Automotive

Audi powers up Formula E involvement

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Formula E may not attract the same attention as Formula 1, but it's building momentum as the 2016/2017 season edges closer. The addition of Roborace as a support series promises to add some excitement to race weekends, and big brands are putting their considerable weight behind the series. Renault has been involved since the start, and Jaguar has announced it will be fielding a team. Now, Audi is dipping its toe a little bit deeper into the water.

When we say dipping its toe into the water, we mean it. Rather than diving in headlong and throwing its full weight behind a factory-backed team, Audi will slowly ramp up its involvement with its current ABT Schaeffler partner over the course of the upcoming 2016/2017 season.

The team already has access to Audi Sport facilities in Neuburg an der Donau, Germany, but more funding and technical support will be provided by the factory. To reflect the change, ABT cars will wear bigger Audi stickers on their flanks and rear wings. After all, what good is motorsport if you can't show off your involvement?

After increasing its footprint during 2016/17, Audi is planning to work hand-in-hand with the ABT Schaeffler team as a fully-fledged factory backer for the 2017/18 season.

So, why the decision to delve deeper into the world of electric racing? Well, a fully electric Audi SUV is coming in 2018, and the company is expecting one-in-four of its cars to be fully electric by 2025. It might not be quite as simple as race on Sunday, sell on Monday anymore, but success on the track could make a difference in the upcoming EV battleground.

"Electric mobility is one of the key topics in our industry," says Dr. Stefan Knirsch, Board Member at Audi. "We intend to evolve into one of the leading premium car manufacturers in this field. The first model for this is planned to be an SUV we're going to present in 2018. 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."

The Formula E season kicks off on October 9 in Hong Kong, with testing set to start at Donington Park in the UK this week.

Source: Audi

1 comment
VincentBrennan
This is not the best racing in the world and it seems VERY odd that when you make your pit stop you get out of one car and get into another! I think this points out just how far all electric has NOT come yet. Another thing is the obvious managing of power. Not a single driver is going at 100% at really any part of the race except maybe first and last lap if he has any battery left! Having grown up watching USAC Sprints and Midgets , AMA Class C (the 750cc twins) Flat Track all at Ascot Park Gardena, CA and Indy cars (Champ cars at first) and Can Am (unlimited sports racers), Trans Am (pony cars with the some of the best drivers in the world) and other stuff at Riverside Intl the whole idea of holding back so you can make your battery last is very weird to me! Still they have had a few good wheel banging races in this past year so I have hope for the series. I think it may be better (not to mention safer) if they did away with the hot car swap. Right now the driver is instructed to jump clear of the car when changing and the pit guys have to have someone ground the car or either might get FRIED!! Instead until they get where they can make one car last an interesting whole race I would like to see them run 2 or 3 heat races kind of similar to AMA and FIM Motocross where they race two 30 minute, plus two lap motos and the guy with the best average wins and if it is tied the guy with the best second race is the tie breaker. Has worked since I was a little kid and I am 64 (they used to run 45 minute motos but it really does not matter. Pick a distance the best teams can go 100% and then have a all new race for #2. Either that or score each "moto" as a total race and have two races per meet scored for the end of the year. That way if some idiot (and there are several ion this series) takes you out of one moto or heat you can still get a win in the other. THAT would be more like real racing!!
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