With the Focus RS, Ford is setting new standards in the compact sports car segment in 2016. The RS, “Rally Sports” four-wheel drive is backed by a 2.3L motor offering 350 horsepower and a top speed of 266 km/h (165 mph). To help the driver keep perfect control over this powerful pack, the interior features sport seats from RECARO Automotive Seating, guaranteeing correct ergonomics, optimal feedback and maximum security, along with sporty looks.
“We’ve been part of the RS family for many years now,” says Markus Kussmaul, vice president of sales and marketing at RECARO Automotive Seating. “The first tests in 2016 have shown that Ford has once again built an exceptional car, one that will delight fans of high-performance vehicles around the world. An expert jury of the British magazine ‘Vehicle Dynamics International’ recently awarded the RS as the ‘Car of the Year 2016’. Being on board demonstrates that RECARO seats are the first choice when fulfilling sophisticated sporty demands.”
RECARO’s development of the production seat for the Focus RS is based on the Ford seats installed in the standard version of the car, but features characteristics that typify RECARO such as combining ergonomic design and maximum security with sporty looks and a superior seating experience. For even more sportiness, the car can be equipped with optionally available Recaro bucket seats, based on the RECARO Sportster CS. To give the RECARO feeling to all passengers, this configuration also includes RECARO back seats as standard equipment.
The RECARO sport seats as standard equipment in the Ford Focus RS (Picture: © Ford)
Optional upgrade of the Focus RS: the RECARO bucket seats (Picture: © Ford)
Despite changing weather conditions this past Sunday, a multitude of classic-car owners from all across Germany gathered once again in Cologne to show off their treasures at the Drive-It Day, organized by the MAKK (Cologne’s Museum of Applied Arts). The central district was turned into an open-air museum by around 1,000 of these very special works of art. “Despite the unsettled weather, the third edition of Drive-It Day was also very popular, letting us welcome around 10,000 car aficionados,” says Dr. Romana Breuer, Curator at the MAKK. “Especially in times of better weather, many people from around Cologne and across the region were spontaneously inspired to leave their sofas and come see these impressive historical vehicles.”
From families on a Sunday outing to hard-core car buffs, the audience was very diverse. On location, the guests were met by an equally diverse assortment of vehicles. Whether racing cars, muscle cars, compact cars, Unimogs or army jeeps, there was something for every taste. Another highlight was the O.N.S. Porsche 914/6 GT from the year 1971, presented by RECARO as part of a sports car exhibition on the museum’s forecourt. As the first racetrack emergency vehicle in international motorsport, this Porsche was a true pioneer of its time. This brought him a lot of attention at the Drive-It Day (more on this Porsche at http://bit.ly/1SrDq1c). Besides its four-wheeled brand ambassador, RECARO also displayed four sport seats inside the museum: representing three decades, they showed visitors how seating technology and design has changed over time. It was just the right accompaniment to the program of the Drive-It Day 2016 in Cologne.
In the museum, RECARO showed four seats from three decades. (Image: © RECARO Automotive Seating)
The diverse audience was impressed by the cars. (Image: © RECARO Automotive Seating)
The parking lots surrounding the museum were used as exhibition space. (Image: © RECARO Automotive Seating)
Cologne’s central district became a runway for classic beauties. (Image: © RECARO Automotive Seating)
Something for everybody: The racing car side by side with the muscle car. (Image: © RECARO Automotive Seating)
Kept race car drivers safe: The O.N.S. Porsche 914/6 GT. (Image: © RECARO Automotive Seating)
Opel Astra TCR
(© Opel Motorsport)
On the third weekend of April (April 15 to 17, 2016), the first season of the new German Touring Car Championship ADAC TCR Germany starts in Oschersleben. It is part of the TCR series that takes place worldwide in various countries and regions. The new championship with near-series compact class vehicles from various manufacturers promises exciting motor racing at financially attractive conditions. RECARO Automotive Seating will be equipping the new Astra TCR of Opel Motorsport with racing shells of the Pro Racer SPG type. “We are very happy about the decision by Opel Motorsport to use RECARO racing shells in all Astra TCRs,” says Frank Link, Head of Motorsport at RECARO Automotive Seating. “In this way we are continuing a decades-long close cooperation in the new racing series and at the same time will be able to demonstrate our motorsport expertise in an outstanding vehicle in numerous competitions internationally. After all, the champion team of the international TCR competition 2015, Target Competition, is this year relying on Opel – and RECARO.”
