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Audi to leave endurance

Discussion in 'Other Racing' started by william, Oct 14, 2016.

  1. william

    william F1 World Champ

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  2. NürScud

    NürScud F1 Veteran

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    I'll be honest. I won't miss them at all..
     
  3. lorenzobandini

    lorenzobandini Formula 3
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    I'll be honest. I will. :p

    'Wasn't an Audi fan (not even the Quattro in T/A or IMSA) but that <4 min (or was it three?) "rear clip" change on the R8 in 2000 hooked me. :)
     
  4. ProRallyCodriver

    ProRallyCodriver Formula 3

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  5. BMW.SauberF1Team

    BMW.SauberF1Team F1 World Champ

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    It makes sense as both Porsche and Audi are part of VAG. It also didn't make sense to run the Bentleys and Audis in the early 2000s either for cost purposes...

    Either way, I think VAG should dump Porsche and Audi from endurance racing and run the VAG team under the Bentley name. Coolest looking cars of all time. ;)
     
  6. rdefabri

    rdefabri Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Yes, agreed. I will miss them, though. Hate 'em with a passion (and didn't like them in rallying either), but admire their success and desire to win.

    Shame, but as long as Porsche remains, I'm fine with it. Now if we could just get Ferrari to throw their hat in the ring! :)
     
  7. ARTNNYC

    ARTNNYC F1 Rookie
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    In my opinion Audi are responsible for legitimizing the WEC and making it as popular as it is now. They brought attention back to the LMP1 class. I salute and bow to them
     
  8. BMW.SauberF1Team

    BMW.SauberF1Team F1 World Champ

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    I'm sure people will disagree with me, but I think they brought attention by dominating it given little competition after all the major manufacturers left after 1998/1999 (BMW, MB, Porsche, Toyota, Nissan). They had such a long winning streak, it finally made Peugeot and Toyota get in the game. Thankfully Porsche came back, even though it's part of the same company. I'd really like to see MB and BMW back in it...

    Goodbye diesel Audis...
     
  9. randkin

    randkin Formula Junior

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    Well, that's one persons opinion, doubt many Porsche fans would agree and there are a bunch more Porsche fans than Bentley fans.
     
  10. BartonWorkman

    BartonWorkman F1 Veteran
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    #10 BartonWorkman, Oct 14, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
    Audi's approach to P1 changed the face of sports car racing forever.

    First, the cars were built like tanks, they could take some heavy punishment and continue
    on in incidents that would be a sure DNF before.

    In 2000, when Audi came with the R8 and signed Tom Kristensen, they threw down the
    gauntlet in face of BMW's withdrawal of the LMR V12 for F-1 land. The R8 was a complete
    racing machine, fast, nimble, tough and reliable. This, in combination and the best driver,
    the results were a foregone conclusion.

    Tom's first stint in the 2000 12 Hours of Sebring was one of the most electrifying I have
    ever witnessed. Taking the car over after a brief brake fire in the pits dropped the entry
    down to seventh place. Tom began an epic comeback, picking up position after position,
    setting the three fastest laps of the race until catching and passing Audi team mate, the
    great Michele Alboreto, for the lead as they swept three wide in the Big Bend past a GT
    Porsche in a cloud of dust. Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I never would have
    believed it.

    And, in the few occasions when the R8 did run into trouble, we learned that a gear box
    change could literally be a two minute procedure in the pits. Audi Sport Team Joest drilled
    and drilled and drilled every possible scenario in testing. They would practice driver
    exchanges until they got it down to under eight seconds. They covered all the engineering
    bases, their approach was militaristic in nature with Dr. Ullrich and Hr. Joest in charge, they
    were a combination that could not be beat.

    I had a front row seat for most of their exploits especially at Sebring when I photographed
    the first R8 test in February of 2000 and saw straight away what an improvement it was
    over the R8R.

    From then, they took technology to a whole new level, Direct Fuel Injection, TDI Diesel
    power and aerodynamic treatments which revolutionized the sport.

    If the news of Audi's withdrawal is true, they will be sorely missed in the WEC and Le Mans
    in particular. It was a glorious run.

    BHW
     
  11. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    The R8 will go down in history as one of the greatest racing cars ever conceived. Its record over such a long span is incredible.

    It didn't make sense to me that Audi and Porsche would compete against each other in LMP1. That would be like Ferrari and Maserati both competing today in F1.

    Now I wish that Mercedes would get out of F1 (where they have no more worlds to conquer) and get back into endurance racing. They got a black eye the last time they tried it (with their flying circus) so they really need to overcome that perception with a successful program. And since I also wish that F1 would get rid of the ERS stuff, Mercedes wouldn't want to stay in F1 if that were to happen.
     
