After weeks of rampant speculation Audi have finally confirmed that they will be withdrawing from the WEC at the end of the 2016 season to instead focus fully on Formula E. Audi's CEO, Rupert Stadler, made the announcement to 300 employees of Audi's motorsport department on Wednesday morning, pinpointing the reasoning behind their withdrawal on the 'current burdens on the brand', as well as emphasizing the importance of focusing 'on the things that would keep Audi competitive in the years ahead.' Audi's greater commitment in Formula E has already begun this season as their cooperation with Team ABT intensified over the summer break, however Racedepartment understands that from 2017 onward Audi will begin to actively join in the technical development of the team. Audi's departure from the WEC certainly marks the end of one of the most successful eras in endurance racing history. Having returned to Le Mans 18 years ago Audi have won an remarkable thirteen 24 Heures du Le Mans in that time, as well as setting several records along the way, for example becoming the first hybrid powered entry to win Le Mans amongst others. Meanwhile, across the pond Audi won nine consecutive ALMS championships from 2000 to 2008 before the introduction of the WEC in 2012. Whilst the WEC has bitten the dust Audi's commitment to DTM remains unchanged, however their rather limited commitment to the World Rallycross Championship under the guise of EKS is still up in the air seemingly dependent on whether Rallycross also follows Formula E down the all electrical route. As of yet their is no word of where any of Audi's current LMP1 driver lineup will be heading next season, but with drivers such as Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer, and Loic Duval now seemingly surplus to requirements it will be fascinating to see if any of Audi's now former WEC rivals will take the plunge. Read more about the WEC and join the discussion in our World Endurance Championship sub forum here at RaceDepartment.