Audi quits WEC to focus on Formula E instead of LMP1

Audi will pull out of the World Endurance Championship and end its 18-year involvement in the Le Mans 24 Hours at the conclusion of 2016

Audi quits WEC to focus on Formula E instead of LMP1

The axing of the LMP1 programme, which yielded 13 Le Mans victories and the WEC drivers' and manufacturers' titles in 2012-13, follows what has been described as a realignment of Audi's motorsport programme.

The German manufacturer will focus on its participation in the Formula E Championship with the Abt-Schaeffler squad, having announced a greater works involvement in the electric single-seater series at the beginning of last month.

Audi chairman Rupert Stadler said: "We're going to contest the race for the future on electric power.

"As our production cars are becoming increasingly electric, our motorsport cars, as Audi's technological spearheads, have to even more so."

Audi's all-electric production vehicles will go on sale at the start of the 2018 model year.

The official announcement of the news from Audi uses the word "instead" when talking about the end of the WEC campaign and the new focus on FE.

Audi Sport boss Wolfgang Ullrich had previously stated that FE was an "additional programme" and would have no bearing on the decision making process regarding a continuation in LMP1.

Audi's statement hinted at a drive to reduce the company's motorsport budget by saying the decision needed to be understood "in the context of the current burdens of the brand", which is a reference to the financial liabilities that are likely to follow last year's 'dieselgate' emissions row.

It also said that some of the technical resources within Audi Sport would be diverted into the development of production vehicles.

The decision comes against the backdrop of declining sales of turbodiesels, the technology Audi showcases in the WEC, and political pressure in some markets to outlaw diesels.

A requirement of the participation of two brands from the Volkswagen Group, Audi and Porsche, in the WEC is that they used different technologies.

Audi has lent its name to the Abt team's Formula E programme since the beginning of the series in 2014/15 and is stepping up its involvement for the 2016/17 season in what is envisaged will become a full factory engagement.

Audi's participation in the DTM is unaffected by the decision, and it is considering expanding its involvement in World Rallycross, where it currently offers technical support to 2016 champion Mattias Ekstrom's privateer team.

shares
comments
BMW DTM driver Blomqvist to make WEC debut at Shanghai

Previous article

BMW DTM driver Blomqvist to make WEC debut at Shanghai

Next article

Audi quits WEC: What does it mean for the championship and Le Mans?

Audi quits WEC: What does it mean for the championship and Le Mans?
Load comments
The standout memories of Le Mans 2021 Plus

The standout memories of Le Mans 2021

OPINION: With four of the five Hypercar entries unproven in a 24-hour race, it would not have been unexpected for at least one of them to suffer serious reliability trouble. That they all managed to make it through the race relatively unscathed, says GARY WATKINS, was something of a surprise.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Plus

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Plus

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness

WEC
Aug 22, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Plus

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Plus

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans Plus

The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans

The rising HubAuto team steps up to GTE Pro at Le Mans this year for an ambitious bid to take on the three works giants – and has every reason to be optimistic of achieving its goal in becoming the first privateer on the podium since 2016

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Plus

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and were considered heavy favourites to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen

Le Mans
Aug 14, 2021
Why Argentina’s current great isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio Plus

Why Argentina’s current great isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio

Having twice missed out on Formula 1 and reinvented himself as a touring car driver, Jose Maria Lopez has had a rocky ride to becoming a four-time world champion. One more would put him level with his nation's favourite son, but there's another prize he would value far more than the honour of matching Juan Manuel Fangio's tally

WEC
Aug 14, 2021