Audi explains decision to quit Formula E in favour of Dakar

Audi says a greater freedom to develop new technologies in the Dakar Rally was one of the key reasons why it quit Formula E to field an electric car in the rally-raid.

Audi explains decision to quit Formula E in favour of Dakar

The German manufacturer announced in December that it would pull out of Formula E at the end of the 2020/21 campaign, bringing an end to a seven-season stint dating back to the very beginning of the championship in 2014.

The news coincided with Audi launching two new motorsport programmes: a return to the Le Mans 24 Hours with an LMDh car and an electric project in the Dakar Rally.

At that time, the Ingolstadt-based manufacturer stopped short of offering a full explanation behind its shock exit from the all-electric single-seater series, merely stating in a statement that "Formula E has accompanied the transformation phase at Audi".

Now, in a virtual press conference with selected media outlets including Autosport, Audi expanded on its decision to join the Dakar, saying it was lured by a set of technical regulations that gave it complete control over all design aspects of the electric car.

This, it said, was in stark contrast to Formula E, where all teams use spec chassis and batteries supplied by third-party manufacturers, leaving them with limited elements to develop on the powertrain.

Jake Dennis, BMW i Andretti Motorsport, BMW iFE.21, Rene Rast, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, Audi e-tron FE07

Jake Dennis, BMW i Andretti Motorsport, BMW iFE.21, Rene Rast, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, Audi e-tron FE07

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

"Let's put it this way, the key to success in Dakar is to have the best efficiency to make the stage and in this concept it's not only the battery it's also the energy converter," said Julius Seebach, managing director of Audi Sport GmbH.

"The regulations for Dakar Rally are so flexible that we can develop basically the whole car. And the regulation in other series, like Formula E, it's not that open as Dakar's."

Andreas Roos, project leader of Factory Racing at Audi Sport, added: "We went this way with the Dakar because this allows us to have the full parts, everything that is needed for the drivetrain, fully developed from Audi. So also the high voltage battery is developed by Audi."

Audi Sport has joined forces with Q Motorsport, a company created by X-raid team's owner Sven Quandt. The German outfit manages the MINI 4x4s and buggies that have won the last two editions of the Dakar with Carlos Sainz and Stephane Peterhansel. 

Both parties have made it clear that it will be a joint effort and that the development and construction of the vehicle is already being carried out at Audi Sport's facility in Neuburg an der Donau.

When asked if their collaboration will be similar to Audi's ultra-successful partnership with Joest Racing that yielded 11 wins at the Le Mans 24 Hours, Roos said: "Yes, exactly. Also there we had [Joest] onboard from the beginning with their great experience in Le Mans. And from there we developed a really successful and great combination to be successful and this is the same way we want to do it. 

#2 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer

#2 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

"There are clever people in the team, clever drivers and when we get all of this together we will get the maximum out of it. This is our goal".

Quandt added: "This is a really joint effort between all of us, otherwise it will not be possible, without the enormous engineering knowledge from Audi this will not be possible. 

"And obviously we try to hit as much as possible from our knowledge to make a really good car together. But it's a super super combined effort, we are working in one direction and that makes a super challenging but interesting project."

shares
comments
NIO 333 team indicates commitment to Formula E Gen3 rules
Previous article

NIO 333 team indicates commitment to Formula E Gen3 rules

Next article

Reigle: Formula E unlikely to fill Audi vacancy for 2021-22 season

Reigle: Formula E unlikely to fill Audi vacancy for 2021-22 season
Injury, COVID, camels and redemption: A MotoGP star's Dakar odyssey Plus

Injury, COVID, camels and redemption: A MotoGP star's Dakar odyssey

Danilo Petrucci’s decision to switch to rallying at the conclusion of his time in MotoGP at the end of 2021 raised many eyebrows. Deciding to make his rally raid debut at the Dakar courted scepticism. With his debut almost over on several occasions before it began, Petrucci’s Dakar odyssey was a wild affair full of ups, downs and a run-in with a camel. He sat down with Autosport to reveal all

MotoGP
Jan 25, 2022
The positive future implications of Audi's creditable Dakar debut Plus

The positive future implications of Audi's creditable Dakar debut

OPINION: Audi has been a disruptive presence on the 2022 Dakar Rally, with its new hybrid RS Q e-tron taking three stage wins so far. Its impressive pace and resilience on one of the world’s toughest tests also bodes well for the Dakar’s future as it seeks to attract new manufacturers

Dakar
Jan 12, 2022
How Prodrive plans to use trial by Dakar to spur it to victory Plus

How Prodrive plans to use trial by Dakar to spur it to victory

Having tasted plenty of success in the World Rally Championship in the past, Prodrive took its off-road excursions to a new level with its first Dakar Rally entry this year. Now well-versed in the challenges that the famous rally-raid event possesses, Prodrive can learn from those lessons for next year's tilt at Dakar honours

Dakar
Jun 2, 2021
Why Loeb has joined forces with an old enemy for Dakar Plus

Why Loeb has joined forces with an old enemy for Dakar

The nine-time World Rally champion is heading to the Dakar Rally with an all-new project, and is joining up with the team he often fought against in the WRC - Prodrive - in his quest to finally add the most famed rally raid of them all to his bulging CV

Dakar
Dec 4, 2020
Richards on Prodrive's new Dakar challenge Plus

Richards on Prodrive's new Dakar challenge

With a stunning success record in motorsport, Prodrive is targeting a new crown by entering the 2021 Dakar Rally. David Richards provides an update on the programme, how COVID has slowed its plans and its options on who sits behind the wheel of its new car

Dakar
Jul 16, 2020
Why Alonso is already exceeding expectations in Dakar bid Plus

Why Alonso is already exceeding expectations in Dakar bid

How significant was Fernando Alonso's first cross-country rallying podium on a Saudi Arabian event last weekend? Very. The next leg of his post-F1 quest for versatile glory is going very well so far...

Dakar
Nov 12, 2019
What Alonso learned from his best Dakar test yet Plus

What Alonso learned from his best Dakar test yet

Double Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso took on one of his biggest challenges yet in the five-day Dakar warm-up event, Rally Morocco. Alonso gives his thoughts on his progress in a "bittersweet" event, and whether he will contest the Dakar

Dakar
Oct 10, 2019
Why Alonso must heed Loeb's Dakar failures Plus

Why Alonso must heed Loeb's Dakar failures

Fernando Alonso is edging closer to a Dakar debut, but he should take heed of the lessons rallying legend Sebastien Loeb has learned through several near-misses, despite his promising performances at the event

Dakar
Aug 22, 2019