Opel Astra TCR
(© Opel Motorsport)
In 2016 there will be 7 TCR races in the German competition; 11 races are planned internationally. In addition, TCR trophies will be starting in Asia and Europe, as well as national series in Benelux, China, Italy, Portugal, Thailand, and the USA. Near-series, inexpensive touring cars with front-wheel drive and two-liter turbo engines with some 330 hp make the rounds in the TCR. Two sprint races are held each race weekend. The TCR is aimed at young talent and private drivers enthusiastic about motorsports worldwide. “The TCR is an ideal platform for offering real racing touring cars at attractive conditions to our customers both nationally and internationally,” says Opel Motorsport Director Jörg Schrott. “For us, RECARO is the right partner in the Astra TCR project. In our view, the current RECARO Pro Racer SPG offers an ideal combination of technology, comfort, and safety.”
More about the Touring Car Racing Series (TCR):
Top of the “Sport Seats” category of the “Auto Bild” 2016 “The Best Brands” (© Auto Bild)
RECARO Automotive Seating is again at the top of the “Sport Seats” category of the “Auto Bild” 2016 “The Best Brands” reader poll. This is the second win in a row for RECARO after the category was included in the poll for the first time. For 86 percent of the more than 60,000 participating readers, RECARO, a Johnson Controls product group, is the best sport seat brand of the year. “Sixty thousand participants is a significant number,” said Markus Kussmaul, Vice President Sales and Marketing at RECARO Automotive Seating. “That means the results of the ‘Auto Bild’ poll have particular validity. Being recognized as the best sport seat brand for the second year in a row makes our entire RECARO team very proud. We will of course be working flat out to earn our third victory next year.”
With 86 percent of votes cast, RECARO Automotive Seating dominated the first position in the “Sport Seats” category. Across all product categories, this was the second highest number of votes won. Only one brand, in the “Windshield Wiper” category, was able to achieve a higher percentage.
RECARO was the winner of the category “Seats/Sport Seats” for the eleventh year in a row (© auto motor und sport)
In the “Best Brand” reader poll of “auto motor und sport,” RECARO Automotive Seating continued a fantastic tradition in 2016: With 88.3 percent of the vote, the Johnson Controls product group was the winner of the category “Seats/Sport Seats” for the eleventh year in a row. A total of 115,239 readers participated in the poll this year. “The fact that we have defended our top position in the ‘Sport Seats’ category for 11 years is no reason for us to rest on our laurels,” said Markus Kussmaul, Vice President Sales and Marketing at RECARO Automotive Seating. “On the contrary, we know that the readers of ‘auto motor und sport’ have a great deal of expertise and very high standards – especially when it comes to products relevant to safety such as seats. The great deal of trust that is placed in us is not something we take for granted, and we will do everything in our power to earn this trust over and over again in the future.”
This recognition is acknowledgment of the work of the RECARO team. With 88.3 percent of the 115,239 survey participants, RECARO was the clear winner. The nearest competitor in the category “Seats/Sport Seats” followed in second place with 18.9 percent of the votes, and the third-place winner garnered 12.5 percent. Even when considered across all product categories, only one other brand achieved a higher percentage than RECARO.
Success right off the bat: For the first time, the prestigious magazine “Motorsport aktuell” added the categories “Sport Seats” and “Racing Seats/Shells” as part of the “Racer of the Year 2015” reader poll. With 87.1 percent and 82.2 percent of the vote, the Johnson Controls product group RECARO Automotive Seating prevailed against the competitors in both disciplines to take first place in each case. A total of 3,006 readers cast their votes. “I am particularly pleased that so many knowledgeable readers of ‘Motorsport aktuell’ decided in favor of us the very first time this category was included,” said Elmar Deegener, Vice President at Johnson Controls and General Manager of RECARO Automotive Seating. “RECARO has a long tradition in motorsports. For decades our seat development has been strongly influenced by the commitment to the racetrack and the exchange with drivers from various series such as FIA World Endurance Champion 2015 (WEC) Timo Bernhard. We also rely on close cooperation with racing teams and motorsport departments of well-known automakers. Achieving the top position in two seating categories in the ‘Racer of the Year’ poll confirms the quality of our seats and is an accolade for our entire team.”
The endorsement of the readers is clear: With 87.1 percent of the votes (highest in poll) in the category “Sport Seats” and 82.2 percent (second highest in poll) in the category “Racing Seats/Shells,” RECARO sets itself apart from the nearest competitors decisively; they followed in second place at 29.5 percent and 32.7 percent. Since 1992, “Motorsport aktuell” has been inviting readers to participate in the “Racer of the Year” poll, and since 2009 manufacturers and brands of the year have also been chosen as part of this survey. In 2015, the categories “Sport Seats” and “Racing Seats/Shells” were added to the poll.
