Audi Sport ABT to enter Formula E series

Audi motor sports chief Wolfgang Ullrich reacts at the pit of Audi R18 TDI during the Le Mans 24-hour sportscar race in Le Mans, central France, June 12, 2011. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

(Reuters) - ABT Sportsline, who run an Audi factory team in the German Touring Car championship (DTM), will enter the new Formula E electric racing series starting up next year, organisers said on Friday.

The Bavarian team will compete under the Audi Sport ABT name.

“We’ve been watching this new project of the FIA with great interest and are delighted that ABT Sportsline as one of our close and long-standing partners will be involved right from the beginning,” said Audi motorsport head Wolfgang Ullrich in a statement.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed for the squad on tackling this new challenge and are planning to support its commitment with drivers from our factory line-up if required.”

The team are the seventh to be named for the series, with three more still to come, and third from Europe.

Formula E is due to start in China in September, with races in 10 leading cities including Berlin.

Organisers hope the series, which has French car manufacturer Renault and tyre maker Michelin among its partners, will boost the market for battery-powered vehicles and advance the technology behind them.

“To have one of the most successful German motorsport teams with the support of a big manufacturer on board is a fantastic addition to the series,” said Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E holdings.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer