|February 19, 2006
Audi Takes Belgian Vanina Ickx into the DTM
For the first time since 1995, a woman starts in the world’s most popular touring car race series: Vanina Ickx contests the 2006 DTM with an Audi A4 DTM in the new DTM team run by Dr Colin Kolles. The Belgian would not be the first female Audi works driver to show the men what’s what: Driving the Audi quattro, Michèle Mouton was the first, and to date, the only woman to win a World Rally Championship round. In 1982, the French lady narrowly missed winning the World Championship title. In the 1990s, the Italian Tamara Vidali created quite a stir with the Audi A4 quattro in Super Touring Car racing.
"Michèle Mouton and Tamara Vidali clearly demonstrated that a woman can come out on top very well in a sport dominated by men,” explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "We are convinced that Vanina Ickx possesses all the skills to be just as successful.”
The daughter of former Formula 1 driver and six-time Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx only started her career at the age of 21 in 1996. After her success in touring cars, she caught the attention of the public by clinching a class win and a podium position at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. She has already competed several times at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in the Dakar Rally. At the wheel of an LM P1 sports car she narrowly missed winning the Le Mans Endurance Series (LMES) title last year.
"I’m absolutely delighted about the prospect of starting for Audi in the DTM,” says Vanina Ickx, who was born on 16 February 1975 in Brussels (Belgium) and lives together with her partner Fabien in Wiesbaden (Germany) since the end of last year. "Alongside Formula 1, DTM is the most popular international racing series – and without doubt the hardest. I know that things won’t be easy for me in DTM.”
Despite her petite figure, the qualified biologist weighs in at a little over 55 kilograms and stands 1.55 metres tall, she is anything but timid. Vanina Ickx thrives on speed and the taste of competition. She parachutes, was the first woman to cross the English Channel in an Ultra-Light plane and holds, at 136 kph, the speed record on skis down a ski jump.
A new team also joins Vanina Ickx in the DTM: Dr Colin Kolles, Managing Director of the Midland Formula 1 squad, has acquired two 2004 Audi A4 DTM and enters these as an Audi customer team. The level of potential in the "used” cars was clearly demonstrated last year by Audi Sport Team Joest: Christian Abt was second at the Norisring and finished the season as best driver of a year old car in ninth position overall. The second cockpit in Dr Kolles’ team, located in Greding only a few kilometres north of Ingolstadt, is still available.