Hot off the heels of Audi’s withdrawal from the World Endurance Championship (WEC), Volkswagen just announced its intent to close its largely dominant World Rally Championship (WRC) team. While Volkswagen has remained publicly tight-lipped, Autocar believes the departure is a cost-cutting measure following the diesel emissions scandal of last year.
According to the report, VW will not release the 200 employees in its motorsports division, instead shifting the team to focus development and support for other programs, namely the VW Golf TCR.
Given the resounding success VW found in WRC, this exit is likely to devastate the team and fans alike. VW racked-up a string of four driver championships from 2013 to 2016; not including a potential win at the Australian rally later this year, VW ends its WRC career with 41 victories under its belt.
No official statement has been released yet, but Autocar confirmed the withdrawal with VW. “The priority is to advise our employees of the plans first,” a senior source revealed to Autocar. “We will then make the decision to pull out of the WRC public. Until then, there will be nothing official.”