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Audi Auto giants quit Le Mans to focus on Formula E

Le Mans organisers said they had been braced for Audi's decision to pull the plug

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Formula E, the world's first electric racing series, only started in 2014 and the technology is still evolving, with drivers needing to swap cars halfway through 50 minute races because their batteries won't go the distance play

Formula E, the world's first electric racing series, only started in 2014 and the technology is still evolving, with drivers needing to swap cars halfway through 50 minute races because their batteries won't go the distance

(AFP/File)

German auto giants Audi, who captured the famed Le Mans 24-Hour Race on 13 occasions, said Wednesday they were pulling out of the World Endurance Championship to concentrate on Formula E.

Le Mans organisers said they had been braced for Audi's decision to pull the plug but described it nevertheless as a move greeted with "emotion".

Audi chairman Rupert Stadler confirmed: "We're going to contest the race for the future on electric power.

"As our production cars are becoming increasingly electric, our motorsport cars, as Audi's technological spearheads, have to be even more so."

Formula E, the world's first electric racing series, only started in 2014 and the technology is still evolving -- even in a race that only lasts 50 minutes, drivers have to swap cars halfway because their batteries won't go the distance.

Audi won Le Mans 13 times between 2000 and 2014 but the last two years saw them usurped by Porsche.

"It was with emotion that we all learned this morning about Audi?s decision to withdraw from endurance racing," said Pierre Fillon, president of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, which organises the Le Mans race.

"Although prepared for this, we regret the departure of a major figure in endurance racing for a different adventure."

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