Audi has presented its first all-electric factory-backed racing car, which will compete in the Formula E series from next season.
The e-tron FE04 racer has been revealed almost a year after Audi announced it was disbanding its hugely successful Le Mans team to focus on all-electric racing from the 2017/18 season.
The car will be driven by Brazilian Lucas di Grassi, who won the 2016/17 Formula E championship as part of the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team, and Daniel Abt from Germany.
Audi board member Peter Mertens said: “After nearly 40 years of being successfully active in motorsport at the highest level, Audi now becomes the first German automobile manufacturer to compete in Formula E in order to test and advance the development of new technologies for production.
— Audi Sport (@audisport) September 27, 2017
“Following quattro, TFSI, TDI, hybrid drive and many other innovations, our first single-seater race car is a portent of our product offensive in the field of electric mobility that we are bringing in with the Audi e-tron in 2018.”
Audi, which is part of the Volkswagen Group, decided to quit Le Mans as a consequence of the dieselgate scandal that continues to rumble on. Its parent company is facing spending billions of pounds in compensation and fines and needs to cut costs across its brands.
For Audi, being consistently winning at Le Mans with a diesel-hybrid vehicle was a massive waste of money and not a good look either, so it has made the switch to Formula E to help accelerate electric vehicle development and improve its image.