Audi are to increase their involvement in Formula E this season by providing more financial and technical support to Abt Schaeffler Audi.
The German manufacturer has been involved with the team since the inaugural season of the series, sponsoring the car and allowing Lucas di Grassi to race for them alongside his WEC commitments with Audi.
However with more manufacturers entering the sport Audi took the decision to intensify their commitment for the 2016/17 season, before having a factory-backed program for the 2017/18 season.
The move comes after di Grassi voiced concerns that Abt might fall behind their rivals without the backing of a manufacturer.
Renault e.dams have had a stronger package than Abt over the past two seasons, and with Citroen, Jaguar and BMW now involved the Brazilian thought that having a manufacturer involved would be vital for Abt to stay at the sharp end of the grid.
Audi said the move was driven by the desire to develop new technology that can be used in their production cars.
Their Head of Motorsport, Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, said “Audi has consistently been using motorsport to test and develop new technologies further for subsequent use in production.
“In the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi was the first manufacturer to have achieved victories with a TFSI engine, a TDI and a hybrid race car, so writing motorsport history on several occasions.
“Now we intend to repeat this in fully electric racing. Formula E with its races being held in the hearts of major cities is an ideal stage for this purpose and Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport a logical partner for us.”
To mark their increased involvement, the Audi logo will now appear more prominently on the Abt car, with the team debuting their new livery at the second official test next week.