The company clearly sees its success at Le Mans as a vital part of the brand's character over the past couple decades.
An old saying goes “you can’t go home again,” but Audi is taking one last drive past Le Mans in a melancholy new commercial. Set to a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s "Homeward Bound," the spot is a gloomy farewell to the firm’s highly successful endurance racing program.
In the commercial, Audis from all over the world converge on the famous track. Their navigation systems are set for Home, which happens to be Le Mans. The spot is a sad reminder that the Four Rings is done competing there for the foreseeable future.
Audi officially announced in late October that it would leave the top level of endurance racing after 18 years. In the weeks prior to the official withdrawal, rumours suggested the company wanted to leave the sport because of the high development cost and a shifting focus from diesel power to electricity for road cars.
Audi will still be involved in motorsports, though. The DTM program will continue, and the company will put a greater focus on racing in Formula E. It will also possibly continue competing in World Rallycross.
Audi started prototype racing in 1999, and the R8 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time in 2000. The company was known for being highly innovative on the track, including proving the power of diesel vehicles for racing.
The firm’s decision comes at the same time Volkswagen also steps back from motorsports. The automaker recently announced its departure from the World Rally Championship at the end of the season. The company had been quite successful in the series and scored four consecutive manufacturers' and drivers' titles since 2013. VW also cited the greater importance of electrification as the official reason for leaving. However, the huge costs of VW Group’s emissions scandal might have played a role in these decisions, too.