Surprisingly, Audi has confirmed that it will take part in the Dakar Rally from 2022 and is « intensively preparing for it » a Le Mans return in the LMDh
As part of the spate of OEMs who have entered Formula E in recent years, we really thought Audi would be there for the long term. After the company only joined as a full factory team in 2017, it is already giving up – it will be gone after the 2021 season. An even bigger surprise is that Ingolstadt will instead turn its attention to non-customer motorsport: the Dakar Rally, the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA.
For the former, Audi is preparing “an innovative prototype” that will “for the first time operate an electric drive train with a high-voltage battery and a highly efficient energy converter”. . “Highly efficient converter” means a TFSI engine that technically turns the car into a series hybrid, as opposed to a full-fledged electric vehicle. This gives the car the range it needs to tackle the longer stages of Dakar, some of which were over 300 miles long to host the 2020 event in Saudi Arabia.
Although Dakar is the focus of Audi’s announcement, Audi Sport Managing Director Julius Seebach also confirmed that the company is « intensively preparing for entry into the new LMDh sports prototype category ». . This includes participation in the 24 Hours of Daytona and 24 Hours of Le Mans.
LMDh machines are qualified for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship organized by the IMSA and for the FIA / ACO World Endurance Championship, which sit next to the new vehicles of the hypercar class in the latter. The new category includes LMP2-based machines with manufacturer-supplied bodies and drivetrains, paired with a standardized hybrid setup made up of components from Williams Advanced Engineering and Bosch.
The announcements come just a few days after the unveiling of the e-tron FE07 (above), the first Formula E car developed from scratch by Audi. However, it will remain involved in the series as a powertrain supplier even after 2021, while all customer racing activities continue with the R8 LMS.
Audi, 24 Hours of Le Mans, Formula E, Dakar Rally, endurance races, FIA World Endurance Championship
EbeneMagazine – GB – Surprise: Audi leaves Formula E for Le Mans and fall Dakar