Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing, talks about the Audi R8 LMS and the goals for the 2020 season.
The new evolution of the Audi R8 LMS was an instant success in 2019. Looking back, how do you assess its debut season?
The competition in GT3 racing continues to be as high as ever. Twelve brands have homologated GT3 sports cars and a large number of these models meet with each other in most of the series. That our customers prevailed in stand-alone races as well as in major championships or were among the leading teams validates the direction of our development. We deliberately did not present an extremely extensive evolution in order to keep within reasonable economic bounds. In a sporting sense, we see ourselves validated as well, because the Balance of Performance levels the diverse technical concepts in the field and we are fully competitive. The direct feedback from our customers underlines the fact that our product meets their wishes and is very popular.
What potential does the GT3 category have worldwide in the 2020 season?
We’re enjoying very high stability in many markets around the globe. Some of the world’s most prestigious and major auto races are focused on the GT3 category and GT3 is firmly anchored on national and regional levels as well. In 2020, Audi Sport customer racing is again on the grid in all the key regions of the world at stand-alone events and permanently in championships. The Audi R8 LMS in the GT3 version remains the central pillar in our program.
What sporting goals have you set yourself for 2020?
Valuable competitions are again part of our strategic program. In the Intercontinental GT Challenge, which has existed since 2016, after a total of five title successes, we are, for the first time, no longer the hunted but, in the drivers’ and manufacturers’ classifications, the hunters. Obviously, it’s our goal to be in contention when it comes to awarding the title. Following our fifth victory in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we’ve remained the most successful manufacturer there since 2009 when we were on the grid with the R8 LMS for the first time. We’d like to continue this string of success. And on a worldwide scale, we’re now supporting our customers in their programs with twelve Audi Sport drivers.