Audi Exits DTM, Shifts Focus To Formula E
With its parent company Volkswagen having already committed to focusing on all-electric motorsport, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Audi has announced it will be leaving the DTM at the end of the season to focus on Formula E.
Audi began racing in Germany’s foremost touring car series from 1990 to 1992, and rejoined the series in 2000. To say it was a success would be an almost sarcastic understatement: in those years, Audi racked up 23 championship titles (including eleven driver titles), 114 victories, 345 podium finishes, 106 pole positions and 112 fastest laps.
As you would also expect from the manufacturer that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans 13 times and the World Endurance Championship twice outright during its time in sports cars, the Four Rings has been no slouch since joining Formula E either. Since its inaugural season in 2014, the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team has scored 41 podiums and a championship crown.
To see Audi follow series pillar Mercedes’ example though and pull the plug on its DTM program is no less of a shock, given their conjoined histories.
“Audi has shaped the DTM and the DTM has shaped Audi,” says Markus Duesmann, chairman of the board of management of Audi. “This demonstrates what power lies in motorsport – technologically and emotionally.
“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. To complement it, we’re investigating other progressive motorsport formats for the future.”
Officially, the car company cites the devastating effects of Covid-19 on the sport as the reason for leaving, but it also has plans to make 40 percent of its sales with electric cars and plug-in-hybrids by 2025, so there’s a hefty reason to push the EV race series from a marketing aspect. It will, however, continue to support private racers in various series around the world.
Audi‘s decision, and the recent departure of the Aston Martin works R-Motorsport team, leaves BMW as the only manufacturer left in DTM, putting the series’ future itself in doubt.
*Images courtesy of Audi