|March 9, 2003
STCC - Fierce Competition for the New Audi A4
The predecessor to the current Audi A4 was one of the most successful Super Touring Cars in the world. Even eight years after its debut, there was still enough life in the car to win a championship title: Italian Roberto Colciago clinched the Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC) in 2002 in an Audi A4 quattro for the second time in succession.
Now its successor is on its marks: the racing version of the new Audi A4 which has been developed by Swedish outfit KMS Motorsport with the support of the Audi Customer Sports Department.
In Sweden, new technical regulations come into effect this season. Instead of Super Touring Cars, Super 2000 cars that are being entered in the FIA European Touring Car Championship are now in Sweden. "So we were forced to develop a new car," says team director Tommy Kristoffersson. "Since 1989, we have been closely cooperating with the Customer Sports Department of Audi. Without the expertise from Audi Sport, we stood no chance to turn this ambitious project into reality within such a short time span."
The KMS Team which is being supported by the Swedish Audi importer drafted the first sketches of the new touring car in May 2002. By the end of August, work on the first prototype had started. In early March 2003, it was shaken down for the first time.
"In the past four years, we have won the title in Sweden three times," Kristoffersson proudly states. "2003, however, will be a learning season for us. It is an all-new car, our first goal is to achieve podium finishes. After all, we have to dispense with the popular quattro drive this year." Super 2000 rules only permit front-wheel driven or rear-wheel driven vehicles.
KMS profits from the experiences Audi Sport has gathered in 1997 and in 1998 with the front-wheel driven A4 Super Touring. The sequential gearbox even directly came from the Super Tourer.
Right from the beginning, KMS wants to enter two of the new 260 hp Audi A4 cars that are being driven by team principal Tom Kristoffersson and Fredrik Ekblom. From the second round, the entry of a third car is planned for Tobias Johansson, the 2001 winner of the privateers cup.
The STCC ranks amongst the most popular sports in Sweden. Comparing average spectator figures, it ranks between soccer and ice hockey. Every round is shown live on Swedish television. In the 2003 season, seven manufacturers compete in the fiercely contested championship that is held under the slogan "Premium Racing for Premium Brands". The calendar includes eight events.
"With seven manufacturers involved, the STCC's entry list is one of the strongest of all touring car series worldwide," says Head of Audi Sport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "We hope that KMS Motorsport will be as successful with the new A4 as they've always been."