Gets the R16 treatment
Not satisfied with the stunning performance of Audi’s first supercar, the mid-engined R8?
Then take a look at the newly-developed GT3 version of the V8-engined coupe, which takes a leaf out of Porsche’s book in presenting a stripped-down, ultra-performance derivative of a road car.
In Porsche’s case, it’s the ultra-successful GT3 derivative of the 911.
Audi works racing driver Frank Biela gave the new, wildly bewinged and bespoilered R8 GT3 its first public shakedown run.
Admittedly, the car is intended for the racetrack, with an indicated 500bhp-plus from its V8 motor.
The German outfit’s PR spiel says that for the first time, Audi Sport will offer a racing sports car specifically developed for customer use.
It says the GT3 will be available from the northern hemisphere autumn of 2009.
Between now and then it’s setting up the logistics and building the factory space required for the Audi GT3 customer programme in its plants at Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm in Germany and Gyor in Hungary.
“The R8 is the first production Audi bearing the name and genes of a successful racing sports car and is therefore an excellent base from which to build up our first big customer sport programme,” says Audi Motorsport boss, Dr Wolfgang Ullrich.
The R8 coupe took its name from the multi-Le Mans 24 Hours-winning R8 roadster sports racing car.
“Ever since the R8 road car was unveiled we’ve been inundated with inquiries about a race version,” Ullrich says.
“With the Audi R8 GT3 we will offer customers a racing sports car equipped with high-calibre technology and the typical Audi qualities, but which is nevertheless easy to handle.”
The Audi R8 conforms to the production-based GT3 regulations allowing the car to be fielded in numerous national and international race series.
Because the GT3 regulations prohibit the use of four-wheel drive, the Audi R8 is rear-wheel drive.
The V8’s power is transmitted via a newly developed six-speed sequential sports gearbox.
The suspension almost exclusively uses components from the production line.
A comprehensive list of safety equipment guarantees the highest-level of passive safety.
A modified front end and a large rear-wing generate the downforce required for racetrack use.
The R8 GT3 bears the project name R16 within Audi Sport, which designed and developed it.
The prototype version of the new car is expected to contest its first test races in various European racing series in 2009. Delivery to the customers is planned from that autumn.
The customer cars will be made jointly by Audi Sport and quattro GmbH, along with the company’s Hungarian division.
The quattro division also builds the road-going Audi R8.