Audi linked with LMP1 with­drawal after 2017

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

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.

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