New motorsport focus
Audi Sport to withdraw from DTM to concentrate on Formula E from 2021.
Audi Sport has announced it will restructure its motorsport activities from next year, ending its long involvement with the DTM to concentrate on other types of motorsport with Formula E taking centre stage.
28 April, 2020
When the world recovers from the effects of COVID-19 it will no doubt look very different in any number of ways. One area that will certainly enter a whole new era for Audi is that of motorsport, with the brand announcing that it will wrap up its involvement in the DTM (German Touring Car Masters) after 2020.
While Audi Sport has enjoyed tremendous success in the hugely competitive touring car series, the brand is looking to restructure its motorsport activities to be more inline with the company’s drive to become a provider of premium mobility with a carbon-neutral footprint.
With Audi planning to generate around 40 percent of its sales with electric cars and plug-in-hybrids by 2025, the motorsport focus will be on Formula E as the centre piece of the brand’s motorsport activities as well as its ongoing customer racing programs around the globe.
The brand has been represented in Formula E ever since the popular fully electric racing series started in 2014. In that time, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler has proved to be the most successful team in the progressive racing formula, accumulating 41 trophies, a manufacturers’ championship and a drivers’ championship amongst the many successes.
While Audi Sport has enjoyed tremendous success in the hugely competitive touring car series, the brand is looking to restructure its motorsport activities
Audi has shaped the DTM and the DTM has shaped Audi. This demonstrates what power lies in motorsport
The Audi driver pairing on Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt is the longest running in Formula E and both drivers have enjoyed great success, with a string of pole positions, fastest laps, race wins and in the case of di Grassi, a drivers’ championship crown.
The time is right for Audi to realign its motorsport activities and the Formula E series is the perfect fit for the brand’s ongoing focus.
Team principal of Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler and former Audi driver, Allan McNish, believes the focus on Formula E and the timing is right.
"Since the old Auto Union days, motorsport has been a big part of the DNA of the brand. And it continues, because Audi always choses racing categories that allow the transfer of race to road technology,” McNish says.
“Audi has shaped the DTM and the DTM has shaped Audi. This demonstrates what power lies in motorsport – technologically and emotionally,” says Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG.
“With this energy, we’re going to drive our transformation into a provider of sporty, sustainable electric mobility forward. That’s why we’re also focusing our efforts on the race track and systematically competing for tomorrow’s ‘Vorsprung.’” Formula E offers a very attractive platform for this and to complement it, we’re investigating other progressive motorsport formats for the future.”
Audi has enjoyed a tremendously successful time in DTM, thrilling crowds from the brand’s very first season. With 23 championship titles, including 11 driver titles, 114 victories, 345 podium finishes, 106 pole positions and 112 fastest laps, Audi has shaped the DTM from 1990 to 1992 and from 2000 onwards. With three out of three possible championship titles, numerous podiums and many other records, 2019 has so far been the most successful DTM season in the company’s history.
Of course, Audi would like to see out the 2020 season and bid farewell to the DTM fans with a successful title defence in all three championships, but the COVID-19 situation leaves that still very much up in the air. “We’re hoping that this currently difficult situation will improve soon and that we’ll still be able to contest a few DTM races this year,” says Member of the Board for Development Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler.
“The fans would deserve this, and so would the ITR (governing body), our drivers as well as our teams and partners, who will now have adequate advance notice to reposition themselves for the time after 2020.
Successful motorsport is – and will continue to be – an important element of Audi’s DNA.”
Of course, Audi would like to see out the 2020 season and bid farewell to the DTM fans with a successful title defence in all three championships
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