Audi to build Le Mans car 'in close cooperation' with Porsche - The Race
Prototype Series, WEC/Le Mans

Audi to build Le Mans car ‘in close cooperation’ with Porsche

Apr 29 2021
By Valentin Khorounzhiy

Audi’s new Le Mans challenger will be built “in close cooperation” with fellow Volkswagen Group brand Porsche, the manufacturer has said.

The Ingolstadt firm axed its programme in top-flight sportscar racing at the end of 2016, but is now preparing for a return at the start of 2023 as part of the new Le Mans Daytona hybrid category.

Its new prototype will make its competitive debut in the 2023 Daytona 24 Hours after “an intensive test programme”, and it will make its Le Mans comeback that same year.

And with 2023 also set to mark fellow Le Mans giant Porsche’s return to the event’s top echelon, Audi has revealed the two marques will be making use of their status as sister brands.

Audi Porsche WEC

“A great strength of the Volkswagen Group is the collaboration of the brands in the development of road cars,” said Audi’s motorsport boss Julius Seebach, who replaced Dieter Gass in the role last December. “We are now transferring this proven model to motorsport.

“Nevertheless, the new sports prototype will be just as much a genuine Audi as the Audi RS e-tron GT that was launched recently and has also been developed on a platform shared with Porsche.”

The news of an Audi/Porsche partnership, though not surprising, comes as something of a departure from their status as arch-rivals during the LMP1 era.

It is also a contrast to their current presence in FE, where Audi – which will depart at the end of the current season – and Porsche – which has already committed to the new Gen3 ruleset – have been distinctly separate.

Audi Porsche Formula E

The Race understands that the Multimatic organisation has held talks with both brands about a possible collaboration on the LMDh project.

“We have selected a chassis partner and decided on an engine concept,” said Audi project manager Andreas Roos.

“Together with our colleagues from Audi Design, we are currently defining the look which will excite our fans.”

Audi also announced it aims to make the LMDh car available to customers “right from the start, in parallel to factory entries”.

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