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Audi will continue to use works drivers in 2024 despite GT3 exit

Audi will continue to supply select works drivers to customer teams in 2024 despite curtailing its GT3 programme.

#2 Melbourne Performance Centre Audi R8 LMS Evo II: Ricardo Feller, Brad Schumacher, Markus Winkelhock

Photo by: Gruppe C GmbH

In July of last year, Audi announced that it would effectively end its involvement in customer racing as part of a wider restructuring of its motorsport division. This included, among other changes, the disbandment of its roster of factory drivers.

However, as it turns out, four names will continue to represent Audi in a variety of championships this year.

“The three drivers Ricardo Feller, Christopher Haase and Markus Winkelhock, as well as Frank Stippler, still have valid contracts with Audi Sport Customer Racing for the 2024 season,” Audi’s head of customer racing Chris Reinke told Autosport sister title Motorsport-Total.com.

“They will be used in corresponding programmes from our customer teams.”

The clarification comes after Feller, Haase and Winkelhock joined Audi Team MPC in the Bathurst 12 Hour in February, a race that also featured several on-track advertisement banners for the Audi Sport division.

It appears that Audi is honouring its existing contracts with drivers despite the decision to abandon its factory pool. 

It is understood that the contracts of all four drivers are valid only until 2024, meaning Audi’s driver programme in customer racing will belatedly come to an end next year.

#22 Melbourne Performance Centre Audi R8 LMS Evo II: Christopher Haase, Kelvin Van Der Linde, Liam Talbot

#22 Melbourne Performance Centre Audi R8 LMS Evo II: Christopher Haase, Kelvin Van Der Linde, Liam Talbot

Photo by: Audi Sport

Feller, who has been retained by Abt as part of a Red Bull-funded DTM attack, confirmed that he would be driving Audi machinery exclusively in the 2024 racing season.

"I will only be in the R8 - again in the GT World Challenge and also at the Nurburgring. I'm really looking forward to it,” he said.

In the GT World Challenge, both Feller and Haase will take the wheel of an Attempto-entered R8 LMS GT3, while the former will also take part in a Nordschleife campaign for Scherer PHX.

Scherer PHX will then call in all four remaining Audi drivers - Feller, Haase, Winkelhock and Stippler - for the Nurburgring 24 Hours in June.

As for the Audi Sport logos that adorned Mount Panorama during the Bathurst enduro, the Ingolstadt-based brand clarified that it was all a part of a branding exercise from Audi Australia. 

Its Germany-based high-performance division was not involved in any marketing efforts in the 12-hour enduro.

"Audi Australia used the 12-hour race in Bathurst to activate the Audi Sport brand in the form of track branding," a spokeswoman confirmed. 

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