World Endurance Championship: Audi to pull out to concentrate on Formula E

Audi's team who finished third in Le Mans in 2016
Audi have finished third in the last two Le Mans 24 Hours races, both won by Porsche

Audi will not race in next season's World Endurance Championship, which includes the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours race, to concentrate on Formula E.

The German-based team, which won Le Mans 13 times between 2000 and 2014, finished third in 2015 and 2016, with both races won by Porsche.

Formula E, the world's first electric racing series, only started in 2014.

Audi chairman Rupert Stadler said: "We're going to contest the race for the future on electric power."

Ten teams - including Renault, Audi and Jaguar - currently take part in the Formula E series, with two new entries to be allocated for 2018-19 subject to the approval of the International Automobile Federation (FIA).

Formula 1 champions Mercedes are considering taking an option to join.

"As our production cars are becoming increasingly electric, our motorsport cars, as Audi's technological spearheads, have to be even more so," Stadler added.

Pierre Fillon, president of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, which organises the Le Mans race, said: "It was with emotion that we all learned this morning about Audi's decision to withdraw from endurance racing.

"Although prepared for this, we regret the departure of a major figure in endurance racing for a different adventure."