Audi will terminate their commitment to the World Endurance Championship as a works team in favour of the all-electric Formula E series, it has been revealed.
Chairman of the Board of Management Rupert Stadler announced to the 300 employees of the German car-makers’ motorsport department that the company would be fully focusing on electric motorsport.
“We’re going to contest the race for the future on electric power,” said Stadler. “As our production cars are becoming increasingly electric, our motorsport cars, as Audi’s technological spearheads, have to even more so.”
Audi will still participate in DTM, and the company is still weighing up its options regarding World Rallycross which supports the EKS team.
Audi have had a hugely successful era in endurance racing bringing many innovations to the sport. The team won the 24 Hours of Le Mans 13 times and was the first to win using diesel power and using a hybrid engine.
Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich reflected on a remarkable period in the companys’ history.
“After 18 years in prototype racing that were exceptionally successful for Audi, it’s obviously extremely hard to leave,” said Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Audi Sport Team Joest shaped the WEC during this period like no other team. I would like to express my thanks to our squad, to Reinhold Joest and his team, to the drivers, partners and sponsors for this extremely successful cooperation. It’s been a great time!”
Audi intensified their existing partnership with the ABT team for season three and have paved the way for a full factory commitment with the outfit beyond 2017.
The German manfuacturer is the latest in a long line of motoring organisations to join the all-electric series with Jaguar joinging for season three, and Mercedes pledging to join after season five.