By on December 2, 2020

Do you ever get the feeling that everything even remotely fun and interesting is being thrown on the pyre of progress so we can collectively live safer, duller lives? Case in point, Volkswagen is dismantling its racing operations so the 169 people it employed can be reincorporated. Responsible for the all-electric Volkswagen ID.R racer that showcased some of the performance advantages of EVs to attentive audiences around the globe, the team will now be responsible for building ID models intended for mass consumption.

While we’re sure spreading their engineering prowess around will benefit VW’s core brand, it’s unfortunate that it came at the expense of the brand’s motorsport activities — modest as they might have been in 2020.

Volkswagen issued a release on Tuesday, saying it was “pooling strength for the electric offensive.” Though this seemed to be a metaphor for sales, rather than winning races. Those days appear to be over for the foreseeable future.

“For decades, the Volkswagen Motorsport GmbH team brought the brand a string of major sporting successes. My warmest thanks go to all employees for so many victories, titles and records throughout the world and for their personal dedication and commitment,” Wilfried von Rath, Member of the Board of Management with responsibility for Human Resources, said in a prepared statement. “We are delighted that we are able to preserve jobs, especially in these challenging times, and will be offering all employees a transfer contract.”

This leaves Porsche and Audi to proves Volkswagen Group’s mightiness at the track. But even they’ve been less inclined to go racing lately. Audi recently announced it would be withdrawing from Formula E and has been out of Le Mans for years. But this is allegedly part of a greater plan to have Audi prepare itself for wins in Dakar and Le Mans — which it is reportedly ready to take another whack at.

So then the reality is that the mainstream VW will just become blander more pedestrian? Does the company think that plebeian customers don’t have sporting aspirations? It’s getting hard to tell, frankly. Every time I’m required to speak with VW, its people exert tremendous amounts of energy to explain to me how to make my readers “appreciate the value” of electric vehicles. Our last interaction involved an hour-long seminar about how spending more on an ID.4 actually means saving more money in the long run. This was based on general assumptions we could all make about electric cars and proprietary data VW essentially invented for its own argument. True or not, the endless ticker tape parade the industry is throwing for EVs and the concept of “mobility” is getting tiresome.

“The Volkswagen brand is on the way to becoming the leading provider for sustainable e-mobility. To this end, we are pooling our strengths and have decided to terminate the Volkswagen brand’s own motorsport activities. The motorsport workforce will be integrated in Volkswagen AG. 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,” said Dr. Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management and responsible for VW’s Development Division.

[Image: nrqemi/Shutterstock]

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