Audi has announced it is quitting Formula E to take on the 2022 Dakar Rally with a prototype range-extender EV.
Audi has announced it will not only quit Formula E in 2021 and take on the Dakar Rally in 2022 but it will also race at Le Mans. Indeed, Audi has said cross-country rallying will “be the spearhead of the factory motorsport commitment”.
The four-ringed brand said the use of an electric motor and battery pack with a petrol range extender (energy converter in Audi speak) in the Dakar Rally will help with the development of other electric vehicles.
Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Management and Board of Management Member for Technical Development and Product Lines at AUDI AG said, “We want to continue demonstrating the brand’s slogan ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ in international top-level motorsport in the future and develop innovative technologies for our road cars. The toughest rally in the world is the perfect stage for this”.
According to Duesmann, Audi’s involvement in Formula E transformed the brand in the same way that all-wheel drive did with rallying in the 1980s. He’s hoping Dakar will do the same.
“This is why we are taking the next step in electrified motorsport by facing the most extreme conditions. The many technical freedoms offered by the Dakar Rally provide a perfect test laboratory for us in this respect.”
But Audi won’t just be rallying, it’s also going to take on endurance racing again but with electrification at the forefront.
“In addition, we are evaluating other possible fields of activity for us in international motorsport,” says Julius Seebach, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “In doing so, we have our customers’ wishes in mind as much as the company’s future strategy, which is clearly focused on electrification and carbon-neutral mobility. This is why we are intensively preparing to enter the new sports prototype category LMDh with its highlight races, the Daytona 24 Hours and Le Mans 24 Hours. The most important message for our fans is that motorsport will continue to play an important role at Audi.”
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