Dieter Gass to become new head of motorsport at Audi

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Audi has confirmed that Dieter Gass will become its new head of motorsport for 2017, taking over from Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.

Ullrich confirmed last month that he would be stepping down after 23 years at the helm of Audi motorsport, overseeing 13 victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Audi announced at the end of October that it would be quitting the FIA World Endurance Championship and Le Mans after 2016 in order to focus on Formula E, where it will field a works team in the near future.

In a statement issued by Audi on Friday, Gass (pictured left, with Ullrich) was confirmed as its new head of motorsport from January 1, moving up from his role as head of racing commitments.

“Dieter Gass is going to lead Audi Sport through the upcoming transformation stage and continue to write Audi’s success story in motorsport,” Ullrich said.

“He knows Audi Sport like few others do. From November 1994 to March 2001, he worked there as an engineer – initially in the super touring car and subsequently in the sports prototype program.

“Afterwards, he held leading positions in Formula One for eleven years. In that period, he gathered a wealth of know-how that Audi Sport has been benefiting from ever since his return in 2012.

“Following one year as Head of Racing Commitments and four years as Head of DTM, he is now taking his next, carefully planned step. I will be assisting him in this role in an advisory capacity, but not in the operational side of the business.

“I know that Audi’s motorsport commitment is in good hands with Dieter Gass.”

Gass added: ““The footsteps left by Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich are very large. He was at the helm of Audi Sport for 23 years and is credited with exceptional achievements during this long period of time.

“In addition to the global development of partnering teams and countless championships in super touring car racing, the 13 victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and numerous DTM titles stand out as lasting milestones.

“But I’d be remiss not to mention the development of customer racing at Audi and Audi Sport’s move to the modern Competence Center Motorsport in Neuburg designed for today’s needs. Careers like these are very rare in motorsport.”

Ullrich will remain with Audi in an advisory role until the end of 2017.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.