Wolfgang Durheimer, VW Group motorsport boss has revealed that the Audi LMP1 program could continue in the hands of a privateer team.
In an interview with British magazine Autocar, ostensibly about the VW 2017 Polo WRC cars, Durheimer revealed that the German marque, who unexpectedly cancelled their endurance racing program at the end of this year, could make their diesel-hybrid cars available to privateer teams to run in the World Endurance Championship if they can raise sufficient budget.
“There is interest,” he said, “but it is more complex than the World Rally Championship situation – these cars are on a different level technologically to anything else racing today”
In what may be a coded reference to Team Joest he continued “They are not cars that a privateer can just operate, but we are very willing to co-operate with any team that has the expertise and budget to race them.”
At the time of the initial announcement of the cessation of Audi’s involvement in endurance racing, Head of AudiSport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich stated that the German manufacturer would not be able to continue technical support of the powertrain which contained considerable intellectual property (IP), a situation which reading Durheimer’s statement above may now have changed.
While this may seem great news for the many Audi fans it should be noted that this is by no means a confirmation of the Marques return as no privateer team has campaigned current-generation LMP1 hybrids, so there is no real knowledge on costs, logistics or even whether a privateer team would be welcomed into the ‘manufacturer’ class.