Audi announces Le Mans and Dakar plans, Formula E exit

01 Décembre, 2020, 20:00 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Audi Sport Team Abt Schaeffler

Audi's made a landmark announcement with respect to its involvement in worldwide motorsport.

The last time the German manufacturer was involved in any type of rallying, we ended up with the famous Quattro model.

Customer racing remains the second major pillar in Audi's future motorsport programme.

The company says that "the aim is to permanently improve the performance of the electric drivetrain and the battery in the years to come", suggesting that this might not be a one-year effort of competing in the Dakar Rally. The only reason we had so many diesel-powered cars winning at the 24 Hours of Le Mans between 2006 and 2009 was that Audi chose to use the R10 TDI to convince everyone diesel wasn't just efficient and economical, but also reliable and quite powerful. The LMDh class is expected to become active in Europe starting in 2022.

Meanwhile, IMSA is yet to confirm that it will allow LMH cars to compete in its series at all.

"We are intensively preparing to enter the new sports prototype category LMDh with its highlight races, the Daytona 24 Hours and Le Mans 24 Hours", said managing director of Audi Sport GmbH, Julius Seebach.

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Other than Toyota and Peugeot, most manufacturers have shunned the LMH regulations (which requires production cars to be built to match the Le Mans racers), instead opting for the cheaper LMDh rules. The Audi e-tron is a bestseller in many markets.

If confirmed it will mark the return of the Audi brand to the top tier of prototype racing for the first time since the marque withdrew from LMP1 at the end of the 2016 FIA WEC season in the wake of the Dieselgate scandal.

"A multifaceted commitment to motorsport is and will remain an integral part of Audi's strategy", says Markus Duesmann, chairman of the board of management and board of management member for technical development and product Lines at Audi.

Audi has confirmed that cross-country rallying will be the spearhead of the factory motorsport commitment in the future.

The Dakar Rally is arguably the world's most gruelling race, spanning tens of thousands of kilometres across harsh desert environments.

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.

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