Audi has announced that it is extending its Formula E partnership with Team ABT Schaeffler and plans to enter as a factory entity in the all-electric championship in 2017/18, the fourth season of the series.

The move comes after ABT completed two seasons in the FIA Formula E Championship, narrowly missing out on titles in both seasons.

The team has had an involvement on a technical basis with Audi to some extent in seasons one and two, but the latest move sees a more long-term factory approach from the German giant.

Team ABT Schaeffler will benefit from financial and technical input from Audi AG immediately, ahead of a further step in season four before an anticipated fully-fledged factory commitment.

“Electric mobility is one of the key topics in our industry,” says Dr. Stefan Knirsch, Member of the Board of Management, Technical Development, AUDI AG. “We intend to evolve into one of the leading premium car manufacturers in this field.

“By 2025, every fourth Audi should be an electric vehicle. The first model for this is planned to be an SUV we’re going to present in 2018. In the light of these plans, adapting our motorsport programme and taking up a commitment in a fully electric racing series is only a logical move.”

Audi aims to emulate Le Mans success

Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich stated that Audi is aiming to mirror the success it has achieved in other areas of motorsport.

He added: “Audi has consistently been using motorsport to test and develop new technologies further for subsequent use in production.

“With quattro drive we revolutionised rally racing and subsequently set standards in circuit racing as well. In the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi was the first manufacturer to have achieved victories with a TFSI engine, a TDI and a hybrid race car, so writing motorsport history on several occasions.

“Now we intend to repeat this in fully electric racing. Formula E with its races being held in the hearts of major cities is an ideal stage for this purpose and Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport a logical partner for us.”