Audi's Le Mans Return Is Dead In The Water

Motorsport / 1 Comment

The brand is reportedly focusing on other types of motorsport... for now.

Audi is a rather busy automaker at the moment. Not only is it rapidly increasing its presence in the EV sphere with products such as the RS e-tron GT, but the German automaker is also spearheading various motorsport projects. In fact, Ingolstadt's hard work has paid off, with its all-electric RS Q e-tron rally car being the first EV to ever win a Dakar Rally stage.

It's not just arid, desolate landscapes the carmaker is hoping to conquer, though. Audi has previously stated intentions to rejoin Le Mans racing with an electrified LMDh prototype. In 2021, the racer was reportedly nearing completion and was set to debut in January 2023, at the Daytona 24 Hours. But now, it seems those aspirations have been cast aside.

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Per Motorsport, the carmaker will be putting development of the car on hold. The reason behind Audi's development pause is unclear. A spokesperson simply told the publication that Audi is "taking a break of two or three months on the project...the capacities are being used differently and more sensibly at the moment."

The announcement comes in the wake of sister brand Porsche putting its LMDh prototype through its paces. Zuffenhausen's sports car maker is among several brands aiming to compete.

The publication has previously gleaned insight into the matter, reporting that Audi has put all its power behind the RS Q e-tron rally car. Its most recent desert-bashing adventure came in the form of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Held between March 6 - 10, the electric rally car did remarkably well, winning the cross-country event.

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Rule changes for the 2026 F1 season piqued the interest of both Porsche and Audi, with the German duo set to back McLaren and Red Bull as powertrain suppliers. This could also be another reason behind the LMDh development break, however, it's not clear how the Le Mans development would interfere with a potential F1 program.

The VW Group's LMDh strategy has been led by Porsche from the get-go, but Lamborghini has said it is working together with them to create its vehicle based on the same platform. This also suggests the brand may have been removed to make space for Lamborghini.

Then again, adapting to electromobility in road cars and chasing success in three separate motorsports could prove to be an expensive headache. Hopefully, in the coming months, the German brand is more forthcoming about the reasoning behind the sudden pause and potential departure. The brand has previously enjoyed great success at Le Mans and it would be a shame for it to not return.

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Source Credits: Motorsport

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