Audi has been at the forefront of Formula E since the beginning, being involved in the first two seasons of the sport. The team Audi has been working closely with for the past two seasons has been Team ABT Schaeffler. While they haven’t won any championships yet, they’ve actually come quite close. Being that the four-ringed brand is looking to expand its road car involvement with hybrid and electric technologies, it’s only fitting that it is looking to expand its involvement into Formula E as well.
Audi will not only be expanding its involvement with Team ABT Schaeffler, but is also looking to create its own factory team. This would mark the first single-seat factory racing team from Audi ever. While Audi has had factory racing teams in other motorsport events, it’s never done a single-seat racing even. Audi has toyed with the idea of Formula One, but never actually made the plunge. However, it could make its single-seat debut with Formula E.
And it only makes sense, to be honest. If Audi is serious about hybrid and electric technology, motorsport is a great way to not only develop that tech, but showcase it. According to Dr. Stefan Knirsch, “By 2025, every fourth Audi should be an electric vehicle,” to which he continued, “In the light of these plans, adapting our motorsport program and taking up a commitment in a fully electric racing series is only a logical move.”
Motorsport has always been a great segue for new technologies. Car companies have often developed new chassis and performance technologies for motorsport programs and then used what they learned there and applied it to road cars. 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.”
It also makes sense for Audi to get more involved in the up and coming sport, as other automakers are doing the same. BMW has already been involved from the beginning and Jaguar is looking to get into it, as well. If Audi wants to cement itself as a leader in electric and hybrid technology, getting more involved, and hopefully winning, in Formula E could really help do just that.