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Audi leaving WEC to chase electrifying future
Audi has officially announced its retirement from the World Endurance Championship (WEC), after 18 years of unparalleled success. The withdrawal will take place almost immediately, making the current WEC season Audi’s last, to allow Audi Motorsport to focus on the upcoming Formula E racing campaign beginning in 2017.
Having won 13 of the 18 24-hour races they have competed in, and finishing on the podium in the other five, Audi have dominated endurance racing since they began. They are also the first team to win with both diesel and hybrid cars, showing an engineering prowess that will serve them well as they move to Formula E.
Formula E is the world’s first electric racing series, started in 2014. Ten teams currently take part, including Audi, Renault and Jaguar, and is set to grow as two new entries will be allocated for the 2018-19 season following approval by the International Automobile Federation.
Rupert Stadler, Audi chairman, said about the change: ‘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 be even more so.’
The quality of Audi’s electric offerings to the public has been phenomenal in the last few years, with the outstanding e-tron range including the compact A3 and the dynamic Q7. Both of these powerhouse options are available to explore and test drive here at Jardine Motors Audi.
It’s sure to be an emotional goodbye for everyone involved though, as Audi’s motorsport boss, Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, said: ‘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!’
The creativity that will be possible in the Formula E circuits will certainly be an appropriate replacement for endurance racing, and Audi’s current position in the world of electronic cars promises a strong start for the iconic four rings.