"Without our strong partners Yageo, Vishay and Audi Sport customer racing, we would not be able to engagein this degree of commitment in Macau," says Rutronik CEO Thomas Rudel. As a team, the partners pulled off a real coup: Team HCB-Rutronik Racing's No. 1 driver behind the wheel of one of the two Audi R8 LMS isnone other than the current Formula E world champion Lucas di Grassi. CEO Rudel explains how engaging the Brazilian has a strategic significance that goes beyond the sporting success: "Lucas di Grassi is the Formula E world champion. But he is also an entrepreneur and owner of a company that manufactures innovative e-bikes. Motor sports know-how is one of the ingredients that contributes to the production processes. This means that di Grassi embodies Rutronik's philosophy as a highly innovative, flexible and dynamic company."
Initial exchanges between di Grassi and the distributor have already taken place, and Rutronik is interested in intensifying this cooperation. CEO Rudel can also imagine further cooperation with Roborace, the world's first driverless motor sports platform of which di Grassi is the CEO. The automotive sector is one of Rutronik's most important business segments; the distributor of electronic components achieves over 40% of its turnover in this area. This means the company can make a correspondingly weighty contribution in terms of its expertise and providing access to the latest components.
The company intends to use the Macau Grand Prix as a platform for intensifying its business relationships with important partners including co-sponsors Yageo and Vishay, as well as strengthening its profile on the Asian market in general. In 2016, when Rutronik was main sponsor for HCB-Rutronik Racing in Macau for the first time, 87 TV stations and over 900 radio stations from all over the world reported on the GP, not to mention worldwide streaming services and around 400,000 enthusiastic fans at the event itself. Across all media, over 750 million people all across the globe followed the coverage of the Grand Prix.
The world champions' optimism
"For me, Macau is one of the most difficult races in the world," says Lucas di Grassi. "I have already raced here twice in Formula 3 and am very much looking forward to returning. What interests me especially is getting to know the course as an Audi works driver with a GT car. HCB Rutronik Racing is a highly professional team, and I think we have a good chance of winning the race. That is definitely my aim. The contact with Rutronik also came via HCB, and I am really looking forward to further cooperation in the future." The second HCB Rutronik Racing cockpit will be occupied by Fabian Plentz, as was the case last year. This year, HCB-Rutronik Racing is receiving works support from Audi Sport customer racing.
Macau as a factor in Rutronik's Asia strategy
The Macau Grand Prix is regarded as being one of the most important motor sport events of the racing year. Since 1954, several Formula 1 drivers have raced in the GP. The winners include Ayrton Senna, Michael and Ralf Schumacher as well as David Coulthard. The GT World Cup in which HCB-Rutronik Racing is taking part has been held since 2008.
"Asia is a huge growth market for Rutronik, and the Macau Grand Prix is one of the largest motor sport events in the world," as Markus Krieg, Rutronik's Managing Director Marketing, points out. "Motor racing has to be able to rely on extremely high-quality electronic components that can cope with the most demanding of situations. So from the entrepreneurial point of view, being present at such a high-profile race represents the perfect opportunity for Rutronik to position itself as a technologically competent and reliable partner for local, regional and global customers." Currently, Rutronik has three offices in China - in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chengdu - as well as subsidiaries in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand.
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