Audi linked with LMP1 withdrawal after 2017
Speculation is mounting that Audi may be set to call time on its ultra-successful LMP1 programme at the end of 2017.
Reports surfaced last week that the German firm is preparing to announce that it will withdraw from both the FIA World Endurance Championship and Le Mans from the end of next season, which would bring an end to its stellar sportscar career. Audi has scored 13 Le Mans wins since 1999 ( below) and has been a trailblazer for diesel technology.
A report is MN’S sister publication Autocar stated that sources close to company chairman Rupert Stadler say the firm has already made the decision to end its LMP1 programme due to ongoing costcutting in the aftermath of the ‘dieselgate’ road car scandal.
The Volkswagen Audi Group has also questioned whether pitting both its Audi and Porsche brands against each other in the same arena is in the best interest of the company.
The report also states that Audi’s motorsport programmes will be streamlined to free up budget to build a range of electric road cars, while the VAG is understood to no longer be keen to showcase its diesel engine technology after the emissions scandal.
The WEC is also set to alter its technical rules for 2018, mandating a 10 megajoule hybrid rule for all manufacturer LMP1 entries, a change that would necessitate major changes to Audi’s existing 6MJ 3.7-litre V6 TDI powertrain to achieve.
Audi is reportedly assessing its DTM commitment, but is said to remain dedicated to GT3 and GT4 programmes, and will expand its Formula E involvement in 2017/18. Audi bosses have declined to comment on the speculation.