Here’s hoping this is one rumor that isn’t true. Motorsport.com is reporting hints of Audi Sport ending its customer racing programs at the end of 2023. We’ve not been able to verify the validity of the rumor, but it’s probably worth summarizing what is being said and expanding with what is known.
According to Motorsport.com, the thinking here is that the focus will shift to the Formula 1 project. Audi Sport announced their intent last year to pursue F1, has since purchased the Sauber team and began a massive buildout in preparation for a 2026 bid while Sauber continues to finish out its current contracts representing Alfa Romeo.
As it transitioned, Audi ended its programs in Formula E and campaigning the RS 5 racecar in the DTM. It also ended its development of a GTP prototype for IMSA, the WEC and Le Mans. Audi Sport customer racing continued to support and sell the R8 LMS GT3, GT4 and GT2 variants, plus RS 3 LMS TCR. However, the R8 as a product ends production soon, and with no ICE successor expected and not even an EV successor anywhere near production, the R8 racing program coming to a similar end likely was already in the cards… a shame.
Motorsport.com quotes a representative of Audi Sport customer racing saying the following, “The motorsport program in customer racing for 2023 has been decided and will also be carried out as follows: 24 Hours of Nürburgring, 24 Hours of Spa, GT World Challenge, TCR World Tour, DTM. We are currently discussing the further development of customer racing and the Dakar project. As soon as decisions have been made, we will inform our teams and partners.”
If the rumors are true, that doesn’t necessarily mean Audi models won’t continue to race. In theory, the R8 LMS variants could keep going so long as they are up to date with FIA GT2, GT3 and GT4 rules, and so long as there is support of some type on parts production and distribution… even something outsourced and not necessarily Audi.
The remaining question, and not mentioned in the story, is that of the RS 3 LMS TCR. The RS 3 will continue in production for a few more years. In the event Audi ended the R8 programs, would it continue on with the RS 3 given the road car is still on sale?
We’ll post more information as it turns up. In the meantime, you can check ou the full story HERE.