High-level motorsport competition has always been at the core of Audi’s DNA, with the Ingolstadt outfit boasting an enormous slew of race wins across a host of elite series. Despite the Four Rings company currently standing as the second-most successful marque at Le Mans — with more than a dozen wins — Audi recently announced that it would be pulling the plug on its LMDh program. And while this at first came as a surprise, the German firm has now revealed that it will be refocusing its race efforts on the premier class of automotive motorsport, readying itself for a Formula 1 debut in the 2026 season.
Though Audi has been extremely tightlipped on specs and details — due to the fact the car’s development is still in the early stages — the company has revealed images of its forthcoming F1 racer. Shown in Audi’s signature red and black “Launch Livery,” this prototype race car is constructed around the latest generation of Formula 1 car, and as such features a halo device and a state-of-the-art aero kit with multi-plane front and rear wings. Audi has also treated the car to a set of its signature aero disc wheel covers.
Developed at the Audi Sport facility in Neuburg, the F1 racer will be powered by an all-new hybrid powertrain that features a wildly-potent turbocharged 1.6-liter gas engine paired with a 400-kW (544-hp) electric motor.
Audi hasn’t revealed specifics, though the company has stated that its F1 car will run off of an advanced and more sustainable race fuel — at least compared to the fuel powering the current crop of Formula 1 cars. Additionally, this also marks the first time in more than 10 years that an F1 powertrain will be made in Germany.
Also currently developing its RS-Q e-tron Dakar racer for use in next year’s rally, Audi Sport GmbH will line up on the F1 grid for its inaugural season in 2026. The company has also stated that it will announce which team it will be partnering with for its F1 efforts by the end of 2022 — by which time we anticipate more details on the company’s all-new Formula 1 car to be revealed.