Dec 09, 2022
Since September 1, Rolf Michl has been responsible for motorsport at Audi and is Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. The 44-year-old manager talks about the Dakar Rally, the complementation of the right and left hemispheres of the brain, the emotions that motorsport arouses in him, and his expectations and goals for the desert rally.
Mr. Michl, you were Project Manager in the Audi Sport TT Cup in 2015, then Director Sales & Marketing at Audi Sport GmbH. You returned to motorsport as Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. Did you miss the racing world in the meantime?
How would you rate the projects you found at Audi Sport GmbH?
|How do you manage the balancing act between Managing Director and Head of Motorport?
Sometimes that’s actually not all that easy. In the management of Audi Sport GmbH, where I run a company of 1,500 people together with Dr. Sebastian Grams, the financial responsibility lies with me. When the motorsport boss then talks to the finance boss in me, it’s usually an intense discussion … Let’s put it this way: The right side of the brain, the emotional side, belongs more to motorsport. But the rationality of the other half of the brain, i.e. the financial expertise, is also needed. It is extremely exciting to manage motorsport in an entrepreneurial way with clearly measurable key performance indicators. Nevertheless, I think I have the experience to understand the positions of all the protagonists – from drivers and teams to investors such as our partners or the teams in customer racing. So it’s less about ‘we do need that otherwise we won’t win,’ but about what the overall result is for Audi. The marketing, the story we tell there, is given a very large area by Audi. So I see the tension between the two positions in the initial question as more sporting and productive than negative.
In your new role, you were at the Morocco Rally in October. How did you experience the rigors of desert rallying?
The Dakar Rally is absolutely significant for Audi. What goals do you set the team for 2023?
How did you personally prepare for your first Dakar Rally?
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