Test your Audi knowledge with these trivia questions
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“In September of 2018, she was diagnosed.”
Tatiana found out she had an aggressive form of Stage 3 breast cancer and needed to start treatment the month after Erik paid off the remainder of his father’s cancer bills. The couple had to make some difficult adjustments to their life after the diagnosis; they sold most of their possessions to make sure that Tatiana received the best treatment available.
“Tatiana was adamant that I would not sell [NardoR8],” Erik said. “We were very reluctant to do so because it was a representation of so much for me, for us.”
During this time, Erik’s relationship with the Michelin team resulted in being recruited to South Carolina, where he is currently a director of Strategic Development. The Dietzes moved to South Carolina in 2019.
“Michelin has been truly supportive. They gave me whatever time I needed to take care of my family,” he said.
Unfortunately, the Dietzes would experience further tribulation.
While commuting in his R8, with more than 140,000 miles of very hard driving showing on its odometer, NardoR8 needed some extra attention. Even though the car was serviced every 5,000 miles, parts wear out. NardoR8 lost compression in one of its eight cylinders, and technicians deemed an engine replacement as the best course of action.
Help from friends
Upon hearing the Dietzes’ story, the Audi parts and accessories team at Audi of America donated a new 4.2-liter FSI V8 “long block” engine to help how they could. After the engine was replaced, NardoR8 went back home to Erik in early 2020. Better still, Erik’s wife recently received news from her medical team that there was no evidence of disease remaining.
Now, Erik is continuing to pay it forward.
Erik believes in spreading joy and enjoying what you have. He taught his niece how to drive manual in NardoR8 when she was 15 after she had gotten her learner’s permit. He continues to take neighborhood kids on rides who might not have access to such a special car otherwise. When he gets gas, he lets passersby sit in the car and check it out, “helping create those forever memories. I didn't have access to a car like NardoR8 when I was growing up, so I love sharing with others.”
Erik, who has also worked as an amateur racecar driver and on-track driving instructor, shares his passion for driving as much as he can, no matter what kind of car.
“These cars have so much soul to them, and they provide so much joy,” he said. “You know, it's such a waste when they aren't driven. I have friends who have incredible car collections and never drive them for fear of diminished value.”
He practices what he preaches.
“NardoR8 has a lot of fun miles. She's been everywhere, and she's been through everything. She's driven in the dirt in Death Valley. She crossed over 100,000 miles while driving through snow in Canada; she’s been driven all through Europe. I’ve never shied away from driving her, regardless of the weather or environment.
“Cars were designed by people who wanted them to be driven and not to sit in the garage or just sit at cars and coffee events. They are tools for joy and a way to express passion, and not enough people use them for that. Certainly, passion can manifest in many different ways. For some people, that is attending a car meet and talking about them with other enthusiasts, and there's nothing wrong with that. I love doing that, too, but nothing makes me happier than getting behind the wheel and rowing through the gears.”
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