Audi is set to intensify its future commitment in the FIA Formula E Championship - the world’s first fully-electric racing series. Starting in the 2016/17 season with the opening round in Hong Kong on October 9, Audi will increase its involvement with the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport Formula E Team. In addition, it is planned to incorporate Formula E into a factory-backed motorsport programme as of the 2017/18 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 light of these plans, adapting our motorsport programme and taking up a commitment in a fully-electric racing series is only a logical move.”
Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, 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 heart of major cities is an ideal stage for this purpose and ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport a logical partner for us.”
Audi Sport has been giving its name to the team ever since the inaugural 2014/15 Formula E season and making Lucas di Grassi one of its factory drivers available throughout the course of this cooperation. In addition, the team has been able to use Audi Sport’s infrastructure in Neuburg.
From next season, Audi is going to intensify the existing partnership with ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport with financial and technical support. For the 2017/18 season, on the road towards 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 to 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 next week (September 5-7) at Donington Park in the UK, where the final test will be held before the Formula E season starts in Hong Kong.
By Andrew van de Burgt