It’s been a highly successful period for Audi, they haven’t finished off the podium in any of the races they have competed – winning 13 of the 18 twice round the clock events. It also holds the claim of being the first team to triumph with both diesel and hybrid cars, and has taken 106 wins and 94 laps from the 185 races it has participated in.
Considering this outstanding form, perhaps it’s a surprise that Audi want to abandon the racing genre, but Chairman Rupert Stadler has announced that the focus is to switch to the all-electric Formula E series, turning its support of Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport to a full works effort.
“We’re going to contest the race for the future on electric power,” Stadler said. “As our production cars are becoming increasingly electric, our motorsport cars, as Audi’s technological spearheads, have to even more so.”
This has similar echoes to the thoughts of Audi Sport boss Stephen Winkelmann, and his concerns regarding the attention spans of today’s motorsport viewers. And with immediacy, unusual to motor sport developments, the switch is to take place almost immediately. The current WEC season will be the last for Audi, its Formula E campaign commencing in 2017.
Audi’s participation in the German touring car series – DTM – continues, and further involvement in rally cross with electric power play part of its entry.
“After 18 years in prototype racing that were exceptionally successful for Audi, it’s obviously extremely hard to leave,” Audi’s motorsport boss Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich said. “Audi Sport Team Joest shaped the WEC during this period like no other team. I would like to express my thanks to our squad, to Reinhold Joest and his team, to the drivers, partners and sponsors for this extremely successful cooperation. It’s been a great time!”