Since March of 2016, there has been a lot of speculation about Audi, and their desire to enter the NASCAR ring. At first glance it may not seem to make sense. A German automotive company attempting to compete in a predominantly American event. But look closer, and it suddenly does not seem so far-fetched.
The rumors really started to swirl on March 22nd when Matthew Dillner, an online and TV reporter for NASCAR related news, tweeted: “I’ve heard the rumor for two years of Audi entering #NASCAR and know the interest has been there. My prediction is that it will happen”. Immediately following was this from Dillner: “Another manufacturer within our sport is a good thing. If it happens it will be a positive one as Toyota’s presence has been”.
Now not being an employee, associate, or anything related to Audi those statements may not seem like much coming from Matthew Dillner. Yet NASCAR CEO Brian France has also been heard talking about Audi, and their place in the coveted race, at least in broader terms: “I think a lot of car companies are understandably looking at the terrific job that Toyota has done by partnering with NASCAR and the success and all the things that comes along with that. And this is obviously the biggest opportunity in auto racing in North America.”
These remarks were made to SiriusXM Speedway’s Dave Moody as the two discussed the possibility of various foreign automakers entering stock car racing. Apparently Audi is not the only brand that has NASCAR on the mind, but it has more to do with sales than with bringing home any trophies. NASCAR owns the public’s interest when it comes to racing as sport in the U.S., claiming over 75 million fans coast to coast.
While you may not picture the typical NASCAR fan being interested in a German luxury car, that opinion could easily change when they see what one is capable of when let loose on a race track. By becoming a part of the American stock car race world, Audi is just begging to be bought by the more well to do fans of the sport. There is no doubt that the exposure will equal higher sales, which really boils down to the whole point for the brand.
Audi has been racing towards success since the 1980’s, when the Quattro all wheel drive was first introduced and they began to dominate the World Rally Championship. The trend continued at Le Mans, with win after consecutive win for the brand. Audi is natural at developing cars and engines for checkered flags, and would likely make for a fierce competitor at NASCAR.
Sadly for now, it is all speculation swirling around the racing world. Yet with the popularity of the R8 blazing a trail, Audi’s NASCAR dreams may come true sooner than we had imagined.