Report: Audi could discontinue customer racing next season

Decision fuelled by desire to focus on 2026 F1 entry.
  • Audi wants to focus on 2026 F1 entry
  • Brand looks set to continue Dakar Rally in 2024

Audi reportedly has plans to close its customer racing division from next season, according to German motorsport website Motorsport-Total.com.

With the German marque set to enter Formula One in 2026 following the acquisition of Sauber, this move would allow Audi to focus on the global motorsport series as its main operation.

It would also see a continuation of the company's culling of various motorsport divisions, following its factory exits from German Touring Car Masters (DTM) in 2020 and Formula E in 2021, and its decision to drop its Le Mans Daytona h (LMDh) programme in 2022

Motorsport-Total.com reports that Audi chief executive Markus Duesmann has decided to place the company's weight entirely behind the Formula One project even before its entry was finalised.

While its involvement in DTM and other GT3 categories with the R8 LMS appear to be coming to a close, Audi is reportedly set to continue its Dakar Rally programme in 2024. In fact, the Ingolstadt-based manufacturer is planning to contest the full World Rally-Raid Championship.

Julius Seebach, who headed the Audi Sport department until August last year, had already slashed budgets for 2022 and 2023, so his replacement Rolf Michl has been able to do little to stop the demise of Audi's customer programme.

This announcement will not mean a complete departure from GT3 racing, as it would be possible to outsource the necessary processes to a third party. However, what is certain is that manufacturer support in DTM and major endurance races will be over.

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