Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing, explains the background of the Audi R8 LMS evolution in an interview.
Why is Audi Sport customer racing offering a new evolution of the Audi R8 LMS in the GT3 version?
Together with our customers we’ve been showing a strong track record since 2015, but even a good concept can be improved some more. Rather than the professional drivers our customers clearly took center stage in this context.
In what respects is the second evolution better than the first version?
The car can be driven more consistently in many respects, which is particularly beneficial for amateur drivers. We received this feedback during tests and it has been confirmed in the first races. We’ve designed the car’s aerodynamics so that handling performance remains very clear in a wider range. Our modifications that are conducive to achieving more consistent tire temperatures contribute their share to this as well. Plus, durability of the power transmission systems is now even better than before. This increases reliability, extends maintenance intervals and, as a result, saves the customer costs.
Audi Sport’s modifications are moderate compared with those of some other manufacturers who opt for more extensive evolution packages. Why?
For us, there was a technical and an economic reason. We focused on those areas that make a difference for the customer. Faster lap times were not the objective. The balance of performance rules level differences between the various race cars from more than a dozen manufacturers through specific interventions anyway. And, financially, our approach does not require high expenditures to be made either by new or existing customers who have to upgrade their cars for FIA-regulated series. This goes down really well.
What prospects do you see for the GT3 category?
There used to be a phase of apparent market saturation at a high level. However, we’re clearly seeing continuing interest. The number of series admitting these models is still growing – for instance in Asia. Also, new manufacturers keep entering the market while established ones present new evolutions. GT3 racing for the mid-term will arguably remain the most important pillar in the worldwide customer racing business.