The motorsports world was shocked when Audi’s announcement came out. The announcement being? They were leaving the WEC, or World Endurance Championship, after almost two grand decades of amazing successes. About the decision to end their campaign and leave the Championship, Audi’s motorsport boss, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich had this to say:
“After 18 years in prototype racing that were exceptionally successful for Audi, it’s obviously extremely hard to leave. Audi Sport Team Joest shaped the WEC during this period like no other team.”
Audi’s achievements in this event, and the events within the WEC, really were like no other. We can take a quick look at just how well they did in their 18-year run, and summarize it for you to look at and revel in.
Audi’s Achievements Throughout the WEC
In 1999, Audi came into partnership with Joest Racing. This partnership would prove to be impeccable throughout the manufacturer’s career in this prototype racing. In fact, so valuable the partnership was that the trio that raced for the Audi Sport Team Joest became the most successful driver combination to ever enter the WEC. This came about from their successes in later years. In 2012, the trio were the world champions. They were the runners-up for the next three years as well, 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Over the course of the 18 years, Audi has never finished outside of the podium spots in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. They also won 13 out of the 18 24 Hours of Le Mans races that they had competed in. On top of this, Audi had 106 wins and 80 podium positions from 185 starts in the World Endurance Championship. How incredible of a performance is that? And in 2002, Audi and Joest Racing had become the very first team to win the Le Mans for three consecutive seasons while using the same three drivers.
In 2006, the team made history once again. They won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race that year using a diesel-powered vehicle — the R10 TDI, to be exact. This was the first time that had ever happened. That same car helped them win the 2006 12 Hours of Sebring race. And still in 2006, the team won the Manufacturers’ Championship at the American Le Mans Series.
Starting in 2007, the R10 TDI came out on top for two years in a row. Both times the car had helped win the 24 Hours of Le Mans race for the team.
This is not even everything. The Audi Sports Team Joest completed so much more in their 18-year career in the World Endurance Championships. It’s going to be a sore spot for the motorsports world that they are leaving after the 2016 season. Will another team ever be able to accomplish what the Audi Sports Team Joest was able to do in less than two decades? Only time will tell.