The LMP1 category of the FIA World Endurance Championship has taken a big hit, with Audi confirming it will wave goodbye to the series at the end of the 2016 season.
As always with these stories, there have been a whole host of rumours surrounding Audi’s involvement in the FIA WEC over the past few weeks, with some stating that the German manufacturer would pull out next year.
However, Audi has now made an announcement confirming it will completely cut its WEC programme at the end of this season, choosing to focus more on Formula E.
Audi won the WEC titles in 2012 and 2013 and has claimed 13 Le Mans victories in its 18-year involvement in the famous endurance race.
Audi is calling it quits with LMP1 to instead go for factory involvement with the Abt Schaeffler Formula E squad – further proof of the all-electric series attracting the big motorsport names.
Interestingly though, Audi’s DTM programme will be “untouched” – it’s one of three manufacturers competing in the tin-top series right now.
Here’s what the chairman of the board of management at Audi, Rupert Sadler, said on the decision:
“We’re going to contest the race for the future on electric power. As our production cars are becoming increasingly electric, our motorsport cars, as Audi’s technological spearheads, have to even more so.”
And Audi’s head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, added:
“After 18 years in prototype racing that were exceptionally successful for Audi, it’s obviously extremely hard to leave. 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!”