Chris Reinke has been Head of Audi Sport customer racing since 2016. Right in its 2018 debut season, the Audi R8 LMS GT4 exceeded expectations worldwide.
The Audi R8 LMS GT4 had an awesome 2018 debut season. What surprised you most?
The GT4 class with 15 manufacturers worldwide is one of the series featuring the greatest diversity of marques. In America just like in Europe, our customer teams competed in fields with 30 to 50 entrants in 2018. In spite of this high competitive pressure, our customers instantly won four titles in North America and six in Europe. That was more than we were able to expect of our customers.
Economically, the GT4 project was off to a promising start as well. What do your plans look like?
Audi Sport customer racing was by far not the first manufacturer in this field, so the market was already saturated to some extent. Even so, we built more than 80 cars for the whole world in year one. The western markets developed really well. In Asia and Australia, we’re still seeing potential.
The number of manufacturers is large. What reasons speak in favor of the Audi R8 LMS GT4?
The basic concept, safety, reliability and our support. The regulations bind the race car closely to the concept of the production model. The better the road-going sports car the better the race car. Even the basic concept design of the chassis, powertrain and body of our sports car are optimally suited for racing. Components that can be retrofitted such as the Audi Sport Performance Parts enhance aerodynamics. In our case, the road-approved model and the race car share 60 percent of the components. The body shells of both cars are even produced in the same production facilities at Böllinger Höfe. In terms of safety, we applied high standards. Be it the vehicle’s basic structure or the PS 3 seat, ergonomic adjustment options in the cockpits through to the safety nets, the dripless refueling or the rescue hatch in the roof: We’ve done everything to offer perfect protection. A lot of experience from the GT3 race car was fed into the GT4 project as well. The high reliability in the customer’s hand is another forte and a specific economic benefit for the owners. Regular customers keep giving us feedback that says how valuable our worldwide support is. That was already a compelling argument in the GT3 project and the GT4 teams benefit from exactly the same support too.”