Mattias Ekström’s father, Bengt Ekström, used to race in the European Rallycross Championship in the 1980s and 1990s. For Mattias Ekström, rallycross was “too dirty” for a long time. His opinion changed while running as a guest entrant in the 2013 ERX. The Swede finished runner-up in his home round at Höljes and was enthralled by the unique atmosphere in the Swedish woods. On his way home from the race, he made initial phone calls and forged out plans for putting his idea of a rallycross team of his own into action with friends and partners. Janne Ljungberg, a companion of Ekström’s during their joint days in the DTM and now Technical Director at EKS, tipped the scales. “If Janne hadn’t agreed to join the rallycross project, EKS would have never become reality,” says Ekström.
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’ podium. 857 days following his debut, he crowns himself 2016 world champion early and only 38 days later, EKS becomes teams’ world champion as well. The squad has since grown to 25 members – including the two drivers, Ekström and Andreas Bakkerud, plus mechanics, race engineers, a media team of its own and chef Jonas Landmark, who has even cooked for the Swedish Royal Family before. “I personally selected all the team members,” says team boss Ekström. “That’s very important to me. All of them are experts in their field. 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 AG since the 2017 season, employees of the Audi motorsport department are now supporting Team EKS Audi Sport as well. One of them is Bastian Göttle who in 2018 is succeeding Andreas Roos as Project Leader Rallycross at Audi Motorsport. Göttle’s previous career has included responsibilities in aerodynamics for “Track and Special Projects” in Audi’s motorsport programs in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the DTM and in Formula E.