Skip to main content

Porsche says goodbye to racing rival Audi

The end of the 2016 season marks Audi’s withdrawal from endurance racing after 18 years and 13 entries in 24 Hours of Le Mans. Fellow Volkswagen Group brand and main rival Porsche decided to give Audi its own special sendoff.

When Porsche returned to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2014, Audi produced a video showing its R18 e-tron quattro race car doing donuts in front of Porsche’s headquarters, leaving the message “Welcome Back” etched in burned rubber on the pavement. Just over two years later, Porsche created a sequel to that video to say goodbye to Audi.

The original spot featured an old farmer on a diesel Porsche tractor (yes, Porsche really made one of those), and he makes a return for this video. Hearing the news that Audi is withdrawing from endurance racing, he decides to send a message of his own to the carmaker, urging Audi to come back. It’s an unusually candid expression of competitive spirit for a carmaker.

Despite both being controlled by the Volkswagen Group, Audi and Porsche have been fierce rivals since Porsche returned to top-level endurance racing in 2014. Along with Toyota (and, briefly, Nissan) they are the only automakers fielding top LMP1 Hybrid race cars in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). Audi’s departure will make 2017 a duel between Porsche and Toyota.

Audi has dominated the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans for the past decade and a half, but lost to Porsche this year, and in 2015. The automaker has likely lost the competitive advantage to its German cousin, which also won the WEC driver and manufacturer championships this year. Audi’s use of diesel engines is also less compelling from a marketing standpoint in the wake of the Volkswagen diesel scandal.

Now that it’s done with endurance racing, Audi will focus on Formula E, a relatively new race series that features electric cars. The carmaker is already associated with the ABT Schaeffler Formula E team, and has plans to increase its involvement over the next couple of seasons. Formula E will definitely boost Audi’s green credentials, but it won’t bring the glory of those past Le Mans victories.

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
Aston Martin will put its Valkyrie hybrid hypercar to the ultimate test
aston martin valkyrie to race for overall win at 24 hours of le mans in 2021

Aston Martin claims its upcoming Valkyrie hybrid hypercar will set a new performance benchmark, but that's easy to say when your new car is destined to be nothing more than a rich person's plaything. Aston is putting its money where its mouth is, however. The Valkyrie will race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2021 as Aston aims for its second overall win in the legendary French race.

Aston Martin Vantages currently race at Le Mans, but only in a lower-level class that doesn't allow the British automaker to challenge for outright victory. Aston's only overall win came in 1959 with the DBR1.  The automaker has tried, and failed, numerous times to achieve a repeat victory. Aston believes new rules will give it a decent shot in 2021, which also happens to be the 100th anniversary of the automaker's Le Mans debut.

Read more
The technologies your car inherited from race cars
racing tech in your current car road cars feat

From Ford and Chevrolet, to Ferrari and Porsche, almost every automaker has gone racing at one point or another. But why do they do it?

It’s partly just for the exposure. Racing fulfills the need for brands to get out in front of lots of eyeballs and show off their wares. But exposure alone can’t sell cars, or justify the millions of dollars automakers pour into racing.

Read more
Hyundai is flying Veloster N owners to the Nürburgring to watch its cars race
Hyundai N Nürburgring

Imagine buying a car and getting to take a trip to one of the world's greatest racetracks on the automaker's dime. Hyundai is flying 300 owners and fans of its N performance vehicles to Germany's Nürburgring for the annual 24-hour race to cheer on its team, tour the circuit in a helicopter, and compete for the chance to drive a lap of the track.

Hyundai only has two N vehicles in its lineup at the moment: The i30 N and the Veloster N, and only the latter is sold in the United States. So it's important for the Korean automaker to cultivate a loyal fan base for N, which is still relatively new. Hyundai reached out directly to fans via Veloster N owner lists and social media channels. If you're still waiting on an invite, don't bother -- all slots have been filled. Maybe next year.

Read more