  12. ARTNNYC

    ARTNNYC F1 Rookie
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    +1000
     
  13. william

    william F1 World Champ

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    In a way, AUDI "saved" Le Mans.

    After their initial victories with petrol engines at Le Mans and in endurance in general, AUDI was considering pulling out because there was no competition. Only Panoz and a few private teams were left.

    The ACO, Le Mans organisers, were desperate to keep factory teams to their crown event, and to attract more. The approached AUDI with the proposal to allow them to race with diesel engines. There was, at the time, no diesel engine in racing, and the ACO reasoned that it would be an excellent showcase for the technology.

    AUDI was interested and decided to stay in the fray. AUDI obtained from the rule makers massive concessions in terms of fuel capacity, displacement, etc... and it became very soon apparent that the diesels were helped by the regulations.

    Private teams with no access to diesel complained at the bias in favour of AUDI: Pescarolo, Courage, etc... Until Peugeot decided to make a come back, with a .. diesel. The advantage given to them was an overwhelming argument. AUDI collected a string of victories in endurance and at Le Mans in the last 15 years, even threatening Porsche's record.

    So, with the adverse publicity given to diesel recently (the VW cover up), and the general dissatisfaction from government authorities (diesel ban in town legislation possibly introduced before 2020), AUDI's effort to popularise the technology seems wasted now.
    It's probably the reason that has pushed the decision-makers at VAG to can the project.
    AUDI has been backing the wrong horse! But it was good whilst it lasted.
     
  14. BartonWorkman

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  15. BartonWorkman

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    The rumors are true.

    Audi has announced their withdrawal from WEC at the end of this season, not 2017 as
    previously reported in favor of Formula E and keeping the DTM program.

    Per Audi Sport Press:

    Audi with new motorsport strategy: Formula E instead of WEC
    Audi opens high-tech complex in Neuburg an der Donau

    New focus on electric race cars in FIA Formula E

    Audi CEO Stadler: “We’re going to contest the race for the future on electric power”

    DTM commitment unchanged, job guarantee for motorsport employees
    Audi is realigning its motorsport strategy. The premium brand will terminate its FIA WEC commitment, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, at the end of the 2016 season. Instead Audi is taking up a factory-backed commitment in the all-electric Formula E racing series.

    Speaking to 300 employees of the motorsport department on Wednesday morning, Chairman of the Board of Management Rupert Stadler put this strategic decision in the context of the current burdens on the brand, pointing out that it was important to focus on the things that would keep Audi competitive in the years ahead. That is why the Board of Management had decided to terminate Audi’s commitment in endurance racing. In the future, Audi will be using the know-how and skills of the motorsport experts from Neuburg and Neckarsulm partially in motorsport and partially in production development.

    “We’re going to contest the race for the future on electric power,” says Stadler. “As our production cars are becoming increasingly electric, our motorsport cars, as Audi’s technological spearheads, have to even more so.” The first all-electric racing series perfectly matches the strategy of offering fully battery-electric models year by year starting in 2018, Audi currently being in the greatest transformation stage in the company’s history. The commitment in FIA Formula E will already commence in 2017. It is regarded as the racing series with the greatest potential for the future. That is why Audi has intensified the existing partnership with Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport in the current 2016/2017 season. On the road toward a full factory commitment, the manufacturer is now actively joining the technical development.

    The commitment in the DTM, where Audi will be competing with the successor of the Audi RS 5 DTM in 2017, will remain untouched. In mid-October, the premium brand won the manufacturers’ and teams’ classifications. In 2013, Mike Rockenfeller most recently brought the title of DTM Champion home for the four rings.

    No final decision has yet been made concerning a future involvement in the FIA World Rallycross Championship (World RX). In the current 2016 season, DTM factory driver Mattias Ekström in his Audi S1 EKS RX quattro clinched the World Championship title early, competing against numerous factory teams. Up to now, Audi’s involvement has been limited to supporting the private EKS team. The brand is currently evaluating a possible extension of the commitment, the exciting topic of electrification being on the agenda in rallycross racing as well.

    The departure from the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) marks the end of a successful era. For 18 years, the brand was active in Le Mans prototype racing. During this period, it scored 13 victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and set numerous technical milestones. At Le Mans, Audi clinched the first victory of a TFSI engine (2001), the first success of a race car with a TDI engine (2006), plus the first triumph of a sports car with a hybrid powertrain (2012). In the brand’s 185 races contested to date, Audi’s Le Mans prototypes have achieved 106 victories, 80 pole positions and 94 fastest race laps. On two occasions, Audi won the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with the Audi R18 e-tron quattro race car. In addition, from 2000 to 2008, Audi, nine times in succession, secured the title in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), the world’s most important racing series for Le Mans prototypes at the time.

