Not only is Mattias Ekström a driver for EKS Audi Sport, but he is also the team boss. For a long time, rallycross was “too dirty” for Mattias Ekström. His opinion changed while he was running as a guest entrant in the 2013 European Rallycross Championship. Ekström finished runner-up in his home round at Höljes and was enthralled by the unique atmosphere in the Swedish woods. As soon as he was on his way home he made initial phone calls and forged out plans for putting his idea into action with friends and partners. Janne Ljungberg, now Technical Director at EKS Audi Sport, tipped the scales. “If Janne hadn’t said that we’d be making this project a reality, the team would never have come into existence,” says Ekström who knows Ljungberg from their joint days in the DTM.
The story that follows reads like a fairy tale. After less than a year of preparation, Ekström contests his first World RX round in the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro on June 14, 2014. Just three weeks later, in his home round at Höljes, he actually stands on the top step of the winners’ rostrum. 857 days following his debut, he crowns himself world champion early and only 38 days later in Argentina, EKS becomes the teams’ world champion as well. “Very few people would have been able to imagine what my team and I were able to build up during such a short time,” says Ekström.
The squad has since grown to about 40 members – including both drivers, Ekström and new signing Andreas Bakkerud, plus mechanics, race engineers, an in-house media team and chef Jonas Landmark, who has even cooked for the Swedish King before.
“I personally selected all the team members,” says team boss Ekström. “That’s very important to me. All of them are experts. They think the way I do and know how to jointly achieve success: with passion, commitment and in a really good mood.”
Thanks to factory backing from Audi in the 2017 season, EKS Audi Sport is now supported by employees of the Audi motorsport department as well. “We gathered very positive experiences in the World RX last year and are convinced of the series’ growth potential, says Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “In the medium-term, we hope to see electric cars being fielded in this racing series, because electrification is a focus topic at Audi also in motorsport.”