Tonight was Audi Sport’s traditional end of year event in which the company reflects on the previous year and announces the motorsport intentions of the company for the upcoming season.
Whilst the news is good in as much that Audi Sport will continue the same programmes as in 2015, namely the FIA WEC in LMP1, DTM, GT3 programmes and the one-make Audi Cup. The commitment in terms of number of cars at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Six Hours of Spa, will be reduced for the first time since 2006 from three Audi prototypes to two in line with the remainder of the FIA World Endurance championship season.
Porsche will match that commitment with only two prototypes from the sister company at Le Mans as well, with the decision made by both brands for ‘Maximum cost efficiency’. The decisions to reduce to two cars from each manufacturer at Le Mans hardly comes as a surprise given the news over the past few weeks regarding parent VW’s ‘Emissions’ crisis and the subsequent financial fallout associated with it.
On the actual R18 (2016) itself. The Hybrid capacity is increased from the 4MJ class this year for Audi to 6MJ in 2016. The team will also drop the Flywheel storage system for a lithium-ion based system, whilst maintaining the use of the TDI engine in addition to a complete rework on the aero package, as evident.
In terms of the driver lineup. The two cars which will run in the championship, cars #7 and #8 will retain the 2015 line-up of Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler in #7 and Loic Duval, Lucas Di Grassi and Oliver Jarvis in #8.
Elsewhere, Audi’s DTM programme will remain the same level of commitment, with the only change being Adrien Tambay and Nico Muller swapping teams, whilst sales of the new R8 LMS GT3 challenger are in high demand with fifty new cars planned for 2016. Audi had previously planned to build forty-five cars for the season.