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Audi will have no factory involvement in its GT3 and other customer racing programs from 2024 following a board decision on Monday.
As Motorsport.com’s partner website Motorsport-Total.com reported in May, Audi will not be providing factory support to any of its customer teams for GT3 racing from this year. next. This would mainly affect teams that participate in the DTM as well as major endurance races such as the 24 Hours of Spa and the 24 Hours of Nurburgring.
Additionally, its pool of 14 factory riders, including Ricardo Feller, Markus Winkelhock, Patric Niederhauser and Christopher Mies, among others, will be disbanded at the end of the current racing season.
The German manufacturer will also stop production of all of its customer racing cars, including the GT3 and GT4 variants of the Audi R8 LMS and the RS3 LMS TCR car, after the first quarter of 2024. All orders placed until this time will be performed by Audi. .
However, as previously speculated, Audi has decided not to completely shut down its customer racing division. Instead, the R8 LMS GT3 and other customer cars will remain homologated, with the Ingolstadt-based manufacturer offering a basic supply of spares until 2032.
The original plan was indeed to shut down Audi Sport Customer Racing altogether, with the board issuing instructions late last year to shut down the division after 2023.
But according to sources, after the efforts of Audi Sport boss Rolf Michl and head of customer racing Chris Reinke, a decision has been made around the 24 Hours of Nurburgring to continue its involvement in customer racing at reduced capacity. This was approved by the board on Monday.
Rolf Michl, Managing Director Audi Sport GmbH
Photo by: Alexandre Trienitz
The idea was to ensure that cars already purchased by customer teams will remain operational for the foreseeable future. Currently, more than 1,000 Audi vehicles are on the road in the GT3, GT4 and TCR classes.
Following the decision, Audi will not only guarantee spare parts, but will also offer technical support through engineers and all the necessary developments to be made to their cars.
“We are sad that we cannot continue our strategic commitment,” Michl told Motorsport-Total.com. “But it is more important that we do not close. A new era begins now, which will continue with the same reliability and the same passion.”
As previously reported, the decision to reduce its involvement in customer racing is fueled by the need to direct resources to its next Formula 1 program in 2026 in conjunction with Sauber.
Until the F1 program takes effect, Audi’s only factory involvement will be the Dakar Rally – a project currently approved until 2024.