According to Autocar, Stephan Winkelmann will leave his post as CEO of Audi Sport to head Bugatti. He will replace current Bugatti boss Wolfgang Dürheimer, who is expected to remain chairman of Bentley.
Winkelmann will leave Audi Sport later this year, capping off a short tenure. He joined Audi’s high-performance division in March 2016, and during that time, he oversaw a company name change and the rollout of the R8 Spyder and RS 5 Coupe. Before this gig, he spent more than 11 years leading Lamborghini and helped the brand triple its number of dealerships.
As the new president of Bugatti, Winkelmann will likely lead the introduction of new Chiron variants, including the possible Chiron Grand Sport and Chiron Super Sport. Meanwhile, Michael-Julius Renz will step up to take the reins at Audi Sport. Since 2015, he has led Audi’s sales division in China and previously served as head of sales in Germany.
Looking toward the future, Audi Sport is likely to receive its own hypercar at some point. Or at least that was Winkelmann’s vision for the brand. In a recent interview with Automotive News, Winkelmann said he envisions a low-volume exotic sports car that slots above the R8. “I’m very keen on working on this in the future,” he said. “I think not only the brand deserves it, but there is a demand outside, and the [customers] are looking into it.”
Autocar says it’s likely that Winkelmann will eventually replace Dürheimer in his role as chairman of Bentley as well. Although it’s unclear when he will depart, Dürheimer’s contract is reportedly set to end in mid-2019.
Meanwhile, Audi is keeping mum about the reports. The automaker told Motor Trend that it doesn’t comment on speculation.