Is F1 in Audi's post-Le Mans plans?
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Is F1 in Audi's post-Le Mans plans?

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Le Mans will come and go this year without the brand that has won the 24 Hours a total of 13 times since 2000. But just how serious is Audi about new ventures away from sportscar racing?

Next week, the eyes of motorsport fans across the globe will be focused on France's Sarthe region, host to the Le Mans 24 Hours. Absent for the first time in 18 years - during which time its Vorsprung durch Technik (headstart through technology) enabled the company to amass 13 outright victories - will be Audi, having last October quit the World Endurance Championship.

Significantly, four of Audi Sport's 13 wins were delivered by evolutions of the diesel-powered R18 - some with supplementary hybrid systems - so when the emissions scandal hit the entire VW Group it was clear the project was doomed. There was no way the company could punt the performance and emissions advantages of diesels while fighting court cases on both sides of the Atlantic.

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