VW Brand Dissolves Racing Operation, Shifts Staff to Work on EVs

Volkswagen AG is terminating motorsport activities at its namesake car division and reassigning employees to work on its growing line of electric vehicles.

The Hanover, Germany-based unit employing 169 people will be folded into the parent company in the coming months, VW said in a statement Tuesday. The division already worked on a prototype electric race car called ID.R and will help develop the brand’s growing range of electric models.

“The deep technical expertise of the motorsport employees and the know-how gained from the ID.R project will remain with the company and will help us put further efficient models from the ID family on the road,” VW development chief Frank Welsch said in the statement.

The VW brand’s motorsport activities lacked the allure of more prominent efforts by Porsche and Audi, which included dominance of the Le Mans endurance sports-car race for more than a decade. But VW built a loyal fan base in rally sports, scoring three wins at the prestigious Dakar Rally, including the first-ever victory for a woman by Jutta Kleinschmidt in 2001.

VW launched the ID.R about two years ago. The car set records on the Pikes Peak mountain road in the U.S., the prestigious Nuerburgring track in Germany and at Tianmen Mountain in China.

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