Audi announced today that it was “adjusting” its motorsports presence in 2009. This means the team was a pioneer for the “Green Racing” initiative of the American Le Mans Series will no longer be lapping the tracks in the U.S. and Canada.
Instead, Audi will be putting its focus on the new R15 TDI sport prototype that it is developing for the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. The R15 TDI is a re-worked race touring car A4 for the DTM circuit. It will also concentrate its motorsports efforts on the newly developed R8 LMS for customer use in the GT3 class
Since the year 2000, when the brand entered the ALMS, Audi has been influential in bringing the series up to its current level of popularity. Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, the head of Audi Motorsport admits the decision to withdraw was a tough one. Audi has won the LMP1 title nine-times in a row with the R8 and the R10 TDI.
The R10 TDI had a big hand in Audi’s launch of the TDI technology in its road cars in the U.S. Currently, the Q7 is available with a 3.0-liter TDI engine and a TDI engine will find its way into the new A4 later next year. Further proof of the technology transfer is the Audi R8 TDI Le Mans concept that debuted in Detroit last year.
Audi AG will continue its involvement in Europe through 2009. The new Audi R15 TDI sports prototype will debut March 21, 2009 during the 12-hour race in Sebring, Florida.