Audi is shaking up its motorsports division, announcing that it is pulling out of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and refocusing its effort into Formula E.
That means that Audi will also pull out of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of the world’s most famous races. The brand says that the move away from WEC is driven by Audi’s desire to stay competitive in the years ahead as automobiles move towards electric power.
“We’re going to contest the race for the future on electric power,” said Chairman of the Board of Management Rupert Stadler. “As our production cars are becoming increasingly electric, our motorsport cars, as Audi’s technological spearheads, have to even more so.”
Audi plans to offer a fully battery-electric vehicle starting in 2018, though the brand’s commitment to Formula E will begin in 2017. Audi is on its way to having a full factory-backed team but for now, the manufacturer is actively joining in the development of a car with Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport.
Audi will remain in DTM racing, though no decision has yet been made on Audi’s involvement in the FIA World Rallycross Championship.
For the last 18 years, Audi has won 13 victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.