Audi to exit WEC after 2016 to focus on Formula E

by James Thompson

Audi will exit the World Endurance Championship (WEC) at the end of the season in order to focus on FIA Formula E.

This means that the 13 times 24 Hours of Le Mans winners will not be returning to the legendary race next year.

Speaking to 300 employees of Audi Motorsport on Wednesday morning, Chairman of the Board of Management, Rupert Stadler, declared that the decision was based on the growing importance of Formula E to future electric vehicle production.

“We’re going to contest the race for the future on electric power,” he said.  “As our production cars are becoming increasingly electric, our motorsport cars, as Audi’s technological spearheads, have to even more so.”

This means that the previously works blessed Team ABT Schaeffler Formula E squad will become a full factory outfit.

Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich added: “After 18 years in prototype racing that were exceptionally successful for Audi, it’s obviously extremely hard to leave.

“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.”

Since Audi joined the top tier of prototype racing in 1999 it has taken 106 race victories, including 13 wins at Le Mans.  The German marquee have also confirmed that their participation in the DTM Series will continue.

However, the brand is currently considering greater involvement in the FIA World Rallycross Championship (World RX).  Audi have previously given limited support to Mattias Ekström’s privateer EKS team, however, his World RX title success in the Audi S1 EKS RX Quattro, have made the company evaluate a possible extension of the commitment.

Audi’s final WEC race will be the 6 Hours of Bahrain on the 19th November.

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