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Audi officially takes over Abt Schaeffler Formula E team

More than just a name change.

Audi has been involved with Formula E from the very beginning of the open-wheel, electric racing series. The German luxury automaker has lent its name and a factory driver, Lucas di Grassi, the since Formula E's inauguration in 2014. It has provided technical support and funding to the Abt team since the beginning of the current season. Now, Audi will take over the team's slot, giving the brand an official, full-fledged presence as a manufacturer in Formula E.

The new team name will be Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler (moving the manufacturer's name to the front, compared to the current Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport), signifying that supplier Schaeffler will still be a powertrain partner moving forward.

"We've been supporting the Formula E commitment with increasing intensity in recent months – on the race days, in the development of the new powertrain and in numerous off-track activities as well," says Audi board member Dr. Peter Mertens. "That Audi will be the first German automobile manufacturer to be actively involved in the racing series starting next season is also a clear commitment of our brand to electric mobility, on the race track as of December and next year on the road as well with the new Audi e-tron."

Jaguar, the British luxury competitor to Audi, has its own Formula E team as of the 2016/2017 season. BMW, which supplies support vehicles to Formula E, is expected to field its own team beginning in 2018. Fellow German automaker Mercedes-Benz has been exploring involvement in the electric racing series as well.

ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, and its drivers Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi, has claimed five race wins and 23 podiums in Formula E. The team has been a fairly constant frontrunner in the series, and is currently in second place in points standings for this season, behind Renault E.dams. Audi and Schaeffler are currently co-developing a new powertrain for next season.

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