The stars of FC Barcelona are turning into serious DTM fans: After last year’s debut, the players of the 18-time Spanish champion came to the Circuit de Catalunya again today. There, they took over their new “company cars” and caught a whiff of racing air at the Audi driving experience and during rides in the DTM racing taxi.
Not only on the playing field but also on the road the footballers demonstrate unity: From now on, the squad will be travelling to their training sessions in Audi Q7 vehicles. All cars are equipped with 3.0-litre TDI engines and quattro drive. Only when it came to their choice of colours, the players’ preferences differed: While team captain Carles Puyol ordered his car in lava grey, striker stars Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto’o opted for elegant silver. Goal-keeper Victor Valdes, together with Eidur Gudjohnsen, leads the group of fans of phantom black.
Audi and FC Barcelona have been partners since the 2006/2007 season. Players, coaches and officials drive vehicles from the brand’s sporty model range. In return, Audi presents itself at the team’s home matches at the famous Camp Nou stadium – Europe’s largest football stadium with room for almost 100 000 spectators – as well as at joint activities and events.
Before the footballers, who started to the new Champions League season with a 3:1 home win, received the keys to their new “company cars” from Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board for Marketing and Sales of AUDI AG, they experienced close-up Audi motorsport action on the Formula 1 and DTM circuit: The defending champion Mattias Ekström and Le Mans record winner Tom Kristensen drove the footballers around the race track in the 470-hp Audi A4 DTM racing taxi. Martin Tomczyk as a chauffeur demonstrated the sportiness of an Audi R8 converted into a racing taxi.
“For me, as a big football fan, it’s always a highlight to meet the footballers of FC Barcelona and to talk a bit of shop,” says Tom Kristensen. “They’re all nice guys who, since Michael Laudrup’s era in Barcelona, are very popular in Denmark as well. So it goes without saying that I’ll be crossing my fingers for them for the next match on Sunday and I’m sure that the players will have an eye on us too when we’re out on the circuit.”
At an Audi driving experience the footballers were also given the opportunity to experience the sportiness of the Audi A5 and Audi S5 models. In addition, they received a wealth of tips for a sporty as well as a safe driving style on the streets and roads of Barcelona by seasoned instructors.
On Sunday, 21 September, the ninth of a total of eleven DTM rounds will be staged at the Circuit de Catalunya. Audi driver Timo Scheider comes to Spain as the leader of the standings. The race will start at 2:03 p.m. local time. ARD will broadcast live from Spain starting at 1:45 p.m. and will also air live coverage of the qualifying on Saturday starting at 1:30 p.m.