Audi is one of the top luxury car manufacturers in the world. In order to promote their brand, they have competed in various forms of motorsports. This tradition began with their former company Auto Union in the 1930s, and in 1978 the Audi Sport Department was founded.
Most Important Audi Racing Classes
Audi has produced quite a few successful racing classes over the years. Perhaps the most iconic of them all is the Audi Quattro, debuting in 1980 at the Janner Rally in Austria. Different variations of the
Quattro were developed over the years until its productions stopped in 1991.
Perhaps the most successful racing model is the R8 Le Mans Prototype. Introduced in 2000 as a replacement for the Audi R8R LMP, this is one of the most successful racing sports cars, winning 5 of the 6 24 Hours of Le Mans races it competed in. The model was later replaced by the new Audi R10 TDI. Another iconic car in this class is the newer Audi R18 Le Mans Prototype racing car.
We should also mention the Audi 5 Series DTM, based on the production of the Audi A5. The latest model in the series is the RS5 Turbo, replacing the older RS5 since the start of the 2019 season. This model is also the first turbo powered DTM car Audi has ever made.
Audi Quattro – a WRC Champion Car
The Audi Quattro is a road and rally car. It was first presented at the 1980 Geneva Motor Show, and its production continued through 1991. The Quattro was the first rally car to take advantage of the new rules in competitive racing which allowed the use of four-wheel driving.
The Quattro was first used in 1980, and in the following years, Audi would introduce the A1 and A2 evolutions of the Quattro in response to the new Group B rules. The A1 debuted in the 1983 WRC season opener and went on to win two rallies. The A2 evolution was a little more successful, winning a total of eight rallies of which 3 were in 1983 and 5 in 1984. The Audi Quattro and all its models have won a total of 23 races, making it one of the most successful classes in WRC history.
From 1984 to 1987, Audi won three consecutive Pikes Peak Hillclimb rallies, including a record of less than 11 minutes in 1987, which was accomplished by Walter Röhrl using the Audi Sport Quattro S1. Its successor, the Sport Quatro S1 E2 became the last Group B car produced by Audi.
Due to safety concerns (that came after a few fatal incidents), all Group B prototypes including the Quattro were banned from competition.
Audi in the DTM
The Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters or DTM is a touring car series that started in 2000. The cars use a silhouette racing car based on mass-produced vehicles. DTM is based in Germany but also features rounds in other places in Europe.
Audi joined the DTM as a fully fledged manufacturer in 2004. They immediately found success, as Swedish driver Mattias Ekström became champion in 2004 for the first time in his career, and has since become a long-time veteran, before retiring in 2018. That same year, Audi took home the teams and manufacturers championships. Audi has since won multiple titles, including the one in 2017, when René Rast became the first rookie driver to win the DTM title. He has also had success in the following two seasons, as he finished second in 2018, and is the top rated driver of the current season.
Audi Champions in Formula E
Formula E is a motorsport that uses electric-powered cars. The series was conceived in 2011, and the first season started in September 2014 in Beijing. Races take place on street tracks all over the globe. The season starts at the end of the year and runs through the middle of the following year.
Audi has always been an innovative and pioneering company, and Formula E is the ideal stage for them to live their motto of “leading with technology”. They have competed in the series since its inaugural season in 2014/2015, partnering with ABT Sportsline to form Audi Sport ABT.
Their team consists of two very talented drivers, Brazilian Lucas di Grassi, and German Daniel Abt who consistently find themselves on the podium. Lucas di Grassi managed to win the first ever Formula E race in Beijing in 2014, and in the 2016/2017, Audi Sport ABT became champions for the first time. They currently drive the Audi e-tron FE05, a fully electric race car that is part of the second generation of Formula E race cars.
Audi in the Le Mans-Series/WEC
The FIA World Endurance Championship was started in 2012, as a direct replacement for the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. Its format closely resembles that of its predecessor, featuring 9 endurance races across the world, including 4 in Europe, 2 in the Americas and Asia, and 1 in the Middle East. One of these races is the 24 hour of Le Mans – the world’s oldest active car endurance race.
Audi has traditionally been one of the best Le Mans Prototype car manufacturers in the world. Their 2000 model Audi R8 has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 5 of the 6 years in which they competed in it, including three consecutive victories in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Audi later replaced the R8 with their new diesel model – the Audi R10 TDI – which became the first diesel-powered car to win the 24 hour race of Le Mans.
Due to declining interest from manufacturers, the FIA which is the governing body of the WEC proposed for the competition to move away from the Le Mans Prototype and rely less on hybrid technologies. This proposal was designed to attract more interest from manufacturers, and you can be sure that Audi will one of the first companies to come up with new designs to lead the way in the world of endurance racing.