For nearly a decade, the Volkswagen Auto Group dominated Le Mans racing with turbodiesel powered vehicles, but in the wake of the Dieselgate scandal, they’ve decided to make a foray into the
all-electric, zero-emission world of Formula E.
Audi’s very first factory entry into Formula E is complete with an all-new electric powertrain and livery and hopes to give the Volkswagen Auto Group a fresh start in motorsport post-Dieselgate.
The car is called the E-Tron FE04, and its new powertrain is made up of a totally redesigned motor and generator unit, a full carbon fiber shell, and a single-speed, direct-drive transmission.
Formula E has only been around for two seasons previously, and in both, Audi played a supporting role to the Abt Schaeffler team. The 2017-2018 season will be Audi’s first on their own.
The Audi team’s driver roster will be comprised of Lucas di Grassi, a champion from the 2016-2017 season, as well as his teammate Daniel Abt. Three-time Le Mans winner Allan McNish will be on staff as team principal for the season.
Audi was dominant in Le Mans racing from 2000 to 2014, taking wins in all but two runnings of the famous 24-hour endurance race – with eight of those wins in diesel-powered cars. Porsche took victories in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and coupled with the now famous Dieselgate scandal; the VW group decided to abandon endurance racing in favor of zero-emission alternatives completely.
With Porsche not joining Formula E until 2019, the door is wide open for Audi’s success in the coming season.