Most of the time I talk to people who see cars as just a tool. They know Audi is a German car company. And they might have heard about the race which might or might not be called World Endurance Championship, and which they often confuse with Formula 1, but well... these are the non-car people, and we’ll leave them to it.
Rather than trying to explain to them how all things work, I tried to analyze recent news about Audi leaving WEC from their perspective, from the point of view of people who can't be bothered with championships and podiums and who only use their vehicles for getting from A to B.
Now, Audi has spent 18 years in WEC. It could seem like a reasonable decision to leave if their history was all dull and gray. But it isn’t. It’s 13 victories in 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s 106 victories which were achieved in the brand’s 185 races to date. 80 pole positions. 94 fastest race laps.
Now, Formula E - a new home for Audi. The company has been participating since the first 2014/15 season, and plans to provide financial and technical support starting from 2016/17 season. Formula E is a completely new type of motorsport. It's the first green race in the world.
But why? Why leave the championship with such a successful history behind? Why plunge into something what has yet to grasp the attention of the general public? And what is it for ordinary people like you and me, and those who can't tell the bloody difference between FWD and RWD?
Well, the answer, I'm afraid, is simple. Audi is trying not to fall behind on the whole going-green-and-sustainable energy thing. Tesla is growing rapidly. Porsche has its Mission E. Jaguar has just unveiled its I-Pace concept. And Audi, according to their website, plans to have its each forth vehicle electric by 2025. The company is simply trying to catch this wave of electric vehicles, which might or might not grow big. Leaving WEC, Audi tries to stay on the cutting edge of development and not to lose its positions on the market.
So while some of us might reminisce about Audi’s history in WEC, non-car people should just simply prepare for a flood of electric vehicles from someone other than Tesla.