Audi quits Formula E, will instead return to Le Mans and mount Dakar Rally campaign

The German manufacturer is switching its motorsport focus.

Audi has confirmed it will withdraw from the FIA Formula E Championship at the end of the 2020-2021 season, switching its focus instead to a Dakar rally campaign as well as making a return to endurance racing.

Audi has been a mainstay of the all-electric single-seater category since its inception in 2014, firstly as a technical partner for the privateer Abt team before taking full control in 2017. Audi has scored 12 race wins in that time, as well as winning the 2017-18 teams’ championship.

Audi will instead focus its motorsport energies on a return to endurance racing in 2023, specifically the LMDh category in both the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the US-based IMSA SportsCar Championship. LMDh is effectively the new LMP2, a more cost-effective category than the Le Mans Hypercar regulations that come into effect next year.

The LMDh regulations allow for a manufacturer-designed and built body and drivetrain married to a control hybrid drive system comprising a battery array made by Williams Advanced Engineering and a Bosch electric motor.

“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.

“The most important message for our fans is that motorsport will continue to play an important role at Audi.”

Audi withdrew from the WEC at the end of 2016, having amassed an astonishing 13 outright victories between 2000-14.

Audio also confirmed it will return to rallying for the first time since it dominated the Group B era with its innovative Quattro.

While details remain sketchy, Audi said in a statement it will campaign “an innovative prototype”, likely to be based on its all-electric e-Tron SUV.

“The Dakar Rally will replace Audi’s factory involvement in Formula E,” Audi said in a statement.

Audi’s final season of Formula E gets underway in Chile in January.

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