Audi has confirmed Dieter Gass will takeover as head of its motorsport division from Dr Wolfgang Ullrich in 2017, with the former boss remaining at Audi in an advisor role.

Gass, Audi's head of DTM operations, had always been seen as Ullrich's long-term successor and with the German manufacturer's shift of focus out of WEC and into Formula E while maintaining its touring car commitments in 2017 it is seen as the ideal time to make the transition.

Gass will start as Audi's head of motorsport on 1st January 2017 overseeing the brand's efforts in Formula E and DTM, while Ullrich will remain in the Audi fold as an advisor next year to oversee a smooth change.

Gass, a former chief engineer at Toyota during its stint in F1, admits the legacy left by Ullrich will be difficult to live up to but is relishing the challenge of heading the iconic German brand.

"The footsteps left by Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich are very large," Gass said. "He was at the helm of Audi Sport for 23 years and is credited with exceptional achievements during this long period of time.

"In addition to the global development of partnering teams and countless championships in super touring car racing, the 13 victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and numerous DTM titles stand out as lasting milestones.

"But I'd be remiss not to mention the development of customer racing at Audi and Audi Sport's move to the modern Competence Center Motorsport in Neuburg designed for today's needs. Careers like these are very rare in motorsport."

Ullrich has full faith in his successor and has outlined his advisor role and how it will allow him to step away from the operations side of Audi's management.

"Dieter Gass is going to lead Audi Sport through the upcoming transformation stage and continue to write Audi's success story in motorsport," Ullrich said. "He knows Audi Sport like few others do."