Cars Brands

Audi’s New Le Mans Program Is Being Paused

Audi's New Le Mans Program Is Being Paused
Written by Publishing team

le mans 24h race

Ker RobertsonGetty Images

Two years ago, Audi announced a plan to return to Le Mans in 2023 as part of the LMDh ruleset. Now, just under a year before the first races their new car would have been eligible to race, their program has reportedly been put on a months-long pause.

The pause is currently being attributed to supply chain issues, but fellow Volkswagen brand Porsche’s similar program has been able to hit the track at the same time with the same chassis-building partner. If the program is to resume, the months-long pause will put Audi well behind their corporate allies in track testing ahead of the 2023 season and could put a Daytona debut in peril. It also makes any chance of signing customers in North America, half of the program’s planned operation, a far larger challenge.

While this is just a pause for now, the program itself might be in jeopardy. SportsCar365’s John Dagys reports that some industry sources are saying the program has been called off entirely. Road&Track contributing editor Marshall Pruett mentioned on Twitter earlier this week that he’s hearing the same thing. Although Audi denied any connection between this current pause and a potential future F1 engine program, both have noted that the decision to move on from the previously-announced sports car program could involve reverting that money toward that long-rumored F1 plan.

Audi raced at Le Mans from 1999 to to 2016, amassing 13 wins in that stretch. That number is enough to put them second all-time, between Porsche’s 19 and Ferrari’s nine. Until this pause, all three were scheduled to return to the 24 hour classic in 2023.

Audi’s potential departure from the future of sports car racing leaves Porsche, Acura, BMW, Cadillac, and Alpine committed to the LMDh ruleset, with all but Alpine still set to debut in 2023. Only Porsche, Cadillac, and Alpine have confirmed participation at Le Mans, but they will be joined there by cars built to the similar LMH ruleset by Toyota, Peugeot, and Ferrari. Lamborghini, another Volkswagen-owned brand, is rumored to be weeks away from either confirming or moving on from a potential LMDh program of their own.

Despite the different rulesets, both LMH and LMDh cars will compete in the same classes in both Europe (as Hypercar) and the US (as GTP) from 2023 on. Notably, only Porsche and Cadillac have begun to tease their 2023 cars.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io

About the author

Publishing team