Audi quits Le Mans to fo­cus on elec­tric-car rac­ing

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Audi will quit par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Le Mans sports car race and the re­lated world en­durance cham­pi­onship next year after al­most two decades and shift re­sources to elec­tric-car rac­ing, it said. Volk­swa­gen-owned Audi, grap­pling with costs of its emis­sions scan­dal, is cut­ting spend­ing to fund a strate­gic shift to elec­tric cars and au­ton­o­mous driv­ing, mir­ror­ing plans by par­ent VW.

“We will con­duct the race for the fu­ture elec­tron­i­cally,” Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Ru­pert Stadler told work­ers on Wed­nes­day at Audi’s sports-car divi­sion, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from Audi cit­ing the big­gest trans­for­ma­tion in the brand’s his­tory. Audi de­nied a re­port by Han­dels­blatt say­ing sav­ings from pulling out of Le Mans and the World En­durance Cham­pi­onship would amount to an an­nual 300 mil­lion eu­ros ($328 mil­lion). A source at Audi said the move would save Audi nearly 100 mil­lion eu­ros per year.

Audi has won the 24-hour Le Mans race, one of the great­est tests of en­durance for cars and driv­ers, 13 times in 18 years, a spokesman said. Seek­ing to boost the share of zero-emis­sion ve­hi­cles to at least a quar­ter of its global sales by 2025, Audi said it will next year start com­pet­ing in the For­mula E elec­tric-car rac­ing cham­pi­onship. The In­gol­stadt-based man­u­fac­turer said its cars would stay in Ger­many’s DTM com­pe­ti­tion and it was look­ing at the pos­si­bil­ity of ex­pand­ing its en­gage­ment in the so-called RX World Ral­ly­cross cham­pi­onship where elec­tri­fi­ca­tion will also play a role. — Reuters

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