After 18 years of solid outings and several Le Mans podiums, Audi is leaving the World Endurance Championship. It will instead focus its efforts on , the all-electric racing series.
Audi finally confirmed what had been a fairly widespread rumor, announcing its WEC contract termination, which kicks in at the end of the 2016 season. Going forward, the company will focus its motorsport efforts on Formula E, expanding its role with Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, starting in the current 2016/2017 season.
That doesn't mean Audi is abandoning gas-powered motorsport entirely. The company remains committed to fielding racers in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) series, where it recently captured the manufacturers' championship. Its most recent champion driver was Mike Rockenfeller in 2013.
Audi has long been a staple in the WEC's prototype classes. After kicking off its inaugural season in 1999, Audi went on to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans 13 times. In that time, it became the first automaker to win Le Mans with both a diesel engine (2006) and a hybrid drivetrain (2012). Over the course of 185 races, Audi's prototypes scored 106 victories and 80 pole positions.
"We're going to contest the race for the future on electric power," said Rupert Stadler, Audi's management board chairman, in a statement. "As our production cars are becoming increasingly electric, our motorsport cars, as Audi's technological spearheads, have to be even more so."