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Q&A: Heinz Hollerweger on Audi TT ultra quattro concept

Though it’s been going on unofficially for over a week, the official start of the gargantuan enthusiast Treffen in Wörthersee, Austria officially begins Wednesday. That’s when Audi is set to reveal the TT ultra quattro concept to the public. As a lead up to that, Audi Germany sat down with Heinz Hollerweger, Head of Overall Vehicle Development to discuss the car.

You might recognize Heinz’s face from past years’ coverage of Worthersee. In addition to holding a considerable position of power at Audi AG, Hollerweger is a Worthersee vet and our header from the 2010 tour proves that. Not only is he an enthusiast who builds cars like the TT ultra quattro concept with the considerable resources of the Audi factory behind him, Heinz is also rolls around Reifnitz with the likes of Ferdinand Piech, Martin Winterkorn and Rupert Stadler. When he speaks, we’re more than happy to listen and thusly we’ve translated the conversation for your review.

Mr. Hollerweger why you have chosen Wörthersee as stage for the presentation of the Audi TT quattro concept ultra?
The decision was quite clear to us: the Wörthersee Tour is a real focal point for Audi and for all car aficionados. Every year this is the scene to discuss the latest developments in the field of extreme vehicles. I am certain that we will again fuel plenty of conversation with our lightweight study.

What was the biggest challenge in the design of this car?
Our engineers have asked themselves the question, what is technically feasible in regards to light weight and still carries all the Audi genes – not just leaving out, but implementing intelligent technology in the car. The result is impressive: In total, our concept car is 300 kg lighter than the comparable sporting production model. That has a direct impact on driving performance. The Audi TT ultra quattro concept boasts a power to weight ratio of 3.6 kilograms per hp and that’s on the level of thoroughbred supercar.

Where you could save the most weight?
First of course was the focus on the body. Here we have shaved 43 kilograms through the selective use of materials such as aluminum, magnesium and carbon, together with optimized attachments for another 100 kilograms. And that’s just the beginning. The secret in the reversal of the weight spiral lies in the fact that every kilogram of body and other components saves weight.

Were you able to gain new insights in the field of lightweight construction in the show car?
Yes – the study confirms our belief for some years. There are currently no materials in the automotive industry, which could serve as a panacea for lightweight construction. Instead, this requires an intelligent material mix of employing the right material in the right place in the right quantity.

Example Chassis: The strut of the TT ultra quattro concept is made of aluminum and the ceramic brakes. The stabilizers are made of carbon fiber, while the coil springs are made of glass fiber. When the wheels turn, we combine high strength aluminum and screwing range in the spokes while the outer rim is made from carbon fiber. In sum, we remove more than 50 kilograms of weight from the chassis of our design study in this way – and with full functionality.

Which design feature on the new show car do you personally like best?
I particularly like the way our show car tackles the topic of lightweight. Our designers have once again streamlined contours and divided the skin into white paint and dark carbon surfaces. We’ve used the powerful 2.0 TFSI engine combined with quattro drive. Ease in conjunction with sportiness – this embodies the Audi TT ultra quattro concept in premium quality. And typical of Wörthersee, our technicians are some “free” to show off their technical creativity with this car – – see, for example, the camera mirror, etc.

Follow along with our coverage of Worthersee in a section we’ve dedicated to the event. More stories, photos and more can be found HERE. Also, find the largest selection of TT ultra quattro concept photos you’re likely to find in our photo gallery linked in the usual places below and to the right.

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