Audi and Porsche have scaled down their Le Mans 24 Hour racing programmes as a consequence of cost-cutting associated with the VW Group emissions scandal - and as a result British race winner Nick Tandy will not be able to defend his crown with Porsche.
The decision was revealed prior to an Audi event, where its next generation R18 e-tron quattro racer was unveiled (pictured).
A statement read: "In the interest of maximum cost efficiency, Audi and its group sister brand, Porsche, have agreed to each compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours - the WEC season's pinnacle event - with only two instead of the most recent three cars."
The 2016 Audi R18 e-tron quattro will compete in the LMP1 category, but now takes advantage of the World Endurance Championship’s (WEC) innovative hybrid rules to compete in the six megajoule hybrid sub-class. In 2015, it competed in the four megajoule category.
As a result, the diesel-powered R18 will no longer use a flywheel energy storage system and mechanical battery set-up. Instead it will have a front-axle kinetic energy-retrieval system and lithium-ion battery arrangement. Petrol-powered rivals Porsche and Toyota will both race in the eight megajoule category.