To support the launch of its first all-electric road car in 2018, Audi has confirmed a significant step-up in its Formula E racing program.
The German manufacturer is targeting electric cars for 25 per-cent of its global sales by 2025 and will launch an electric SUV, based on the e-tron quattro concept, next year.
In the meantime, for the 2017-18 all-electric Formula E racing series which starts in Hong Kong on 9 October, Audi has boosted its involvement – technical and financial – with the ‘ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport’ team.
Brazilian Audi Sport World Endurance Championship team driver Lucas di Grassi (who nearly won the Formula E Championship last year) will line-up for the third season in the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team alongside German team-mate Daniel Abt.
So, for this season’s Formula E Championship, the team cars will for the first time feature Audi’s ‘four-ring’ logo and, in preparation for a fully-fledged factory team in the 2017-18 title chase, Audi will partner with Schaeffler to jointly develop the next-generation racers.
The move is consistent with Audi’s practice of using motorsport to develop technology for its road cars.
Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive systems were developed from rallying and, with the WEC sports cars, Audi was the first manufacturer to win using a TFSI petrol engine, then with a TDI turbo-diesel and, more recently, with a hybrid drivetrain.
Jaguar will be racing in Formula E starting this season – joining DS, Mahindra, Audi, and Renault in the all-electric race program.