Even before the new Audi R8 had hit showrooms, the R8 LMS GT3 race car was winning races. A win first time out in the gruelling Nurburgring 24 Hours and a double podium in the Spa 24 Hours is a stellar start to a career.
Of course, the outgoing GT3-spec R8 is one of the most successful cars in the category, so you’d expect the new car to be good. Audi has built 135 examples of the old car since it was launched in 2009 and will be hoping that every one of those customers stumps up for the new car.
So far the new Audi R8 LMS has only been run by Audi Sport’s official partner teams, but is now ramping up full-scale production of customer cars. Chassis are produced on the same production line as the road car; indeed around 50 per cent of components are shared. But much of the suspension, brakes, electrics and bodywork is bespoke.
Power comes from a race-tuned version of the 5.2-litre V10 engine producing up to 585bhp, depending on the regulations of the series the car is running in. The FIA’s Balance of Performance rules limits power to around 500bhp, whereas the German VLN series allows GT3 cars to run more-or-less unrestricted, for instance.
45 cars are scheduled for production before the start of the 2016 season; similar numbers will probably be built every year for as long as the demand is there. Prices are in same ballpark as any other GT3 car, starting at €359,000 (£260,000) plus taxes. Nearly new Porsche 911 GT3 RSs are going for more than that at the moment…
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By Only Motors