Audi Sport Boss Stephan Winkelmann Splits for Top Spot at Bugatti

He will become president of the French marque at the end of the year.

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Volkswagen AG announced that Audi Sport's CEO Stephan Winkelmann will be making the move to Bugatti at the end of 2017. There, he will take over as president of the company and replace 59-year-old Wolfgang Dürheimer, the man who brought us the world-beating Chiron. His spot at Audi Sport will be filled by head of Audi's China sales division, Michael-Julius Renz. 

Winkelmann, who headed Lamborghini from 2005 to 2016, pushed the Sant'Agata marque to major success during those 11 years. Capitalizing on the success of the Gallardo, he piloted the Huracán, which has easily become the best selling model in company history. Winkelmann also instituted big changes at Audi Sport in his short stint with the brand, including a name change from Quattro GmbH that was made under his oversight. Additionally, the newly released R8 Spyder and RS5 models were developed and introduced during his tenure.

While Dürheimer has given up his spot with Bugatti, he will remain chairman at Bentley for the time being. According to Autocar, Volkswagen's long-term plans include having Winkelmann replace Dürheimer at the British automaker once his contract expires in 2019. Dürheimer previously worked within the VW AG as a Porsche executive and Audi lead man, though his feuding relationship with former Volkswagen chairman Martin Winterkorn put an end to his position at the Ingolstadt brand.

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Stephan Winkelmann

Winkelmann's replacement at Audi Sport, Renz, has been with the company since 1994. He began as head of retail marketing and worked his way through the ranks, becoming sales chief in both Germany and China.

Autocar also reports that Audi Sport engineer Stephen Reil will follow Winkelmann out of the company. Reil, who was appointed as general manager over Audi's performance division in 2011, has overseen the development of every RS model, plus the second-generation R8, over the last six years, earning his keep as one of the most respected in the business.