The all-electric form of motorspots – Formula E- has gained a lot of popularity in the past couple of years, thanks to the innovations and arrival of new teams. Even a country like India, which is not too fond of motorsports has Mahindra Racing team representing the country in the game, which is doing immensely good in the Formula E.
This translates to more popularity of the sports in countries like India. Recently too, Formula E announced the fully-autonomous racing championship on the sideline of the electric racing sports, called the Roborace. These all factors have led to the increasing popularity, audience and sponsorships for the game.
Such is the level of popularity that big manufacturers are now contemplating the option to join the sports. Audi, the German luxury car manufacturer has announced to join the racing series as a full-fledged manufacturer under the name Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler. But it’s not like Audi was not involved with the game at all.
Audi has been involved with Formula E from the very beginning of the open-wheel, electric racing series. Audi actually lent its name and provided funding to the Abt Schaeffler team at the Formula E’s inauguration in 2014. The German automaker also has lent a factory driver, Lucas di Grassi, to the team, along with the technical support. Hence the name of the team was Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport.
But now, Audi will take over the team's slot, giving it anofficial, full-fledged presence as a manufacturer in Formula E, taking over the Abt Schaeffler team only, signifying that supplier Schaeffler will still be a powertrain partner moving forward.
"We've been supporting the Formula E commitment with increasing intensity in recent months – on the race days, in the development of the new powertrain and in numerous off-track activities as well," says Audi board member Dr. Peter Mertens. "That Audi will be the first German automobile manufacturer to be actively involved in the racing series starting next season is also a clear commitment of our brand to electric mobility, on the race track as of December and next year on the road as well with the new Audi e-tron."
Among other car manufacturers, Jaguar, the British luxury car manufacturer and a competitor to Audi, has its own Formula E team starting 2016/2017 season. BMW, the fellow German manufacturer supplies support vehicles to Formula E, and is expected to field its own team beginning 2018, along with Mercedes-Benz, who has been exploring involvement in the electric racing series as well.
As for the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team’s performance, it has claimed five race wins and 23 podiums in Formula E with its drivers Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi. The team is giving consistent performance and has been a constant frontrunner in the series, and is currently in second place in points standings for this season, behind Renault E.dams. Audi and Schaeffler are currently co-developing a new powertrain for next season.
On the other hand, our very own Mahindra racing is doing good in the Formula E too and won their first ever race at the Berlin ePrix last month.