As devout gearheads you're undoubtedly aware today marks Audi's 100th anniversary, and in celebration of its centennial, one of Germany's most historic marques is kicking off the festivities with a star-studded event at the Audi Forum in Ingolstadt, Germany.
The unveiling of the A5 Sportback was the first in a long line of events to take place over the coming days, but Audi also wanted to provide admirers a photographic glimpse into its past. And we're all too happy to oblige while snagging a few choice wallpapers in the process.
Gallery Audi Centennial - Motorsport
Ceremonial Act marks 100th anniversary of Audi
* Carmaker celebrates its centennial on July 16 in Ingolstadt with an evening gala and two world premiers
* German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulates Audi for its "100-year success story"; Thomas Gottschalk as host
INGOLSTADT, Germany, Jul 15, 2009 - For AUDI AG, July 16, 2009 is a memorable day: on that day exactly 100 years ago, automotive pioneer August Horch founded August Horch Automobilwerke GmbH in Zwickau, Germany. A short time later he renamed the company after the Latin translation of his last name – making it Audi Automobilwerke. The brand with the four-ring logo is celebrating its birthday this week with a series of events.
The week of celebrations starts on Thursday, July 16, with an evening gala at the Audi Forum Ingolstadt. Marking the occasion, Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, will greet an array of famous personalities from the worlds of politics, industry, sport, culture and science. One highlight will be the commemorative speech by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Other guests will include Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer; Christian Wulff and Günther Oettinger; Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Automotive Industry Association; basketball star Dirk Nowitzki; Karl-Heinz Rummenigge of FC Bayern Munich; and racing legends such as Jacky Ickx, Walter Röhrl and eight-time Le Mans champion Tom Kristensen.
"One look at the guest list tells you the kind of prestige Audi has acquired in its 100-year history," Stadler said. "July 16 not only gives us a reason to celebrate – it also provides motivation for all Audi employees to continue writing the company's success story on into the future."
Television presenter Thomas Gottschalk will host the evening gala, which will be broadcast live on the Internet at www.audi.tv, starting at 6:30 p.m. After a journey through time along the 100-year history of Audi, the first world premier is scheduled to begin: renowned Chinese pianist Lang Lang will perform for the invited guests on the new Audi Design grand piano. This musical instrument, with its characteristically curvaceous rim, was designed by the Audi Design Studio in Munich and will be used as a concert grand piano for future prestigious musical events.
The evening's other cultural highlights include the spectacular illumination of the Audi Forum by light artist Gerry Hofstetter, and the premier performance of a symphony composed especially for the ceremony by music producer Leslie Mandoki. The classical work will be performed by the New Frankfurt Philharmonic, conducted by Paul Momberger.
Guests coming to congratulate AUDI AG on its anniversary will include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, along with Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer and Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG. In her speech for the event, Merkel will discuss fundamental issues in current economic policy, and will specifically address the challenges confronting the automotive industry.
"No matter how greatly the car of the future may differ from today's car, there will continue to be a desire for individual mobility all over the world," Merkel said in her personal Internet podcast on the occasion of Audi's 100th anniversary. The German Chancellor meanwhile emphasized that one of the most essential tasks in the future will be to promote climate protection, energy efficiency and safety, including in the area of mobility. "Audi and its 100-year success story are therefore representative of other companies in the automotive industry," Merkel emphasized.
Following Merkel's speech, Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, will join Merkel on the stage to unveil a new Audi car model being presented publicly to the world for the first time on July 16. "Audi is continuing its spectacular development of models, introducing the sixth new car to the German market already this year," said Stadler, pointing out the company's goal to expand its product portfolio to 42 models by 2015. "This step is of fundamental importance for us, since we will only be able hold our own in competition if we have strong prospects for the future and ambitious goals," Stadler said.