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Audi with new motorsport strategy: Formula E instead of WEC 2016.11.01

Ingolstadt/Neckarsulm, Germany - October 26, 2016 - Audi is realigning its motorsport strategy. The premium brand will terminate its FIA WEC commitment, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, at the end of the 2016 season. Instead Audi is taking up a factory-backed commitment in the all-electric Formula E racing series. 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.

WEC Fuji 2016
Andreas Seidel and Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport.
October 16, 2016
Photo courtesy of Audi
 

Ingolstadt/Neckarsulm, Germany – October 26, 2016

• New focus on electric race cars in FIA Formula E

• Audi CEO Stadler: “We’re going to contest the race for the future on electric power”

• DTM commitment unchanged, job guarantee for motorsport employees


Audi is realigning its motorsport strategy.
The premium brand will terminate its FIA WEC commitment, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, at the end of the 2016 season.

Instead Audi is taking up a factory-backed commitment in the all-electric Formula E racing series.

WEC Fuji 2016
Audi R18 (2016) #8 (Audi Sport Team Joest) Oliver Jarvis, Loïc Duval, Lucas di Grassi.
October 16, 2016
Photo courtesy of Audi
 
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.

WEC Fuji 2016
Audi R18 (2016) #8 (Audi Sport Team Joest) Oliver Jarvis, Loïc Duval, Lucas di Grassi.
October 16, 2016
Photo courtesy of Audi
 
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.

Prof. Rupert Stadler
Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG
.
Photo courtesy of Audi
 
“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.”

WEC Fuji 2016
Audi R18 (2016) #8 (Audi Sport Team Joest) Oliver Jarvis, Loïc Duval, Lucas di Grassi.
October 16, 2016
Photo courtesy of Audi
 
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.

WEC Fuji 2016 – Atmosphere
October 16, 2016
Photo courtesy of Audi
 
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.

WEC Fuji 2016
Audi R18 (2016) #8 (Audi Sport Team Joest) Oliver Jarvis, Loïc Duval, Lucas di Grassi.
October 16, 2016
Photo courtesy of Audi
 
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.

WEC Fuji 2016
Loïc Duval, Lucas di Grassi and Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport.
October 16, 2016
Photo courtesy of Audi
 
The commitment in the DTM, where Audi will be competing with the successor of the Audi RS 5 DTM in 2017, will remain untouched. In mid-October, the premium brand won the manufacturers’ and teams’ classifications.

WEC Fuji 2016
Pascal Vasselon, Fritz Enzinger and Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport.
October 16, 2016
Photo courtesy of Audi
 
In 2013, Mike Rockenfeller most recently brought the title of DTM Champion home for the four rings.

No final decision has yet been made concerning a future involvement in the FIA World Rallycross Championship (World RX).

WEC Fuji 2016
Audi R18 (2016) #8 (Audi Sport Team Joest) Oliver Jarvis, Loïc Duval, Lucas di Grassi.
October 16, 2016
Photo courtesy of Audi
 
In the current 2016 season, DTM factory driver Mattias Ekström in his Audi S1 EKS RX quattro clinched the World Championship title early, competing against numerous factory teams.

Up to now, Audi’s involvement has been limited to supporting the private EKS team.

WEC Fuji 2016 – Atmosphere
October 16, 2016
Photo courtesy of Audi
 
The brand is currently evaluating a possible extension of the commitment, the exciting topic of electrification being on the agenda in rallycross racing as well.

The departure from the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) marks the end of a successful era.

Formula E is rewriting the rules of traditional racing.
With zero emissions and a lower noise threshold, Formula E races will take place in metropolitan city centers around the world.
The space-age whir of the electric engine reaches about 80 decibels, only slightly louder than a road car, and is far more fan friendly.
From the streets of Beijing to the beaches of Miami, the urban courses will make Formula E accessible to an entirely new population of fans.
Photo courtesy of Qualcomm
 
For 18 years, the brand was active in Le Mans prototype racing.

During this period, it scored 13 victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and set numerous technical milestones.

At Le Mans, Audi clinched the first victory of a TFSI engine (2001), the first success of a race car with a TDI engine (2006), plus the first triumph of a sports car with a hybrid powertrain (2012).

Photo courtesy of Qualcomm
 
In the brand’s 185 races contested to date, Audi’s Le Mans prototypes have achieved 106 victories, 80 pole positions and 94 fastest race laps.

On two occasions, Audi won the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with the Audi R18 e-tron quattro race car.

Formula E racing isn’t a glimpse into the future.
It is the future. Imagine custom-engineered, all-electric, open wheel race cars navigating urban courses at speeds that will shock you.
This is a sport reimagined for tomorrow and the perfect platform to put emerging technologies to the test.
Photo courtesy of Qualcomm
 
In addition, from 2000 to 2008, Audi, nine times in succession, secured the title in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), the world’s most important racing series for Le Mans prototypes at the time.


ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport are the sole German outfit on the Formula E grid.
Photo courtesy of Formula E
 
“After 18 years in prototype racing that were exceptionally successful for Audi, it’s obviously extremely hard to leave,” says Head of Audi Motorsport 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!”

ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport are the sole German outfit on the Formula E grid.
Photo courtesy of Formula E
 
Due to the LMP commitment, Audi has been demonstrating Vorsprung durch Technik and learning a lot for use in production.


About Audi

With the Audi and Lamborghini brands, the Audi Group has long been one of the most successful car manufacturers in the premium and supercar segment.

Audi Forum Ingolstadt, Germany.
Photo courtesy of Audi
 
Since 2012, motorbikes from the traditional Italian brand Ducati have supplemented the range.

Furthermore, the Audi Group also supplies other Volkswagen Group brands to customers via sales companies.

Audi e-tron quattro concept
Photo courtesy of Audi
 
Volkswagen AG, Wolfsburg, holds around 99.55 per cent of the share capital of AUDI AG.

A control and profit transfer agreement exists between the two companies.

Instead of a dividend, outside shareholders of AUDI AG receive a compensatory payment on their stockholding.

Audi Sport Neuburg, Germany.
Competence Center Motorsport in Neuburg
Photo courtesy of Audi
 
The amount is based on the dividend paid on one Volkswagen AG ordinary share, which is determined at the Annual General Meeting of Volkswagen AG.

AUDI AG shares are traded on seven stock exchanges.


Contact

Stefan Moser
Head of Motorsport Communications
Tel. +49 841 89-35550
stefan1.moser@audi.de  


Sources:

Audi AG

http://www.audi.com/en.html  

https://www.audi-mediacenter.com/en  

FIA Formula E

http://www.fiaformulae.com/en  



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