Audi abandons Le Mans to focus on Formula E

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Audi will end its participation in the 24 hours of Le Mans race in order to take up a factory-backed commitment in the Formula E series.

A dominant presence at Le Mans with 13 wins in the last 18 years, Audi confirmed on Wednesday it will no longer compete in the FIA's World Endurance Championship (WEC).

The German car manufacturer is instead set to take up an enhanced role in Formula E, having partnered Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport during the current season.

"We're going to contest the race for the future on electric power," explained Rupert Stadler, chairman of Audi's board of management.

"As our production cars are becoming increasingly electric, our motorsport cars, as Audi's technological spearheads, have to even more so."

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, head of Audi motorsport, acknowledged it was tough for the company to end their association with the WEC.

"After 18 years in prototype racing that were exceptionally successful for Audi, it's obviously extremely hard to leave," he added.

"Audi Sport Team Joest shaped the WEC during this period like no other team. I would like to express my thanks to our squad, to Reinhold Joest and his team, to the drivers, partners and sponsors for this extremely successful co-operation. It's been a great time."

Audi also confirmed it will continue to compete in DTM, with a decision yet to be made in its future involvement in the World Rallycross Championship.