Formula E racing is fairly new to the market as it only started in 2014 and at the time every car on the track was identical except in color and sponsor. Audi was one of the original sponsors of a Formula E racing team, but as the sport has grown over the past few years some teams are expanding and asking that automakers build their own race cars to give some differentiation to the cars on this circuit. This is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing racing divisions in the world and may eventually branch off into other areas of racing.
Audi has now made plans to begin to run its own race team starting next year with the 2017-2018 season. Currently they have an agreement to continue to partner with ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport Formula E team for the 2016-2017 season, but after this season it will branch off to have its own factory backed team. This is a reaction to the increased interested from other automakers, such as Volvo and Jaguar who are starting to build race cars for teams that will be backed by these brands. This will give Audi a way to have their own team and continue to enjoy the fun of Formula E racing.
During that first season, Audi Sport had Luca di Grassi as one of its drivers and the other was a factory driver that was always available. This was in the cooperation with ABT Schaeffler and during this next season Audi will continue to financial and technically support the ABT team, but after that they are working toward the ABT team being on their own and Audi bringing a fully factory backed team to the market to showcase what Audi Sport has to offer the world of Formula E racing.
For this season, the Audi logo will make it way to the side of the FE02 car that carries the ABT Schaeffler name on it. All the cars on the circuit have already finished their final test in the UK and look forward the start of the season in Hong Kong on October 9th. This change for Audi will help increase the visibility of their serious commitment to the sport of Formula E racing and may even give them the technology to create some amazing cars for us to have as consumers on the market.
The Formula E racing series is becoming more and more popular every season and with many of the European automakers entering the competition it won’t be long before some of the American and Japanese automakers make their mark on this new racing circuit as well. October 9 is the kickoff to the new season and hopefully some of us can have a chance to see these races, if they’re broadcast on stations we receive here in the US. If not, I guess we’ll just have to see the coverage or find out if it’s being streamed live online for our viewing pleasure. This is certainly a racing series that could be interesting to watch.