This coming weekend there will be the sixth of eight FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) races. It will be held at the Shanghai International Circuit.
Which is notable for those who are interested in the series, which pits builders Toyota (which is presently in first place in the Manufacturer category with 183 points), Audi (175) and Porsche (109) against each other with their LMP1-H hybrid vehicles.
However, people sometimes wonder why companies spend millions on racing programs.
And in its news release about the Shanghai race, Audi spells it out rather plainly:
“The track is regarded as very challenging, the team achieved victory there last year, and the ‘Middle Kingdom’ has evolved into the largest sales market for AUDI AG. In China, the company delivered 415,704 automobiles between January and September – 16 percent more than a year ago. Audi operates production sites in the cities of Changchun and Foshan.”
To amplify that a little: at the Beijing Auto Show in April, Rupert Stadler, chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, said: “We are extending our production capacities in Changchun and Foshan up to 700.000 automobiles per year with Foshan being home to the promising Audi A3 Sedan.”
They sell a lot of cars in China. They are building a lot of cars in China.
To amplify that a lot: Stadler also said, “In fact, China has become our second home.”
That’s why Audi is racing in China.
Incidentally: the A3 Sedan that is available in the U.S. market isn’t being built in Foshan, but in Györ, Hungary, where Audi has been building the TT Coupé and Roadster as well as the A3 Cabriolet for a number of years.
(And in case you’re wondering: there is no WEC race in Budapest.)