in the last 18 months, with the departure of both Audi and Porsche from top-level prototype competition, Ullrich believes endurance racing is still a strong pillar of the motorsports scene.

The Austrian had been a driving force for Audi’s involvement at Le Mans from the start in 1999, which expanded to participation in nearly all of the ACO-backed championships at various stages, up until its withdrawal from WEC competition in 2016.

“I think endurance [racing] is everything that motorsport can offer,” Ullrich said. “The 24 Hours of Le Mans, but also all the races of six [hours], have become genuine sprint [races].

“I like it because the team is at the heart of victory. Car technology, its preparation and development… If the team has done a good job, they will be competitive in the end.

“For me, it’s the idea of sport and in particular that of motorsport, that I love to be part of.”

Ullrich said his focus will largely be on helping develop future regulations, including the planned overhaul in LMP1 for 2020/21, as well as taking an overall look at endurance racing in general.

“I think I’ll use the contacts I have with manufacturers to discuss my ideas [with them],” he said. “What can we do to create a positive future? This is the question we must answer.

“At the same time, I must also be close to the people who work within the ACO and put the regulations on foot. I hope they will be interested in my ideas and they could [maybe] use one or two [of my ideas] at the time of its creation.”

Laurent Mercier contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Edo

    February 12, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    This great man could save the wec

    • Luna

      February 12, 2018 at 2:00 pm

      Finally someone who understands what to do. Not the arrogant incompetents of the ACO.

      • Jordan

        February 12, 2018 at 4:37 pm

        Fortunately we have the competent leadership of Brian France to save us in the USA.

      • Phil88

        February 13, 2018 at 7:05 am

        It may have passed you by, but the WEC doesn’t need ‘saving’ if we look at the size and quality of the grid. Ullrich was also very much part of the ACO/WEC for two decades.

  2. Haskellb

    February 12, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    He needs to learn this phrase: “Hello wall. How are you today? I am fine thank you. Yes, talking to you is like talking to Fillon and Neveu.”

  3. Mazda Greg

    February 12, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    WOW inteligent move by the ACO, I didn’t think that was possible.

  4. Davy

    February 13, 2018 at 12:14 am

    His first recommendation should be to fire the useless clown Nouveau

    • Phil88

      February 13, 2018 at 7:12 am

      Lots of passive aggressiveness from the Sportscar365 community.

      The WEC is the pinnacle of international sportscar racing, it was always obvious it would bounce back from the Audi/Porsche withdrawals. Enjoy the IMSA series for what it is. The Sportsca world isn’t going to decamp into the US.

      • Davy

        February 13, 2018 at 2:46 pm

        I couldn’t care less who is the pinnacle according to you. IMSA consistently puts out great racing, unlike the WEC. Their boring bastardized tracks put me to sleep.

  5. Sol Shine

    February 13, 2018 at 9:36 am

    Such love for a guy who will no doubt do everything he can to advance the interests of his former employer at every opportunity. Which is the last thing motorsport needs right now, especially WEC. Wake up people, to think he’s not going to favor his old team is just delusional thinking. He has no business being in this position, makes WEC look even more biased than it already is.

    • Richard Reeves

      February 13, 2018 at 10:26 am

      I’m sorry, what delusional period of recent history are you living in? Ullrich ran the Audi program. Audi withdrew from the WEC P1 program in 2016. He has no “skin in this game.” Are you suggesting Audi is about to spring the surprise of the century and return to the WEC as a P1 team because now they have Ullrich in one of the executive drivers’ seats?

      Cite your sources please for this incomprehensible possibility. If not…drop out like a car with irrremedial engine problems in the first hour of Le Mans. We await your sources with, frankly, not quite bated breath. Ullrich has never proven himself to be anything other than an honorable man.

  6. Yahndrev

    February 14, 2018 at 12:03 pm

     Ullrich Vaut wurde einstimmig gewählt und vertrat damit den wegen Krankheit verhinderten Willi Schrudde.

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