Last week, Audi announced it was ending its 18-year endurance racing program at the conclusion of the 2016 WEC season. This was likely a result of VW's expensive diesel-emissions scandal, which has forced cost-cutting all across the VW Group along with increased R&D spending on electric cars. Now, its rally team could follow suit.
Updated 11/1/16 to reflect new information reported by Autocar.
that VW made the decision to cancel its WRC program at a board meeting Tuesday, with an official announcement expected to follow shortly. VW's potential exit Monday, following the team clinching its fourth consecutive WRC.
"The news of Audi, of course I haven't been involved," VW WRC boss Sven Smeets told Autosport. "I also got the news like everybody else–I don't know what is happening in Audi."
"I don't want to talk about these rumors or this speculation," Smeets added.
Per Autocar, VW will retain the 200 employees in its Motorsport division, and will shift its focus towards its GTI TCR race car and other racing programs within the VW Group. Apparently, VW already has its 2017 Polo WRC car ready to race, but sadly, it'll never see the light of day.
While the costs of VW's WRC program are significantly lower than Audi's LMP1 efforts, the company is in an incredibly tight position. As is the case with Audi, a VW exit from WRC isn't be surprising, but it's a shame.