Why I'm So Tired Of The Annual Rumor That Audi Is Quitting Le Mans

Photo credit: Ker Robertson/Getty Images
Photo credit: Ker Robertson/Getty Images

Audi Sport Team Joest is the team whose rumors cried wolf. For the past few years, rumors about the Audi Le Mans prototype team withdrawing from the World Endurance Championship inevitably appear as the season winds down. Groan. At this point, I won’t believe it until I hear it straight out of Audi spokes-Scot Allan McNish’s very own mouth.

Last year, the pervasive rumor was that the Audi LMP1 team would be discontinued so that Audi could go into Formula One instead, which didn’t happen. In 2014, some were certain Audi would pull out of the WEC to give Porsche the spotlight and so Audi could go make its name in F1. Nope! And oh, let’s not forget the folks who assumed Audi might drop out as soon as Porsche entered with their own LMP1. Hahahahaha.

I would continue digging up rumors, hearsay and forum nonsense that never panned out, but it’s past time to fry this dead, beaten horse into pony-schnitzel.


Admittedly, part of my weariness with this same ol’ rumor is that I don’t want it to be true. I got interested in sportscar racing around the same time as the delightful Jason Statham-narrated Audi racing documentary Truth in 24 hit TV screens. Audi was my team, and still largely is now even though I’ve come to terms with the fact that all three contenders in LMP1 are pretty awesome. They have been a constant presence as long as I’ve followed motorsports. Racing endurance prototypes is what they do.

If Audi withdraws from the WEC’s top LMP1 class, we’re probably back to two teams running only four cars there: Porsche and Toyota. BMW still hasn’t ruled out a 2018 entry, but supposedly cringed when they saw the price tag of building a competitive car.

Peugeot also keeps coming up as a possible LMP1 contender ever since they withdrew from LMP1 in 2012. However, Carlos Tavares, the chairman of Peugeot’s parent company Groupe PSA, also says that high costs are preventing Peugeot from building a new LMP1, per Sportscar365.

Regardless, Audi’s so-called impending withdrawal from the top class of sports-car racing is like the new mid-engined Corvette. You can print all the rumors, unearth Some Guy to kludge together a rendering, and show me all the ultra-exclusive spy photos in the world, but at this point, I’m tired of just hearing about it. I’m really not going to believe it exists until I can physically lick a new Corvette that has an engine in the middle with my very own tongue. It will probably taste gross, but I’ll do it just to be sure.


With the bill for Dieselgate’s sins against humanity growing all the time, Audi canning its most famous rolling advertisement for diesel technology is more plausible than ever.

Still, show me the [lack of] car. Or don’t. But at least give me more proof than “a nameless insider said” or “Dieselgate, guys, Dieselgate!”

Moderator, OppositeLock. Former Staff Writer, Jalopnik. 1984 "Porschelump" 944 race car, 1971 Volkswagen 411 race car, 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS.

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I hope its true, It would be great if they pulled out and VW ran out funding and pulled Porsche, then maybe WEC would have to make a LMP1 pro class that didn’t require hybrid so manufacturers would want to participate. Look at the growth in GTE thats started and continues through 2018, proves the manufacturers want to be in WEC, but don’t see the Hybrid cost being worth the rewards, if the Hybrid requirement were removed, I think you’d see some real growth. As is, I’m afraid the prototypes are going to never be much, with WEC trying to kill LMP2 with spec engines and chassis to hurt IMSA, I think you’ll see GTE flourish at the expense of the prototype class.