Audi to leave Formula E and focus on Dakar, Le Mans

By REUTERS | 1 December 2020

INGOLSTADT: Audi will withdraw from the all-electric Formula E series as a works team at the end of next year to focus on the Dakar Rally and endurance racing including an eventual return to Le Mans, the carmaker said on Monday.

The Dakar Rally will replace Formula E as the Volkswagen-owned brand’s focus, although Audi said customer Formula E teams will be able to use a newly-developed powertrain beyond next year.

Audi will compete in the Dakar with an electric SUV prototype. The alternative drive concept combines an electric drivetrain with a high-voltage battery and a highly efficient energy converter for the first time. The energy converter comes in the form of a highly efficient TFSI engine.

“Cross-country rallying will be the spearhead of the factory motorsport commitment in the future,” Audi said in a statement.

Le Mans 2014

The marque has been involved with Formula E since the series, now a recognised world championship, started in 2014 and won the team title in 2018.

Audi said it will enter a new LMDh category class of the world endurance championship, without setting a date for a works return to Le Mans.

Audi also said customer racing would remain important in its future motorsport programme. Audi Sport customer racing will continue to offer its customers a comprehensive model portfolio, as well as intensive service for worldwide racing.

In addition, the programme includes competing with the Audi R8 LMS in major endurance races like the Nürburgring 24 Hours and in international racing series such as the Intercontinental GT Challenge.