    “After 18 years in prototype racing that were exceptionally successful for Audi, it’s obviously extremely hard to leave,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Audi Sport Team Joest shaped the WEC during this period like no other team. I would like to express my thanks to our squad, to Reinhold Joest and his team, to the drivers, partners and sponsors for this extremely successful cooperation. It’s been a great time!” Due to the LMP commitment, Audi has been demonstrating Vorsprung durch Technik and learning a lot for use in production.

    BHW
     
  16. william

    william F1 World Champ

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    So, the rumours were true after all.

    That means that 6 highly talented endurance drivers will have to find a seat for next year.

    At such short notice, it's a tall ordeal.

    Also, the LMP1 category is shrinking alarmingly. Audi leaving, Rebellion stopping ...

    Only 4 cars (2 Porsche & 2 Toyota) in LMP1 next year?

    Now that the ACO has turned LMP2 into a specs series, and in view of the colossal budget needed to race in LMP1, I can see that category fading away.

    Probably why the ACO has created LMP3, another specs category, to have enough cars to compete.
     
  17. lorenzobandini

    lorenzobandini Formula 3
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    As far as I'm concerned, my signature says it all..... :(

    I'm glad I'm as old as I am so that I caught the good times... :(







    "Those were the days my friends. We thought they'd never end....."

    lorenzobandini
     
  18. Devilsolsi

    Devilsolsi F1 Veteran
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    I was wondering about the future of LMP1 without Audi as well. Unless another manufacturer steps up to the plate, it is hard to imagine it continuing much longer.

    I am sad to see Audi go..
     
  19. ginge82

    ginge82 Formula 3

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    But I thought that WEC was going from strength to strength and was teaching F1 a thing or two...
     
  20. BartonWorkman

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    Where the FIA and ACO has failed is in the P-1 category was that they do not have
    homogolation (of sorts) as they did during the Group C and IMSA GTP days.

    In that era, Porsche had factory teams with the Rothmans and Al Holbert's squads but they
    also made dozens of 956s and 962s available to privateers. And for whatever reason,
    Audi, Porsche and Toyota do not have privateers running to help make up the numbers.

    Audi had Champion, Goh and Velox running R8s for a while but that all ended and each
    of these teams were heavily factory backed.

    Not sure why privateers weren't part of the equation in the current Hybrid era but with
    Audi pulling out, they may have to grandfather year old Porsches and Toyotas in with
    privateers if they want to keep interest in the series going.

    BHW
     
  21. GuyIncognito

    GuyIncognito Six Time F1 World Champ
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    I agree. WEC better figure out a privateer/customer P1 solution quick, or it's done.
     
  22. lorenzobandini

    lorenzobandini Formula 3
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    I don't think customer hybrids are going to happen. The GTPs weren't homlogated, the tech back then was customer friendly, thus the Lolas, Marches, and Spices with engine options plus the 962s (even built ouside of Porsche, Fabcar was it?) could be had off the lot. Then there was the few one-offs...the few successful ones being Eagles, Intrepids, Jaguars and ZX-Ts.

    The last "factory/privateer" efforts are just that...definitely factory assisted privateers.
    At least Audi is finishing a season; Peugeot came and tested for the season at Sebring then pulled the plug just before the 12...

    Mark my words, I've said it before and I'll say it again...my (our?) passion (all forms of pro racing, not the rolling billboard business) is fading to black....rapidly. :(

    ('not just an opinion...'straight up observation)
     
  23. GuyIncognito

    GuyIncognito Six Time F1 World Champ
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    I didn't say customer hybrids, I said customer P1s ;)
     
  24. lorenzobandini

    lorenzobandini Formula 3
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    I saw that...'just fergot to mention the potential exception (although I don't believe it will happen anyway, they have no chance against the Hybrids, rules the way they is...). :)

    btw, anybody know where ALMS results archive is/may be hiding? I was trying to remember when Peugeot tested and then shut down as it depressed my Sebring anticipation that year (I'm thinkin' 2012 but not positeeev....).
     
  25. kingjr9000

    kingjr9000 Formula 3

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    No! What they need to do is bring back the old "GT1" Modus-Operandi. Have car companies compete with cars that they have to sell to customers. This way, they can keep advancing tech, keep entertaining the fans and customers, and have a top-notch series with extreme and cutting tech. Take the AM-RB 001 vs the Mercedes R50 vs whatever, and there is your new top series. "New-Gen GT1". Or "GT1 Gentem".
     

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