The Dieselgate scandal that hit the Volkswagen Group (VAG) has claimed another victim, probably its biggest yet. Audi, who promotes its diesel powertrains through their diesel-powered LMP1 car in the World Endurance Championship (WEC), has decided to pull the plug on it. Instead, Ingolstadt will shift its focus in Formula E.
Audi has had a strong presence in prototype endurance racing for decades. Over 18 years, Audi has won the Le Mans 24 Hours a staggering 13 times, thanks to their turbodiesel technology. This year’s WEC campaign will sadly become Audi’s last.
Moving forward, the Four Rings believes that Formula E will pave the way for the future, especially when road cars are beginning to embrace electrification. Formula E’s low-cost structure and open development for electric cars mean it’s a wise investment for Audi. They have took over Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, the team they previously sponsored.
There’s a few reasons why this decision is sensible. Funds are tight after VAG incurred billions in fines and suffering massive losses due to the Dieselgate saga. Furthermore, Porsche’s presence in the LMP1 category means it’s not feasible to have two VAG brands duking it out for Le Mans glory in the long run. It has been a long and fruitful journey for Audi in Le Mans, but unfortunately, it’s time to move on. Hopefully their successes will reward them handsomely in the all-electric Formula E series.
After all, in motorsports, if you don’t take risk, you won’t win. Let’s hope Audi thinks that way…