Audi is set to upscale its involvement in Formula E with the ABT Schaeffler team to a factory entry from the 2017/18 season.
Audi has been present in Formula E since its inception in 2014, supporting the ABT team by supplying it with factory driver Lucas di Grassi and offering the team access to its facilities at Neuburg in Germany.
In a bid to keep up with the works backing of manufacturers such as Renault, DS, and Jaguar, Audi will step up its support for ABT from season three before becoming a factory entry from season four.
“Electric mobility is one of the key topics in our industry. We intend to evolve into one of the leading premium car manufacturers in this field,” Audi board member Dr. Stefan Knirsch said.
“By 2025, every fourth Audi should be an electric vehicle. 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.”
Audi motorsport chief Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich added: “Audi has consistently been using motorsport to test and develop new technologies further for subsequent use in production.
“With quattro drive we revolutionized rally racing and subsequently set standards in circuit racing as well. In the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi was the first manufacturer to have achieved victories with a TFSI engine, a TDI and a hybrid race car, so writing motorsport history on several occasions.
“Now we intend to repeat this in fully electric racing. Formula E with its races being held in the hearts of major cities is an ideal stage for this purpose and Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport a logical partner for us.”
Audi will offer the ABT team increased financial and technical support from the forthcoming Formula E season, set to start in Hong Kong on October 9. The team will also sport the Audi logo on its car from the second round of Formula E collective testing at Donington Park next week.