The idea of communicating Audi’s illustrious motorsports endeavors on a broader scale began just days after Keogh began his position at Audi. Fresh off a stint at Mercedes, the newly-hired executive boarded a plane with his colleague – an equally fresh face at Audi of America – Jeff Kuhlman. Kuhlman who heads Audi of America’s communications, had been to Le Mans before with his former employer Cadillac, but neither of the two was prepared for the level of play by Audi Sport to which they’d be exposed as they watched the brand win its maiden run at Le Mans with the then-new diesel-powered R10 TDI.
Keogh and Kuhlman both agreed that all the dollars spent on such a world class effort at the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans was lost on very few beyond sports car racing enthusiasts. They needed to figure out a wide-reaching way to share what they had witnessed – something that was becoming old hat for the staff at Audi Sport.
Of course, racing took a more prominent place in Audi advertising and communications. There were the gratuitous race win ads in AutoWeek and extra detail was placed in on-location race hospitality and VIP involvement. This might seem typical for a car company investing significantly in a top tier race program, but if Keogh has shown anything since his 2006 arrival, it’s that when he does ‘the typical’ he’s barely getting started.
Over time, a plan began to form between Keogh and his contacts at Chicago’s InterSport to make a documentary about Audi and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The theory, as Keogh tells it, was to make something that was a credible account of what actually goes on at Le Mans and not simply an Audi commercial.