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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.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have 10,000 fans for IndyCar races

Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have crowds for its NTT IndyCar Series race weekend next month, the first time fans are allowed at the track this year.

The track announced Friday that up to 10,000 fans will be allowed in the grandstands daily from Oct. 1-4. The IndyCar Harvest GP race doubleheader will be held on the track’s road course Oct. 2-3.

IMS has played host to several events this year without fans, including the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 and a NASCAR-IndyCar weekend July 4-5 that included the Brickyard 400. Plans originally were made to have fans at the Indy 500 before reversing course a few weeks ahead of the race. In a letter last month, Roger Penske vowed that fans would return for the 2021 Indy 500.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS president Doug Boles said in a release. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

Fans will undergo temperature screenings upon entry and also be required to wear face coverings at all times on property. The track said each attendee will receive a mask and bottle of hand sanitizer.

Here’s the release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 – For the first time in 2020, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome fans to the Racing Capital of the World for the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR weekend. Up to 10,000 spectators can be in the grandstands each day of racing action Oct. 1-4, per approval from the Marion County Public Health Department.

Tickets are available now via IMS.com and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

The massive facility, which holds more than 300,000 people, will provide two spectator zones with up to 5,000 fans in each. The zones will be located in Turns 1 and 4 of the oval, offering strong sightlines of the road course. Strict health and safety rules will be in place, including the following:

  • Face coverings must be worn throughout the property at all times;
  • All fans will receive temperature screenings before gate entry;
  • Grandstand seats will be marked for distancing;
  • Attendees must use pre-assigned gates and remain in their designated zones.

Global Medical Response, the world leader in compassionate, quality emergency medical and patient relocation services, will be the presenting sponsor of the penultimate weekend of INDYCAR racing this season.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

The plan, which includes each attendee receiving a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer upon entering the track, was developed in consultation with state and local health officials.

This event weekend is highlighted by an NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader, with races Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3. It will be the penultimate event of the series’ season as the field pursues the champion’s prestigious Astor Challenge Cup to be awarded Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The INDYCAR Harvest GP will pay tribute to a storied IMS event, the Harvest Classic in September 1916. The Harvest Classic was the only racing event held outside of May at IMS from 1911 through 1993. The event featured three races, all won by legendary driver Johnny Aitken.

Fans also will see a host of facility improvements during the event weekend, including more than 30 new LED video boards, refreshed concession stands and restrooms, and 5G wireless connectivity throughout the facility.

The first race will air at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, Oct. 2 on the USA Network. NBC will broadcast the second race at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Oct. 3, with WTHR-13 airing the action live in Central Indiana.

Also racing that weekend will be the first pairing of two major sports car series — the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli and its North American counterpart, GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. Former Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ryan Briscoe is among the drivers in the Indianapolis 8 Hour event held Sunday, Oct. 4.

The event also will showcase drivers in SRO America’s Pirelli GT4 America, GT Sports Club America and the TC America series.

The full on-track schedule is available at IMS.com.