Written by Vladislav Ciuş – December 02, 2020
Edited by Asaf Kedem
The end of the 2016 WEC (World Endurance Championship) season left a void in the hearts of innumerable motorsport fans, when Audi announced that they’re quitting LMP1 (Le Mans Prototype 1- an endurance racing category) racing. Audi has been a major competitor in LMP1 in the past 2 decades, having won the iconic Le Mans 24-Hour race 13 times. Endurance racing is a type of motor racing in which teams go head to head with the goal of testing the durability of the vehicles and the endurance of the team members.
A shift of focus from endurance racing to Formula E has made Audi end their participation in LMP1. The move to Formula E was caused by several reasons, among which was the big Volkswagen (VW) emission scandal, VW being Audi’s parent company. The only good move in the context of that situation, was, quite obviously, emission-free racing. Another aspect that is very likely to have influenced Audi to quit LMP1 is the very high R&D and maintenance cost for hybrid endurance racing at that level.
Recently, however, Audi has announced that at the end of the 2020-2021 season, they’re withdrawing from Formula E, in favor of returning to prototype endurance racing. This time they’re joining the newly formed LMDh class, which is the successor of DPi (Daytona Prototypes). The regulations for this class were created by racing federations IMSA together with ACO and FIA, which means that the LMDh vehicles will be able to race both in the American IMSA championship, as well as in the FIA WEC championship.
Auto Trendy’s take:
Prototype Endurance racing has lacked competition at its highest level ever since Porsche left LMP1 in 2017. For the past few seasons, the only manufacturer team competing in LMP1 was Toyota. With the introduction of the new (more cost effective than LMP1), LMDh class, and with Audi publicly announcing that they will once again be part of endurance racing, it is very likely that other manufacturers will follow. We are looking forward to the next seasons and the nail-biting experience of watching our favorite car manufacturers compete at the highest level.