Audi announces Le Mans and Dakar plans, Formula E exit
Audi will depart the Formula E series after its inaugural FIA World Championship season to pay attention to Le Mans and Dakar efforts, company representatives confirmed Monday. Audi will field a factory-backed Dakar Rally entry in 2022, and its go back to Le Mans is anticipated when 2023.
The 2021-2021 Formula E season is the very first in which Audi has fielded a car with a factory-built electric powertrain. As it turns out, it will likewise be the last. Audi will continue to produce Formula E powertrains because of its motorsports customers, nevertheless its works program is going to be terminated at season’s end.
“The Dakar Rally will replace Audi's factory involvement in Formula E, that will not be continued by means of an Audi factory team following the 2021 season,” the organization said in its Dakar announcement. “Using the newly developed Audi powertrain by customer teams will remain possible beyond the coming year.”
“In addition, we're evaluating other possible fields of activity for all of us in international motorsport,” said Audi Sport Managing Director Julius Seebach.
Per Autosport, those “other possible fields of activity” include a return to Le Mans, this time by having an LMDh entry. LMDh will develop the revised IMSA LMP2 chassis launching in 2022, and can feature 670-horsepower hybrid powertrains. LMDh (Le Mans Daytona h) is intended to be a lower-cost alternative to the flagship Hypercar class.
“Audi is the first car manufacturer which has committed to create a viable alternative drive concept for that Dakar Rally, making it an innovator in motorsport once again,” the organization said. “This year, Audi achieved the very first victory of a hybrid racing car in the Le Mans 24 Hours. The Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro remained unbeaten within the world's most important endurance race three times consecutively.”