Last year, Audi announced that it was leaving its best motorsport event, Le Mans. The four-ringed brand has been one of the most successful in Le Mans history, with its cars dominating the past few years. However, after the dieselgate scandal that hurt the entire VW Group, Audi decided to pull the plug, despite its tremendous success and admiration.
This saddened most of the automotive world, even Audi’s competitors. Even though Audi kept winning, the other brands and teams respected Audi and fans loved watching its cars. It’s always sad to see an all-time great leave a sport early. This is exactly why Le Mans team owner Roger Penske asked Audi if his team could run the Audi LMP1 car.
“I talked about if we could get a privateer [effort] with some of those cars,” said Penske. “But under the current situation with Audi, all the things they’re going through, they just said they’ve got enough eyeballs on them, they don’t need to be showing up at Le Mans.”
Audi had been under development of a new LMP1 car before the news broke that it was pulling the plug. Though, if Penske did run an Audi car, it would have been last year’s car. That’s no hardship, though, as that car kicked ass.
It’s clear though, that Audi doesn’t want the attention of running race cars while it has an emissions scandal going on. It’s probably a smart move but it’s one that saddens most of the automotive world.