Has Dieselgate Killed Audi's Highly Successful Le Mans Program?


Seems Audi's time in the top tier of endurance racing is coming to a close.

A lot has happened in the many months since the Dieselgate scandal first broke, with a myriad reports on customer compensation, independent investigations and culled production cars being among the more headline-grabbing moments. Though things started to die down a bit, we've now got another interesting revelation from Auto Motor und Sport which claims Dieselgate will end up killing off Audi's Le Mans program.

Yep, that's right: according to the German magazine, the Volkswagen emissions scandal appears to be scuppering Audi's continuing participation in LMP1 racing, with Auto Motor und Sport suggesting the highly successful squad will be officially pulling out of the sport by the end of the 2017 season. Admittedly, the diesel controversy isn't the only reason why Audi is being dropped from the top-tier of the World Endurance Championship multi-class series (the fact its sister company Porsche also participates in LMP1 racing probably hasn't helped the case to keep Audi in the sport). But the aforementioned article does cite diesel-based hindrances as some of the main reasons behind the decision.

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That's not to say Audi will be dropping out of motorsport entirely, though. Just recently, for instance, Audi announced it will be fielding a works team in the 2017/2018 Formula E championship, and Audi still has its DTM and TT Cup tin-top series to keep it occupied as well. Alas, it will be a shame if the Auto Motor und Sport report is true, and Audi ends up leaving the LMP1 class. It's impossible to deny it's had a phenomenal crack at it (of the last 17 24 Hours of Le Mans races, only four have been won by a car that wasn't an Audi), and it'll be a shame to see such a capable and talented team be dropped as a result of events beyond its control.