Since the first Formula E races began in 2014, Audi has given its name to Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport. Now, the automaker has announced it will expand its investment in the race team over the next few years.
For the upcoming third season of Formula E, Audi has committed to intensifying the partnership through financial and technical support. And for the 2017/2018 season, Audi will take a bigger role in the development process in an effort to form its own full-fledged factory race team.
"In the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi was the first manufacturer to have achieved victories with a TFSI engine, a TDI and a hybrid race car, so writing motorsport history on several occasions," Audi motorsport chief Wolfgang Ullrich said in a statement. "Now we intend to repeat this in fully electric racingand Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport [is] a logical partner for us."
This year, the ABT Schaeffler FE02 will sport new Audi badging in honor of the commitment. Drivers Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi will race for the team, the latter barely missing the championship title last season. The races begin October in Hong Kong, and end July 2017 in New York. Jaguar and Faraday Future Dragon Racing will make their debuts in the upcoming season.
Audi says the races provide a proving ground to test new technologies. By 2025, a quarter of its vehicles will be electric.