Audi Customer Sport have, as predicted here back in October 2016, launched a GT4 version of the Audi R8 at the New York International Auto Show ahead of a race debut next month in the Nurburgring 24 Hours.
The new Audi R8 LMS GT4 joins Audi Sport GmbH’s customer racing range which has included three different versions of the GT3 version of the same platform since 2009. The TCR spec RS 3 LMS (below) was added last year and is already a smash hit with 90 reportedly already sold.
The new R8 GT4 is directly derived from the roadgoing Audi R8 Coupé V10 and is designed for the FIA GT4 class, with roots in Europe, but now seeing rapid expansion in North America, Asia and Australia too.
“13 racing series in which GT4 models can compete worldwide already exist today worldwide,” says 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 race cars 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 Coupé and is produced at the Böllinger Höfe site as well.
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, the team of Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing, will be preparing the production of the race car. 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.
Chris Reinke has been Head of Audi Sport customer racing since 2016 and sees major growth potential in the GT4 category.
Just shortly following the R8 LMS (2015) and the RS 3 LMS (2016), Audi Sport GmbH is presenting the R8 LMS GT4 in April 2017. What are your expectations of the new model?
Since 2009, we have delivered more than 200 units of the R8 LMS and are ranking among the leading brands in the global GT3 market that keeps growing. The Audi RS 3 LMS we’ve been offering since November 2016 has been meeting with tremendous response by customers in TCR touring car racing. The new Audi R8 LMS GT4 perfectly fills the gap in between, as GT4 racing is the ideal stage for gentlemen and amateurs that would like to race sports cars but find GT3 racing to be too complex.
The Audi R8 LMS GT4 is a production-based sports car. What does that mean?
First of all, the regulations do not permit any major variations from the production standard. As a result, it’s particularly beneficial for a model to have the qualities that the Audi R8 V10 already brings to the track from the factory.
This powerful and balanced base makes it possible for us to manufacture the production and the race cars at the same facilities. Accounting for more than 60 percent, the number of shared components is even higher than those between the GT3 model and the production sports car, about half of which are identical.
By the way, the GT4 sports car also benefits from the experiences we’ve been gaining with the Audi R8 LMS across two generations. In aspects of safety, we’ve adopted the standard.
Are there any other synergies?
The Audi R8 LMS GT4 perfectly fits our customer sports kit – in terms of technology and logistics. In addition to the close linking with production, we even use the same parts as in the GT3 race car. For support and logistics we utilize the same network as the global GT3 program.
The GT4 market is seeing rapid development in the important regions of North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, with highly attractive business potential for us. The numerous synergistic effects are positive for the customers as well because the economic aspects of the race car are very attractive – both in terms of purchasing cost and cost of ownership.
Technical Data Audi R8 LMS GT4 (2017)
Model: Audi R8 LMS GT4 (2017)
Engine: 90° V 10 gasoline engine with combined multi-point and gasoline direct injection, 4 valves per cylinder, four double overhead camshafts, longitudinally mounted in front of the rear axle
Engine management – 2 x Bosch MED 17 (master-slave concept)
Cubic capacity – 5,200 cc
7-speed double-clutch S tronic transmission with paddle shifters
Constant-velocity joint shafts
Steering – Electrohydraulic rack-and pinion steering, height and length adjustable steering wheel
Brakes – Hydraulic dual-circuit braking system, steel brake discs front (380 x 34 mm) and rear (365 x 32 mm)
Tyres: Front: 305/645 R18; rear: 325/705 R18
Length/width/height – 4,467 mm/1,940 or 2,037 mm **/1.240 mm – ** like Audi R8 Coupé: without/with side view mirrors
Dry weight/minimum weight – 1,460 kg + X * depending on BOP (SRO Balance of Performance)
0-100 km/h – under 4 seconds
Top speed – Over 250 km/h *
Power output – Up to 364 kW (495 HP) *
Torque – Over 550 Nm depending on BOP (SRO Balance of Performance)
Fire extinguishing system – Lifeline acc. to FIA Standard 8865-2015Refueling system – Rapid refueling system for racing acc. to GT4 or VLN regulations
Chassis Audi Space Frame (ASF) featuring an aluminum-CFRP-composite design with weld-in and bolted steel safety cell,
Emission control system – Upstream oxygen sensor, metal catalytic converters
Engine lubrication – Dry sump
Clutch – Two electrohydraulically operated wet-type multi-plate clutches
Differential – Mechanical limited-slip differential
Suspension – Double wishbones front and rear, 2-way gas pressure dampers, ride height, toe, camber and stabilizers adjustable
Wheels – 5-hole cast aluminum wheels front: 11” x 18” ET 63; rear: 12” x 18” ET 56
Wheelbase – 2,650 mm
Fuel cell capacity – 118 l (FT3 safety fuel cell)
Seat system – Audi Sport customer racing Protection Seat PS3 acc. to FIA Standard 8862-2009
Electrical system – Production level, modified for motorsport purposes