Could Audi’s Endurance Legacy end with the WEC Title?

It’s hard to imagine the World Endurance Championship with Audi absent from the paddock, but the famous manufacturer is looking to Motorsport pastures anew with Formula E now the focus of their racing program.

Audi driver and ex-Virgin Racing F1 driver Lucas Di Grassi believes that there is an outside chance of the Audi team bowing out of an 18-year stint in the WEC with a last gasp title.

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 17:  The Porsche Team 919 Hybrid of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb drives on its way to winning the FIA World Endurance Championship Six Hours of Silverstone race at the Silverstone Circuit on April 17, 2016 in Northampton, England. The Porsche team won following the exclusion for a technical infringement by the Audi Sport Team Joest R18 of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer. (Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – APRIL 17: The Porsche Team 919 Hybrid of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb drives on its way to winning the FIA World Endurance Championship Six Hours of Silverstone race at the Silverstone Circuit on April 17, 2016 in Northampton, England. The Porsche team won following the exclusion for a technical infringement by the Audi Sport Team Joest R18 of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer. (Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images)

He said,

“We have nothing to lose. If we win both races and the Porsche only finishes fifth we win the championship. So we have to get 15 points from them in each race. When you consider the performance of the #2 Porsche in the last few races, it might be possible.

We have a very quick car, so the focus is to win and close the Audi chapter with a golden victory. Even if we just won another race before it stops, it would be very special and good for everyone, but whatever happens, we will fight and push right until the last corner.

We owe that to the brand, because this is the way they always go racing.”

– Lucas Di Grassi

The #2 Porsche was only 0.053s slower than Di Grassi and co’s #8 Audi in the FP2 session of Shanghai, so the considerable advantage needed to win the title isn’t currently transferring to the timing screens.

Either way, Audi’s decision to switch focus to a Championship that reflects more relevance on the automotive industry leaves a considerable gap in the LMP1 class. Formula E really does open the door to ‘Vorsrpung durch Technik’. 

The team have been hugely successful over their eighteen year stint in Endurance racing though and their loss is an unfortunate one for the Championship.