(Reuters) - Audi will withdraw from the German Touring Car series (DTM) at the end of the year and focus its motorsport activities on all-electric Formula E and customer racing, the carmaker announced on Monday.
The Volkswagen-owned premium brand said in a statement the realignment was also due to the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Audi has been in Formula E since 2014, and active in DTM for 20 years.
Chairman Markus Duesmann said Formula E offered “a very attractive platform” for a marque aiming to generate about 40% of its sales with electric cars and plug-in-hybrids by 2025.
The move leaves the DTM, whose series is on hold due to the pandemic, with BMW as its sole manufacturer on the grid next year and facing an uncertain future.
Mercedes, also now competing in Formula E, departed at the end of 2018 while Aston Martin left after last season.
DTM boss Gerhard Berger said the future now depended on how partners and sponsors reacted.
“While we respect the board’s position, the short-term nature of this announcement presents (organisers) ITR, our partner BMW and our teams with a number of specific challenges,” added the Austrian.
“Given our common association, and the particular difficulties we all face during the COVID-19 pandemic, we would have hoped for a more united approach.”
The all-female W Series made its debut on the DTM’s support race programme last year and is scheduled to link up with it again this season.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar