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Audi Sport Plans New Motorsports Program, Confirms Oct 17 Reveal


Audi Sport has tipped their hat to plans for introduction of a new motorsports program for 2015. In an invitation to journalists, Audi’s motorsport division has confirmed that the introduction will take place Friday, October 17 at the DTM finale at Hockenheim.

A communique to the media reads as follows.

Ladies and gentlemen, 
Dear colleagues,
 
With the DTM, the FIA WEC and GT racing the successful motorsport commitment of AUDI AG is currently based on three mainstays. 2015 will see the addition of another pillar. 
 
We would like to present all the details of an exciting new motorsport project under the banner of the four rings and the related race sports cars to you before the DTM finale at the Hockenheimring and cordially invite you to attend the Audi Sport press conference featuring a world premiere on the first floor of the Audi VIP Lounge in the paddock on Friday Oct 17.

Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich and other high-caliber dialog partners will be on hand to answer your questions.

So what could this signal? It’s unclear. Audi already revealed today that it will demonstrate an RS 7 piloted driving concept also at the Hockenheim race. We doubt though that there is any plan to race this car as there are no series to support it. However, there are other irons in the fire.

One possibility could be the new R8 LMS in GT3 spec, but we’re doubting this as well since the new R8 hasn’t been revealed yet. It is highly unlikely that Audi Sport would show off the new racing version of the R8 ahead of the production car’s own reveal. Any other derivation of an R8 GT car like one compatible with Le Mans is also unlikely as, again, the new R8 production car has not yet been revealed.

Another possibility is Formula E. It came as a bit of a surprise that Lucas di Grassi and the Abt Sportsline crew won the inaugural round of the Formula E series. Though not an Audi effort, the car is operated by an Audi Sport DTM team and driven by one of Audi’s WEC factory drivers. Their win may have been handed to them by the two leading cars taking each other out, but Di Grassi managed second place on the grid for this race and was very competitive. No doubt with official Audi Sport support he could be even more competitive, and the Formula E series would be an excellent place to promote the Audi e-tron sub-brand and products.

Our last and final guess is some sort of customer-oriented LMP program compatible with the Tudor United Sportscar series. Comments from Dr. Ullrich suggesting Audi isn’t really interested in customer teams in LMP have cooled such rumors, but it’s well known that Audi prefers to win overall and not in supporting classes. The upcoming new prototype compatible with the Tudor United Sportscar Championship and WEC would allow for such an overall win in places like Daytona and TUSC, while its compatibility at Le Mans would allow American teams with Audi support to vie for a class win in France at the same time. Such a car would not replace Audi’s LMP1 program, which would continue to compete for the all-out win. We’ve heard mention of such a program internally, but little more than that. All of that being said, a DTM race for a prototype formula due in 2016 seems unlikely.

If we had to guess, we’d guess Formula E. Another option would be something we haven’t yet guessed above, though we’re completely in the dark as to what that might be. Stay tuned, as we’ll have the answer in little more than a week.

 

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