Audi rumored to leave top-tier endurance racing after 2017

Volkswagen’s ongoing diesel scandal could be the reason for the withdrawal from LMP1.

Volkswagen's ongoing diesel scandal is turning out to be an expensive problem for the German automaker. With a recent settlement expected to cost the company up to $14.7 billion, the company is scrambling to find ways to save cash. In light of this, Audi could be pulling out of the highest class of endurance racing, which it has dominated for years. A report from Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, indicates that Audi has already finalized the automaker's departure from the World Endurance Championship's top-tier LMP1 class after the 2017 season. Another report by Autocar cites an unnamed insider to corroborate the LMP1 exit rumors.

The report fingers the VW Group's ongoing diesel scandal's financial fallout as the main culprit for Audi bowing out of LMP1. The move to could also be due to the group's decision to move away from diesel technology. Audi's LMP1 car, the R18, utilizes a V6 turbo-diesel engine. The Porsche 919 Hybrid, on the other hand, uses 2.0-liter turbocharged V4 engine that runs on gasoline.

Audi has won the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans 13 times since 1999, making Audi an unstoppable force in endurance racing. Porsche, Audi's corporate sibling, reentered endurance racing with a LMP1 competitor of its own in 2014 and won the constructor's championship last year. Audi's decision to leave LMP1 could give Porsche a shot at creating its own Le Mans-winning dynasty. Autocar reports that Audi is expected to continue fielding cars in other WEC classes, like GT3 and GT4, and perhaps the brand will even enter Formula E.

We reached out to Audi for some clarification on the matter and a spokesperson stated that the rumors were "pure speculation at this point."

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