Audi To Exit Le Mans, Will Focus On Formula E

8 months ago by Mark Kane 7

Audi Sport Neuburg

Audi Sport Neuburg

Just a month ago Audi announced its full commitment to the Formula E with the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, which in the fourth season (2017/2018) will become Audi’s official factory team.

But because Audi’s budget isn’t what it used to be, the German company needs to conserve its resources, and money spend in one place, requires cut elsewhere.

ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport FE02

ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport FE02

That budgetary choice fell on the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).

Audi will terminate its engagement in the series (after 18 years), including the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the conclusion of the current season.

According to the company, this is how Audi is showing what is really most important movement today for the future of automotive market.

Bascially, the future is electric, so the racing program needs to move in step, and also be on the forefront of the changes.

“Speaking to 300 employees of the motorsport department on Wednesday morning, Chairman of the Board of Management Rupert Stadler put this strategic decision in the context of the current burdens on the brand, pointing out that it was important to focus on the things that would keep Audi competitive in the years ahead. That is why the Board of Management had decided to terminate Audi’s commitment in endurance racing. In the future, Audi will be using the know-how and skills of the motorsport experts from Neuburg and Neckarsulm partially in motorsport and partially in production development.

“We’re going to contest the race for the future on electric power,” says Stadler. “As our production cars are becoming increasingly electric, our motorsport cars, as Audi’s technological spearheads, have to even more so.” The first all-electric racing series perfectly matches the strategy of offering fully battery-electric models year by year starting in 2018, Audi currently being in the greatest transformation stage in the company’s history. The commitment in FIA Formula E will already commence in 2017. It is regarded as the racing series with the greatest potential for the future. That is why Audi has intensified the existing partnership with Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport in the current 2016/2017 season. On the road toward a full factory commitment, the manufacturer is now actively joining the technical development.”

Hat tip to Peter H!

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7 responses to "Audi To Exit Le Mans, Will Focus On Formula E"

  1. pjwood1 says:

    Well, this is hard to fake.

  2. Avishay says:

    This is huge. Audi has been dominating the 24hr for many years, using it as a platform to show the superiority of their diesel engines. For them to leave such a prestigious race for F-E means there really is a paradigm shift inside VAG. I wonder if this marks the nearing end of ICE car races.

  3. Yogurt says:

    Formula E is definetly growing as Jaguar, Mercedes, Faraday Future, Next EV, Renault, Mahindra are also involved and BMW and Nissan are reportedly considering joining…
    http://www.autoblog.com/2016/07/07/bmw-nissan-formula-e-entry/

    There will be a second EV racing series in 2018…
    http://blackflag.jalopnik.com/global-rallycross-will-have-an-all-electric-series-in-2-1788341173

    1. Peter says:

      McLaren is involved too, as they won the 2-season contract to supply the improved battery pack for all cars for the upcoming seasons of the Formula E championship.

      https://electrek.co/2016/09/30/mclaren-wins-contract-to-supply-batteries-to-formula-e-amid-rumors-of-tie-up-with-apple/

      Quote: “The automaker and Formula E say that the battery technology will allow to double the current capacity and enable the drivers to complete a full race distance in a single car instead of changing vehicle mid-race like they currently do.”

      1. pjwood1 says:

        Given that Formula E currently consists of ~250HP cars, I wonder if the battery replacement strategy, if done faster, wouldn’t have enabled better racing and higher power/weight (~1,600lbs). This is a far cry from 500-1,000HP
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formula_E_car

        A Tesla settles in, on the track, at about 300HP but is much heavier (~5,000lb). The power restriction goes on while “Battery Cooling” uses the other resources the car normally has. I’ve seen 100 miles of range fall off in the span of ~30 track miles. What’s going on in Formula E appears to be the same thing on a smaller scale. You have to retard power, or end up wrestling heat issues, at thousands of watt hours per mile. More resilient batteries can’t be far behind this news.

        Musing some more, Porsche would have been the one I’d think would go EV racing, with its Mission E development. Their LMP1 LeMans car has recently been more successful than Audi’s. So, maybe that? This move could kill Mission E, or re-badge it? It could come down to how much the troubled parent forces the two companies to mix it up.

        1. Yogurt says:

          I think the fact that a gas Porsche beat Audis winning diesel sealed Audis LeMans fate along with the diesel scandal…
          The parent does not want to be spending big money on their two kids to beat each other up…
          Simalarly Nissian is reported to have to get Renaults approval before it enters Formula E…

          I dont think this will affect the Mission E in any way as all of the VW group plans to be electrifing there line up…

  4. G2 Moto says:

    Have you ever watched a Formula E race. Boring!