#dieselgate can kill WEC

"Looks like sayonara."

“Looks like sayonara.”

Today was a bad day for Toyota’s World Endurance Championship team. With Mount Fuji as the backdrop and Japan watching, Toyota was soundly trounced by Porsche and Audi. To make the loss of face complete, Porsche headlined in its press release “Porsche hybrid technology also dominates in Japan.” The team at Toyota hopes such a shameful day will never repeat, and it may have its wish fulfilled: Porsche and Audi are said to be pulled out of racing.

According to press reports in Germany, Porsche’s and Audi’s WEC team are leading a target list of Volkswagen planners in search of money. “Volkswagen pays more than a billion Euro annually for motor sport,” writes Bild am Sonntag today. According to the paper, the biggest chunk goes to WEC. The Porsche team costs 400 million Euro per year, writes the paper, the Audi team costs another 300 million. By pulling both out of WEC, nearly a billion dollars could be saved with one stroke of the pen. If Volkswagen pulls out of WEC, Toyota probably will do the same, which will be the end of it.

Ever since the dieselgate scandal broke, Volkswagen’s hallway radio was convinced that Volkswagen’s sports sponsorship will be the first victim. The scandal will burn large holes into Volkswagen’s pockets. Saving always starts with the non-essential stuff, and motorsports usually is first to go.

Soccer most likely is next. Volkswagen is by far the biggest soccer sponsor in Germany. A 15 million Euro contract with the German Soccer Association DFB is waiting for signature, “but nobody in Wolfsburg dares to sign,” writes BamS.

When asked to comment, Volkswagen maintains cover and says nothing. They only deny that the company will withdraw from the Dakar Rallye, simply because VW has already done so years ago.