Since 2009, Audi has firmly established itself in the growth market of international GT3 racing – on a sporting level, the brand is credited with 26 championship victories, and with 136 race cars delivered the program is a commercial success. At the Geneva Motor Show in March, Audi unveiled a fundamentally new R8 LMS, which sets new benchmarks in the aerodynamics, lightweight design and safety areas.
As one of the first automobile manufacturers, the brand with the four rings has been testing a new car since 2014. A car that already complies with the GT regulations for 2016. Audi Sport customer racing will put the R8 LMS through a rigorous test program: while testing and racing – including the classic 24-hour races around the Nürburgring and at Spa – the engineers develop the GT race car to ensure it is ready to hand over to customers. At the end of the year, quattro GmbH, which develops, builds and markets the model, will deliver the first cars to customer teams throughout the entire world.
“2015 is a pivotal year. The new race car will help us to further expand Audi’s market position in GT racing,” says Heinz Hollerweger, Managing Director of quattro GmbH. “We backed the right horse in good time six year ago. GT3 racing is booming worldwide, as many as eleven reputable manufacturers compete against one another in a single market, and there are a great many high-profile events. The R8 LMS contested more than 260 races last year alone. The programs of our importers and customers also boost our brand’s image in such regions, which Audi only rarely reaches with its big programs in the DTM and WEC.”
The Audi R8 LMS went chasing titles in 23 countries on four continents during the 2014 season. Audi drivers took overall honors in the ADAC GT Masters in Germany, the Blancpain Endurance Series and Blancpain GT Series – three of the most important series’ worldwide. Repeat victories in the 24-hour races around the Nürburgring and at Spa further underlined the reliability of the production-based race car. In addition to the overall victories, Audi drivers won an extra twelve class categories in international racing series’.
In 2015, the Audi R8 LMS is present again in all the big racing series’ around the globe. In North America, the teams field different versions of the race car in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship and the Pirelli World Challenge. In Europe, drivers race under the sign of the four rings in Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy and in the international series’ International GT Open and Blancpain GT Series.
In Asia, teams in Japan, Thailand and Taiwan rely on the powerful 560 hp race car. On top of this comes the Audi R8 LMS Cup, which races in China, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia and Japan. Audi also has a growing base of customer teams in the domestic Australian GT championship. In 2015, the Audi R8 LMS will demonstrate its competitiveness yet again in the 12-hour races at Bathurst (AUS), Sebring (USA) and Sepang (MAL), the ‘Petit Le Mans’ race (USA) and the 24-hour competitions at Daytona (USA), around the Nürburgring (D) and at Spa (B). In the two last-mentioned events in the Eifel and in the Ardennes, fans can look forward to a special treat: four new Audi R8 LMS face the challenges of the world’s two toughest GT3 races. At the end of the year, Audi customers can also look forward to the new model.