Wednesday 26 October 2016

Pierre Fillion and Gérard Neveu react to Audi's announcement earlier today

Following Audi’s announcement today about its withdrawal from endurance racing, comments of Pierre Fillon, Président of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest and Gérard Neveu, CEO of the FIA World Endurance Championship are below:

Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest :
“It was with emotion that we all learned this morning about Audi’s decision to withdraw from endurance racing.   Although prepared for this, we regret the departure of a major figure in endurance racing for a different adventure. Present at Le Mans since 1999, the German firm has written some of the finest and strongest pages in the history books for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and, more recently, the WEC. More than a competitor, the marque with the four rings has been a real contributor in recent years to the tremendous growth of endurance racing across the world.

“To reduce costs for manufacturers is a major focus for the ACO, in partnership with the FIA. Furthermore, these two organisations have clearly set the course for the coming years: stay at the forefront of innovation while offering the best possible platform for new technologies in preparation for the cars of tomorrow.
“Hybrid technology and electric motors are already part of our daily lives in endurance racing. The changes to the technical regulations towards hydrogen-electric power responds straight away to the energy requirements of this new era.
“We salute the work carried out by the Audi Sport and Team Joest teams who have done a remarkable job, and a particular thought goes to my friend Wolfgang Ullrich.

One door closes and, at the same time, another one opens with the already-announced arrival of other manufacturers.
For all fans of endurance racing and motorsport enthusiasts, see you next week in Shanghai for the penultimate round of the FIA ​​WEC and in 2017 for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”

Gérard Neveu, CEO of the FIA World Endurance Championship:
“We understand this decision, although obviously we regret the departure of a major player in the WEC.  Audi has been involved in endurance racing for 15 years, and more particularly in the first five seasons of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

 “Today we spare a thought first for everyone at Audi Sport and at Team Joest.  Drivers, engineers, mechanics and team members for whom this news is painful. We offer them our admiration and gratitude for their extraordinary sporting performances in the WEC since 2012.

“The WEC is made up of a grid of 32 cars, 20 teams, with four categories and six manufacturers entered.  In a week’s time, in Shanghai, Porsche and Toyota will be battling on track for the 2016 LMP1 world title, as Ferrari and Aston Martin will be for the GTE title.
“One manufacturer is leaving, others will soon be arriving.  This is the life of a championship.”