Think of the FIA WEC series, and it is unlikely that one would not think about Audi and its mean machines running hybrid diesel powertrains, taking on the corners of Le Mans and the like. Well, if this is what you tend to get excited about, I am afraid there is some bad news for you. Audi Motorsport has officially announced that 2016 will be their last year competing in the Endurance Championship, including the 24 hours of Le Mans.
This decision will bring an era of successful motor racing to an end for the Ingolstadt based automobile manufacturer, who has taken part in the FIA WEC (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile World Endurance Championship) for 18 years, out of which they had 13 victories, two drivers’ and two manufacturers’ titles, making it the most successful brand in terms of race wins and titles in the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC since its introduction in 2012.
This development came about after Audi Motorsport teamed up with Team ABT Schaeffler to participate in the 2016-17 season of Formula-E racing series, and quitting the World Endurance Championship would help Audi concentrate more on the all-electric formula racing series.
Manufacturers are generally known to take away knowledge and experience from their motorsport ventures in order to use them in the development of their production cars, and this move by Audi can be seen as another such attempt, as Audi now wants to focus on development of zero emission electric vehicles, facing competition from the likes of Tesla. Audi had earlier revealed plans to include multiple zero-emission vehicles in their portfolio by 2025, and their Formula E venture would definitely benefit their development.
After Audi quits the WEC at the end of the year, there will be just two manufacturers left in the endurance championship – Porsche and Toyota. The Formula E series on the other hand has attracted many manufacturers like Jaguar, Renault, Mahindra, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Citroen.
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