“Racer of the Year 2015” in the category “Sport Seats” (© Motorsport aktuell)
“Racer of the Year 2015” in the category “Racing Seats/Shells” (© Motorsport aktuell)
A long-term partnership continues: Ellen Lohr fully focused in her RECARO racing shell. (© Ellen Lohr)
On May 1, 2016, Ellen Lohr will begin her latest FIA European Truck Racing Championship season in Spielberg, Austria. This season, Lohr’s MAN truck will be fitted with a Pro Racer SPG racing shell from RECARO Automotive Seating. “I’m extremely pleased that Ellen Lohr has chosen RECARO for the 2016 European truck racing season. Her racing talents, as well as her open and honest nature, make her an ideal brand ambassador for us,” said Manfred Nickels, Senior Manager Marketing for RECARO Automotive Seating. “In our Pro Racer SPG racing shell, she’ll be perfectly equipped for the coming duels on the asphalt. Our racing shell is made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic and not only meets the highest safety standards, but relays the truck’s feedback to the driver.”
Having primarily focused on truck racing in recent years, Ellen Lohr joined the Truck Sport Bernau team in 2015. Her tenth-place finish in last year’s overall standings proves she is a force to be reckoned with in 2016. “Our team is very well-positioned for the upcoming season. I’m ready to go, and can’t wait for the racing to finally get started,” said Lohr. “This year my name is even embroidered into the cover of my RECARO racing shell. The brand has accompanied me throughout my racing career, and I’ve always been able to count on the safety and quality of its seats. For me as a race driver, that confidence is extremely important, as it allows me to have a clear head so that I can fully concentrate on racing.”
Racing shell RECARO Pro Racer: The number one choice for motorsports. (© RECARO Automotive Seating)
The RECARO Pro Racer SPG racing shell will be put to the test on May 1, 2016, at the race in Spielberg, Austria. With the race at the Nürburgring on July 3, 2016, it will surely be a highlight for German-speaking racing fans. The final race will be held at the famous Le Mans race track in France on October 9, 2016. For all other dates and news about the Truck Racing Championship, visit www.truckracing.de. For further details about Ellen Lohr and the RECARO Pro Racer SPG racing shell, visit www.ellenlohr.eu and www.recaro-automotive.com respectively.
Because of its backrest made out of carbon, the weight of the RECARO Sport Seat Platform could be reduced significantly compared to conventional car seats. This was one of the arguments, which convinced the jury of the Plus X Award. (Images © RECARO Automotive Seating)
Innovation, High Quality, Design and Ergonomics – the RECARO Sport Seat Platform (RSSP) has succeeded in four categories at the Plus X Award 2016. The Award, now in its 13th year, is one of world’s biggest innovation prizes for technology, sports and lifestyle products. “Four Seals of Quality for our RSSP – this is a great tribute to the hard work of the entire RECARO team, and also a clear signal that we’ve chosen the right priorities in concentrating on the development of lightweight design, modularity and personalization,” said Elmar Deegener, Vice President at Johnson Controls and General Manager of RECARO Automotive Seating. “As a division of the leading global automotive supplier Johnson Controls, we’re setting new standards with the RECARO Sport Seat Platform.” Award winners are selected by an international group of independent experts from 27 sectors, who judge the products from a variety of perspectives.
With these accolades, the experts have affirmed the benefits of the RECARO seat. Its innovative lightweight design relies not only on a separation between load-bearing structure and design shell – which allows different seat variants on the same basis – but also on a special mix of materials and an integration of functions: making the backrest out of carbon saves weight, while its slim design makes the RSSP particularly compact. “Another huge affirmation was the recognition given to our Sport Seat Platform’s ergonomics, which is the Alpha and Omega for us as a seating manufacturer,” said Deegener. “Through our many decades of manufacturing seats, we’ve acquired an extraordinary expertise in this area, which has flowed into the development of this seat. True to our motto of ‘form follows human,’ the contouring of every RSSP model follows the human anatomy.”
