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Unread 11-01-2016, 12:47 PM #1
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Dieselgate effects on motorsport
Dieselgate effects on motorsport

Many have predicted VW's Dieselgate scandal would affect their ability to pay for motorsport programs. Looks like the ax is now swinging.

They announced about a week ago or so that they were pulling Audi out of Le Mans. Now it looks like they're pulling the plug on their WRC program.
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Unread 11-01-2016, 01:11 PM #2
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Dieselgate effects on motorsport
While Dieselgate has some part in the WEC pullout there is more to it than that. Porsche is in the same series, both teams were individually spending $500,000.00 annually to in effect, race each other. That ROI doesn't pan out.

After dipping their toe in Formula E with ABT, Audi is going full on for in the series for the next season.

As to WRC, I do think that is fully a casualty of Dieselgate.
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Unread 11-01-2016, 02:31 PM #3
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Dieselgate effects on motorsport
All true re the Audi, Porsche clash in high profile endurance racing. I figured the writing was finally on the wall when Audi announced they "planned to incorporate Formula E into a factory-backed motorsport programme as of the 2017/18 season." It still feels strange, though, to think of it as a switch from big time prototypes to Formula E. Those who forget this is all VW and they still have Porsche in WEC will be even more confused.

May mean a lot of advancement coming soon in the electric racing world...maybe.

The timing of VW pulling out WRC is unfortunate. They're in the throes of finishing development on their all new 2017-spec runner and now it will just sit on the shelf? I assume that means all the development is now shelved.

Also means a bunch of top tier drivers are now on the market. Mark Webber is quitting at Porsche so there's one open seat available. Wonder where all the others will go. Can't imagine Ogier deciding it's a good time to retire from WRC.
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Unread 11-01-2016, 04:38 PM #4
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I hate to hear this for WRC
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Unread 11-02-2016, 11:33 AM #5
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Dieselgate effects on motorsport
And now they've confirmed it. Out of WRC as well, though, unlike their WEC switch to Formula E, there isn't a motorsport series swap for the WRC effort. So, two for one: out of WEC and WRC, full manufacturer effort in Formula E. Much less budget and I guess it fits with the parent company's recent emphasis on electric drive trains for production cars.
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Last edited by Steve; 11-02-2016 at 11:45 AM.
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Unread 11-03-2016, 10:58 AM #6
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I'm sure electric is what VW sees as the future. So going whole hog into Formula E makes sense. I'm sad to see them leave WRC, but with Toyota coming back it still should be a good show.
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Unread 11-05-2016, 12:03 PM #7
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Dieselgate effects on motorsport
Ullrich already planned to retire soon so I'm not sure how related this announcement might be to the news about Audi pulling out of the WEC.

Ullrich to Step Down as Head of Audi Motorsport at End of Year (sportscar365.com)
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By John Dagys | November 5, 2016

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich will hand over his duties as Head of Audi Motorsport to Dieter Gass at the end of this year, prior to his planned retirement in 2017, as part of a reorganization within Audi Sport.

The 66-year-old, who has masterminded the German manufacturer’s factory prototype program since its launch in 1999, confirmed his successor on Saturday in Shanghai.

“This was planned for quite some time,” Ullrich said. “It needed to be organized with the board and we have not officialized it, but that’s what we’re going to go for.

“The good thing on this decision is that we now have one year to build Audi Sport the way it’s orientated for the new program.

“And maybe when I go, he has it in his hands and not needs to do it alone.”

Gass, who is currently Audi’s Head of DTM, has been working directly under Ullrich for the last few years and filled in for him during last year’s WEC event in Bahrain.

Ullrich said he will remain with Audi through his current two-year contract extension, which expires at the end of next year, to help with the restructuring of the motorsports department.

A total of 370 people are currently employed, with Ullrich admitting it will be “clearly smaller” but said the final size has not yet been determined.

“I now have a new goal and that’s to organize Audi Sport for what’s to come,” he said, “and to make sure everyone that’s at Audi Sport today that will not find a place in the reduced motorsport program gets a good job at Audi. I think it will keep me busy.”

Ullrich’s imminent retirement from Audi Sport marks the end of an era, having been one of the longest-running and most successful motorsport executives in the industry.
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