Shakeup Happening at Audi Sport customer racing

There’s a shakeup going on at Audi Sport customer racing that will see major changes in Audi’s entry-level motorsport division. Effectively, the brand has made the decision to move to close its factory-supported GT3 activities and eliminate the factory driver pool at the end of the year as part of a restructuring.

Sportscar365 sites a memo sent to teams on Tuesday confirming Audi Sport customer racing is set to end ‘strategic operations’ while also ending sales on GT2, GT3, GT4 and TCR models “after Q1 2024”. The cars are currently still available for order, and the homologations will be extended by at least one more cycle, so on-site customer support will continue for the foreseeable future. The R8 LMS GT3 Evo II, for example, could be eligible to race until 2032 per the FIA’s rule that allows cars to be homologated for up to eight years beyond the end of road car production.

According to Audi Sport customer racing boss Chris Reinke (via Sportscar365), the decision was made on Monday, with Audi Sport managing director Rolf Michl informing partners and customers Tuesday.

Important to recognize, this doesn’t mean Audi Sport customer racing ceases to exist. Reinke stated, “All of the cars which are in the hands of customers, we will provide engineering support, we will re-homologate. We have an engineering team who will bug fix, if bugs come up and all that. We will continue to give 100 percent support to all those cars in the hands of customers, also for the future. It’s not the end of Audi Sport customer racing.”

Reinke confirmed that programs in Fanatec GT and DTM  will continue through the end of the year. He also sited the end of the R8 road car production and the growing F1 efforts as the reason for this decision.

Drivers in the current works program and affected by this change include Christopher Mies, Frederic Vervisch, Christopher Haase, Markus Winkelhock, Mattia Drudi, Ricardo Feller and Patric Niederhauser.

Reinke also spoke to how things could go from here.  “From my perspective, there are quite a few very interesting projects at the moment up in the air for decision. It’s my absolute hope that we get those decided very soon. But as long as they’re not decided, they’re not to be communicated.”

But What About Le Mans?

Earlier this month, on July 5, Reinke spoke to Sportscar365 about the potential for LMGT3 inclusion of the R8, which would mean eligibility for the FIA WEC and possibly Le Mans.  According to that report, four teams had expressed interest in taking the four rings into that space.  For that report, Reinke stated, “At the moment that is the task with customer racing. At the end, our customers set our priorities, and at the moment it is high on the list of investors to understand how we can generate an entry out of the possibility that the ACO has defined.”

He went further to say, “We’re at the moment calculating our side. We know investors (customers) are calculating their side. We await the final confirmation of the technical regulations soon. I believe then we will have enough facts on the table to decide, together with partners, if it’s a valuable thing.”

It would be interesting to know where this earlier consideration fits for Audi Sport customer racing. Clearly, Audi is choosing very carefully where budgetary focus goes (or if it goes at all) in regards to sportscar racing. If Le Mans was mentioned in the later conversation since Tuesday’s decision, it wasn’t expanded upon.