No problem for the specialists from RECARO: Doing the upholstery for the RSSP is very demanding. The extraordinary production quality also really impressed the jury of the Plus X Award. (Images © RECARO Automotive Seating)
RECARO Sport Seat Platform Seal of quality Plus X Award 2016
Made for super sportscars: The RECARO Sport Seat Platform in the „Sport Extreme“ variant combines lightweight design, modularity and personalization and was therefore awarded with the Plus X Award in the categories Innovation, High Quality, Design and Ergonomics. (Images © RECARO Automotive Seating)
The RECARO booth was once again a visitor magnet in Japan. (Images © RECARO Automotive Seating)
Last weekend, January 15 – 17, 2016, the “Makuhari Messe” in Tokyo’s Chiba City had only one topic: startling cars and tuning accessories in all forms and colors. Like always at the beginning of a new year, the Tokyo Auto Salon was the reason that more than 300.000 tuning fans from Asia, North America and even Europe travelled to Japans mega city – once more an increase compared to last year. With all the colorful and extravagant cars, the Auto Salon in Tokyo is really something special when it comes to car shows. Every year, it is a theatre for international exhibitors, more than 400 came this year: Here, you get to see everything that a car nerd desires (or not) – from a pink off-roader with a Pink Panther soft toy on its roof to high performance race cars decorated with Swarovski stones. But, besides the show for the public, the Tokyo Auto Salon is also one of the most important car fairs in Asia, where almost all important manufacturers and suppliers present themselves.
The 270 squaremeter stand of RECARO Automotive Seating was 2016 once again a visitor magnet – a sign for the high appreciation of the brand in the Asian market. The team from Japan used the space well: Altogether they showed 36 seats from the categories “motorsport and sport seats”, “premium sport seats and comfort seats” and “OEM seats for Japan and Europe” to impress the audience. The focus of the appearance was the question what makes RECARO seats so special and distinguishes the manufacturer from others. To illustrate that, fans and customers were video interviewed and the clips were projected onto a video wall and the windshield of a silver-red-painted Mini John Cooper Works – with its RECARO equipment an optical highlight of the booth. “The combination of our super sporty design, pioneering materials and German craftsmanship is going extremely well with Japanese car fans,” says Mitsuhiro Maeguchi, Marketing Manager of RECARO Japan. “That’s appreciated by Japanese car manufacturers, with whom we work together very well. Also very important in that concern was the visit of our General Manager Elmar Deegener, who came to the booth together with the Sales and Marketing Director Baki Pala. That was a clear sign of how important the Asian market is to us.”
Japan is always worth a journey: Elmar Deegener and Baki Pala (second and third from left) talking to Nobuhiro Yamamoto, chief engineer of the new Maxda MX-5, in front of a Japanese TV crew.
One after the other: The booth design was very well received by fans and customers. (Images © RECARO Automotive Seating)
Timo Bernhard (left) in a podium discussion with RECARO spokesman Tilman Schäfer about winning the championship, his role in the Porsche team and the special requirements of the Porsche hybrid racecar. (Image © RECARO Automotive Seating)
After having already won the 24 hours of Le Mans and the 24 hour race at the Nürburgring, it was the crowning of his 25 year long career in racing: A fifth place at the six hour race of Bahrain on November 21 2015 was good enough for Timo Bernhard and his team colleagues to earn the driver’s championship for Porsche in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). The constructors and team title (Manthey) also go to the company from Zuffenhausen. Of course, the success is also a reason to cheer for RECARO Automotive Seating – Timo Bernhard ist not only brand ambassador for a long time, but also supports RECARO engineers in the development of seats with his racing know how. “I’m very happy for Timo winning the title this year,” says Elmar Deegener, Vice President of Johnson Controls and General Manager at RECARO Automotive Seating. “He has been a member of our RECARO family for a long time now and we all kept our fingers crossed for him. He has done an extraordinary job, which brought him up to the special circle of racing world champions from Germany.”
Of course, RECARO took the chance to congratulate the new world champion with a welcoming party at the Technical Center in Kaiserslautern. It was a short way for Timo Bernhard: He lives in Bruchmühlbach, only about 20 minutes away from Kaiserslautern. There the racing team of his father has its headquarters, where he works as a consultant. The family man was accompanied by his parents, who supported the racing career of their son from the beginning. “I’m very happy about the invitation from RECARO Automotive Seating. Their seats have accompanied me during all my years in motorsports,” said Timo Bernhard. “For a race driver, they are the key to get a feeling for the car. It fits perfect, that I’m involved in their development from such an early stage.” So Bernhard could be found in intensive talks with RECARO engineers as soon as the official part of the reception was over. He’s not resting on his laurels but is already on the way to the next success. We’re keeping our fingers crossed!
One big family: RECARO boss Elmar Deegener (left) welcomes Timo Bernhard and his parents at the Technical Center in Kaiserslautern. (Image © RECARO Automotive Seating))