Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn announced his resignation Wednesday, in the midst of an emissions scandal rocking the German company that could have implications on its motorsports involvement.
VW Group admitted that it installed software on more than 11 million diesel-powered production cars to trick emissions testing.
Winterkorn, a proponent of the manufacturer’s programs in the FIA World Endurance Championship, with both Audi and Porsche, as well various other championships and platforms, released the following statement:
“I am shocked by the events of the past few days. Above all, I am stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group.
“As CEO I accept responsibility for the irregularities that have been found in diesel engines and have therefore requested the Supervisory Board to agree on terminating my function as CEO of the Volkswagen Group.
“I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrong doing on my part.
“Volkswagen needs a fresh start — also in terms of personnel. I am clearing the way for this fresh start with my resignation.
“I have always been driven by my desire to serve this company, especially our customers and employees. Volkswagen has been, is and will always be my life.
“The process of clarification and transparency must continue. This is the only way to win back trust. I am convinced that the Volkswagen Group and its team will overcome this grave crisis.”
The scandal, which will cost VW Group more than $7 billion to address in recalls, as well as potentially up to a $18 billion fine from the EPA, could have ripple effects on its motorsports programs.
It could particularly impact Audi’s factory LMP1 involvement, as the German manufacturer utilizes and promotes clean-diesel technology, having claimed victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans eight out of the last ten years.
In addition to its factory WEC programs with Audi and Porsche, VW Group is also represented by largely customer-based GT3 efforts from multiple brands worldwide, as well as popular single-make championships.