Audi expands its offerings for customer racers with the introduction of the new R8 LMS GT4 just before the New York Auto Show. The track-only coupe will make its competition debut at this year’s 24-hour race Nürburgring from May 25 to 28.
The R8 GT4 offers interested drivers a factory-fresh race car. Audi Sport builds them on the same line as the street version, and they share 60 percent of the same components road model, including the 5.2-liter V10. Due to the competition homologation under GT4 rules, the mill produces 488 horsepower (364 kilowatts) in this specification instead of 540 hp (403 kW) from the standard supercar.
The new racer looks a lot like the street version but with some competition-spec upgrades. There's now a revised hood and dive planes at the front corners. A hatch in the roof allows the driver to get out in case of a crash. A large, oval exhaust now exits in place of the rear bumper. A large wing towers over the back of the coupe, too.
Teams can’t try out the R8 GT4 on their favorite circuit quite yet, though. Audi plans to develop the car on the track throughout the 2017 racing season. The company plans to deliver the first of them to buyers before the end of the calendar year.
The R8 GT4 expands on Audi’s existing race offerings such as the quite popular R8 LMS GT3 that competes in series like the GTD class of the Weathertech Sportscar Championship. The firm also introduced the RS3 LMS for competition in various events’ TCR class.
GT4-spec race cars are quite similar to their road-going counterparts, and many automakers are offering them to track-loving drivers. The R8 joins vehicles like the Mercedes-AMG GT, Chevrolet Camaro, Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport, Ford Mustang, and BMW M4 among the choices available to amateur racers looking for a thrill.
Gallery: Audi R8 LMS GT4
New Audi R8 LMS GT4: Audi Sport customer racing headed for growth
World premiere of the Audi R8 LMS GT4 in New York
New racecar fills gap between TCR and GT3
Close connection to road-going Audi R8 Coupe V10
Ingolstadt/New York, April 11, 2017 – Audi Sport GmbH premiered the GT4 version of its R8 LMS racecar on the eve of the New York International Auto Show. It’s the newest addition to the Audi Sport customer racing program. Audi has offered the Audi R8 LMS GT3 racecar since 2009, followed by the second generation of this success model in 2015, and the RS 3 LMS for the TCR category in 2016.
The Audi R8 LMS GT4 stands for production-based racing. Directly derived from the road-approved Audi R8 Coupe V10, the GT4 is powerful and offers a high level of safety. At the same time, it is an affordable choice in terms of purchasing price and cost of ownership. It is the ideal racecar for amateur campaigners, in line with the spirit of the GT4 regulations that continue a great sports car tradition, as fascinating road-going sports cars were a popular base in GT racing around the world more than half a century ago.
In racing, the audience will be able to see the production-based Audi R8 LMS GT4 for the first time in the Nürburgring 24 Hours from May 25 to 28. With that, the brand fills another growth category in international motorsport. The GT4 class, which originated in Europe, will be intensively marketed on an international scale starting in 2017, with fielding opportunities in North America, Asia, Australia and Europe.
“Thirteen racing series in which GT4 models can compete worldwide already exist today worldwide,” said Stephan Winkelmann, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “Audi Sport GmbH is one of the leading manufacturers offering cars in the GT3 and TCR customer sport categories. Now we’re targeting the GT4 class at exactly the right time. These fast-growing business segments and the DNA shared by our racecars and production vehicles underscore our ambition to become a true global player in the high-performance league.”
The Audi R8 LMS GT4 shares more than 60 percent of its assembly components with the road-approved Audi R8 Coupe and is produced at the Böllinger Höfe site as well. Customers of the new racecar benefit from these synergies in terms of purchasing price and cost of ownership.
Audi Sport is developing the GT4 model, which delivers up to 364 kW (495 HP) depending on its rating, during the course of the 2017 season before a final homologation level has been achieved and approval for racing is requested. During the second half of the year, Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing, and his team will be preparing the production of the racecar. Consequently, the first customers will be able to receive the new Audi R8 LMS GT4 before the end of the year.
Around the globe, Audi Sport draws on an extensive network of service, spare parts logistics and professional support for the R8 LMS GT4. Audi Sport customer racing has established this infrastructure for the GT3 project on four continents and, like for the RS 3 LMS, uses this proven network for the GT4 model range as well.
Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. The Audi Group is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. In 2016, AUDI AG delivered about 1.871 million Audi automobiles and broke all-time company sales records for the seventh straight year in the U.S. Visit audiusa.com or media.audiusa.com for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.