Audi, VW depart from World Endurance Championship and World Rally Championship
Change is here in the world of motorsports, too. With the impending departures of Audi from the World Endurance Championship (WEC), in favor of the new motorsports spectacle, Formula E; and Volkswagen in the World Rally Championship (WRC) by seasons end, we now look back at all the accolades both motorsports powerhouses have established in their respective disciplines.
Audi won Le Mans 24 Hours 13 times. Twice the team has taken the WEC Manufacturer’s and Drivers Titles, with total race victories in the WEC at 16. For European Le Mans Series (ELMS) Audi had two Manufacturer’s and Drivers Titles, with seven wins. In American Le Mans Series (ALMS), they won eight titles for both the Manufacturer and Drivers championships, with 70 ALMS race wins.
Equally impressive are Volkswagen’s records in rallying: four FIA WRC titles in both the Drivers and Manufacturers’ division. Add to that an impressive 42 FIA WRC race wins, with 621 fastest stage times in the FIA WRC. Recently, Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia of Volkswagen won, for the fourth year in a row, the notoriously muddy Wales Rallye GB. This gave Michelin their 50th WRC title since the championships’ inception back in 1973 (24 Drivers’ title and 26 Manufacturers’ titles for Michelin).
Both Audi and Volkwagen garnered impressive records in WEC and WRC, but these would’ve not been possible were it not for Michelin. The French Tire conglomerate provided both marquees with tires capable of winning in record fashion, in both WRC and WEC. 1999 saw Audi equip their cars with Michelin rubber and in 2013, Volkswagen opted for the French rubber in rallying.
For the final time, the Audi R18 will compete in the WEC’s 6 hours of Bahrain and the VW Polo R WRC in WRC’s Rally Australia on the very same weekend (18-20 November). While this will close a chapter in their respective racing history, the Audi / Michelin partnership will further continue, with Formula E having Michelin as their Official Partner.