© Getty Images

Report: Ullrich to step down as Audi head of motorsport after 2016

4 Comments

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich is set to step down from his position as Audi’s head of motorsport at the end of 2016, according to a report from Sportscar365.

Ullrich has overseen Audi’s motorsport interests since 1999, playing an integral part in its dominance of endurance racing over the past two decades.

However, with Audi calling time on its involvement in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the end of the year, Ullrich will also be stepping down from his position.

The 66-year-old will hand the reins over to current head of DTM at Audi, Dieter Gass, before retiring at the end of 2017.

“This was planned for quite some time. It needed to be organized with the board and we have not officialized it, but that’s what we’re going to go for,” Ullrich is quoted as saying by Sportscar365.

“The good thing on this decision is that we now have one year to build Audi Sport the way it’s orientated for the new program.

“And maybe when I go, he has it in his hands and not needs to do it alone.”

Audi’s efforts will now be focused on Formula E, where it is set to step up its involvement to a factory level as of the fourth season, which is due to start in the fall of 2017.

Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

PRACTICE CHART: Click here to see the speed rundown from Thursday’s session

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at Ground Zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.