audi incorporating formula e into a factory-backed program for 2017-2018 season – DOC687173
Formula E is starting to take off in popularity rankings. Sure, electric cars don’t exactly have the soul you find in cars internal combustion engines, but it’s still downright invigorating to watch. If you still don’t believe that Formula E will be around for long, Audi Sport’s next move should put any reluctance in your heart to rest. Audi Sport has had a relationship with Formula E team ABT Schaeffler since the 2014-2015 season, offering up a factory driver and its infrastructure in Neuburg. For the 2016 – 2017 season the relations ship between ABT and Audi Sport will strengthen even more as Audi Sport will be providing financial and technical support. In turn, Audi Sport gets to display the four rings on the sides and rear winds of the ABT Schaeffler FE02 effective immediately.
That’s not all, though, along with this announcement, Audi has announced that it is planning to incorporate Formula E into a factory-backed motorsport program for the 2017-2018 season. This should come as no surprise as electric mobility is a key factor in Audi’s future plans, with its first all-electric vehicle to come in the form of an SUV in 2018. Obviously, there’s no better place to root your electrification plans than Formula E racing.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, the Head of Audi Motorsport, said, “Audi has consistently been using motorsport to test and develop new technologies further for subsequent use in production. With Quattro drive, we revolutionised rally racing and subsequently set standards in circuit racing as well. In the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi was the first manufacturer to have achieved victories with a TFSI engine, a TDI, and a hybrid race car, so writing motorsport history on several occasions. Now we intend to repeat this in fully electric racing. Formula E with its races being held in the hearts of major cities is an ideal stage for this purpose and Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport a logical partner for us.”
Why it Matters
Given the fact that Formula E is barely out of the embryonic stage, this is a pretty big move for Audi. Not only will it open the doors for further development and testing of electric technology, but it also gets Audi’s name and logo out there even more. We’ll get to see Audi’s logo on the FE02 as early as September 5 at Donington Park where final testing is taking place before the official start of the season. The first race will be on October 9th in Hong Kong, which will be followed up by Marrakesh in November and Buenos Aires in February. We don’t get to see Formula E here in the U.S. until July of 2017 when the two final races of the year take place in New York.
Extension of Audi Sport’s partnership with Team ABT Schaeffler
Planned: Formula E inclusion in factory motorsport program starting in 2017/18
Audi is going to intensify its future commitment in the world’s first racing series for fully electric race cars. Starting in the 2016/2017 season that opens in Hong Kong on October 9, Audi will increase its involvement in Formula E Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport. In addition, it is planned to incorporate Formula E into a factory-backed motorsport program as of the 2017/2018 season.
“Electric mobility is one of the key topics in our industry,” says Dr. Stefan Knirsch, Member of the Board of Management, Technical Development, AUDI AG. “We intend to evolve into one of the leading premium car manufacturers in this field. By 2025, every fourth Audi should be an electric vehicle. The first model for this is planned to be an SUV we’re going to present in 2018. In the light of these plans, adapting our motorsport program and taking up a commitment in a fully electric racing series is only a logical move.”
Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich: “Audi has consistently been using motorsport to test and develop new technologies further for subsequent use in production. With quattro drive we revolutionised rally racing and subsequently set standards in circuit racing as well. In the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi was the first manufacturer to have achieved victories with a TFSI engine, a TDI and a hybrid race car, so writing motorsport history on several occasions. Now we intend to repeat this in fully electric racing. Formula E with its races being held in the hearts of major cities is an ideal stage for this purpose and Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport a logical partner for us.”
Audi Sport has been giving its name to the team ever since the inaugural 2014/2015 Formula E season and in the Brazilian Lucas di Grassi making one of its factory drivers available in the course of this cooperation. In addition, the team has been able to use Audi Sport’s infrastructure in Neuburg. Starting in the 2016/2017 season, Audi is going to intensify the existing partnership with Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport by financial and technical support. For the 2017/2018 season, on the road toward a fully fledged factory commitment, Audi Sport will be joining the development step by step in close cooperation with technology partner Schaeffler.
Audi’s commitment in Formula E will be visible to the fans as well. With immediate effect, the four rings will be prominently featured on the sides and the rear wings of the ABT Schaeffler FE02. The fully electric single-seater race cars will be sporting their new liveries on the race track for the first time from Monday to Wednesday next week (September 5 to 7) at Donington Park in the UK where the final tests will be held before the Formula E season starts in Hong Kong.
The 2016/2017 Formula E season calendar currently features twelve races in ten international metropolises. On June 10, 2017, the electric racing series will visit Berlin. The two final races will be held in New York (USA) on July 29/30, 2017.
The drivers of Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport are Daniel Abt (Germany) and Lucas di Grassi (Brazil) who are now tackling their third joint Formula E season as teammates. Di Grassi was third in the drivers’ classification in the inaugural season and as vice champion just barely missed the championship title in the 2015/2016 season.
FIA Formula E 2016/2017 calendar
October 9, 2016 Hong Kong (CN)
November 12, 2016 Marrakesh (MA)
February 18, 2017 Buenos Aires (AR)
April 1, 2017 Mexico City (MEX)
May 13, 2017 Monaco (MC)
May 20, 2017 Paris (F)
June 10, 2017 Berlin (D)
July 1, 2017 Brussels (B)
July 15, 2017 Montreal (CDN)
July 16, 2017 Montreal (CDN)
July 29, 2017 New York (USA)
July 30, 2017 New York (USA)