Not the GTO we were expecting, but the GTO we're delighted to see.
The Ferrari 250 GTO usually springs to mind whenever we hear the Gran Turismo Omologata suffix, but it’s been used throughout the years by other automakers. The Pontiac GTO is a prime example, as is the Mitsubishi GTO or the HSV GTO. If you’re an Audi fan, these three letters will bring back fond memories of the 90 Quattro IMSA GTO.
After the 2018 E-Tron Vision Gran Turismo inspired by the same race car developed for the IMSA Camel GT Championship, a new modern tribute is born. This time around, it’s been envisioned by the company’s apprentices in Neckarsulm under the guidance of March Lichte, Audi’s design boss. The project is part of the 40 years of Quattro celebrations, which also include an absurdly expensive TT RS 40 Years of Quattro special edition.
Gallery: Audi RS6 GTO concept
From the livery to the white wheel covers, the RS6 GTO stays true to its forbearer and boasts a side exhaust in the same vein as the 700-horsepower AWD race car did in 1989. Even the interior has been modified, with a full roll cage replacing the rear bench while the body-hugging front seats have a carbon fiber shell and a racing harness.
It’s unclear at this point whether the car exists in real life because these images look more like renderings. We’re hoping Audi is making a one-off to show how an already hugely desirable super wagon can be turned into something even more exciting.
The short-lived 90 Quattro IMSA GTO only raced in the 1989 season and used a 2.2-liter five-cylinder engine with a big KKK turbocharger generating a massive 531 pound-feet (720 Newton-meters) of torque. It had a six-speed manual gearbox and jumped to 62 mph (100 km/h) in about 3.1 seconds before topping out at approximately 193 mph (310 km/h).
The car was still being developed when the 1989 IMSA season started, so Audi missed the first Daytona and Sebring races. It went on to win seven of the 13 races, but that wasn’t enough to claim the title as Roush Racing won that year.