The DTM’s Quickest Family Affair
A leading magazine once called them "The brain and the boss" – not a headline that particularly pleased Christian and Hans-Jürgen Abt. "So who’s who?" they immediately asked. As managing directors, the two Bavarians jointly run Abt Sportsline GmbH in Kempten, the world’s leading tuner of vehicles made by the Volkswagen Group. Their passion belongs to motorsport and the Audi brand: Christian as a Audi factory driver with a long track record, who will be competing for Audi Sport Team Phoenix this season, his brother Hans-Jürgen Abt as director of the racing team bearing the family’s name, which in 2006 will again be entering four factory Audi A4 DTM cars in Europe’s most popular touring car series.
Inside the family, the tasks have been divided clearly: 38-year-old Christian puts the pedal to the metal in the cockpit while brother Hans-Jürgen, who is five years older, is in charge of the command post together with Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. For exactly one decade, Team Abt Sportsline has been active in touring car racing with the Audi brand. Major exploits were the titles in the 1999 German Super Touring Car Championship with Christian Abt and the two DTM titles captured in 2002 and 2004. With their striking facial resemblance and personal warmth that is typical of the people from the ‘Allgäu’ region in Bavaria, Christian and Hans-Jürgen look like twins at first glance, and fans often confuse one with the other. 25 days from now, though, there is no risk of this happening: When the drivers contest their first race at Hockenheim on April 9th, only Christian is going to climb into the cockpit of the Audi A4 DTM. His brother will be following the action from the command post with bated breath.