After 18 Years, Audi is No Longer in the WEC

Audi participated in the WEC, or World Endurance Championship, for almost two decades.  However, at the end of the 2016 season, Audi will be ending their campaign in the championship after 18 years of participation.  Audi’s motorsport boss, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, said:  “After 18 years in prototype racing that were exceptionally successful for Audi, it’s obviously extremely hard to leave. Audi Sport Team Joest shaped the WEC during this period like no other team.”

Audi has had an unbelievable 18 years of WEC.  They achieved an incredible  amount, and this article will showcase some of the highlights of the German manufacturer’s accomplishments throughout that time.

A Summary of Audi’s Achievements Throughout

With the partnership between Audi and Joest Racing being established in 1999, the two had completed an incredible amount of feats.  Over the span of the 18 years, Audi never finished outside of the podium spots in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.  In fact, out of the 18 24 Hours of Le Mans races Audi competed in, they won 13 of them.  That is about a 72% winning record.  Audi also had 80 pole positions from 185 starts in the Championship.

As the years went on, the Audi and Joest Racing partnership continued to gain achievements left and right.  For instance, in 2004, Audi won the Manufacturers’ Championship at the 2004 DTM.  The year prior, though Audi had been concentrated on development for a car for the next year, they still managed to win the team’s championship that year.   

In 2006, the team made history.  They won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race that year using a diesel-powered vehicle.  That same car, the Audi R10 TDI to be exact, helped them win the 2006 12 Hours of Sebring race.  That same year, the factory team for Audi also won the Manufacturers’ Championship at the American Le Mans Series.  Incredible.

In 2007, again the R10 TDI came out on top, winning the 24  Hours of Le Mans race, and the car did the same thing again in 2008 — the very next year.

In 2009, the Audi Sports Team raced the Audi R15 TDI, and this car had made its debut and won the Sebring in March of that year.  In the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, though the sports team didn’t make first, they did still make the podium, coming in third.

These kinds of accomplishments continued on throughout the years.  Skipping to 2015, the trio that raced for the Audi Sport Team Joest (Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer) earned the title of the most successful driver combination in the WEC.  This honor was earned because of the three being able to become the world champions in 2012, and then being the runners-up three years in a row, in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

It’s sad to see such a successful team leave the World Endurance Championships.  However, everything has an ending.  It’ll only be a matter of time to see if someone else comes along that becomes as successful as the Audi Sports Team Joest had been in a little less than two decades time.