Audi Sport customer racing has established a worldwide reputation in customer motorsport on four continents within the space of ten years. With premium quality in products and support Audi Sport’s customer racing department occupies an outstanding position in a tough competitive environment – in as many as four racing categories. In addition, Audi Sport customer racing in 2019 supports commitments in the Intercontinental GT Challenge, the FIA GT World Cup, in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup and at stand-alone events such as the Nürburgring 24 Hours.
The four rings have been firmly established also in customer sport since 2009. Following Audi’s successes in rally racing, in touring car racing and in the sports prototype category, the brand started offering products specifically designed for customers a decade ago. During the first decade the company developed six different models. Everything began in GT3 racing with the Audi R8 LMS that was followed in 2015 by the second generation and is now starting to the 2019 season as an evolution. In 2011, the Audi TT RS that was particularly successful in endurance racing was the second model in the program. In 2015, the Audi TT cup car for one-make racing complemented the portfolio. For the 2017 season, a TCR race touring car – the Audi RS 3 LMS – was available for the first time. Since 2018, customers have been fielding the new Audi R8 LMS GT4 with great success. “We want to introduce one new product per year and in pursuing this model offensive specifically focus on growth categories,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “As a result, Audi Sport has developed a clear profile in all key markets around the world. Due to the production volumes, we achieve the greatest synergies in manufacturing, sales and support.”
In the world of Audi Sport customer racing, GT3 racing stands for globally visible, international competitions, as well as for national racing series and for club racing. The Audi R8 LMS meets with high-caliber opponents. Between ten and twelve brands are pitted against each other in the competitions of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, with one round each being held on five continents. Two major championships in North America, individual national series, plus international competitions across Europe, national and regional series in Asia, various motorsport categories from local club sport to top-caliber racing in Australia and motorsport in New Zealand offer customers fielding opportunities around the globe. Some series even explicitly have classes in which the first generation of the Audi R8 LMS can still successfully participate. The Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup with races in Asia and Australia offers customer racing drivers an attractive one-make cup environment for GT3 and GT4 models. Plus, there are two major global endurance racing series: the Intercontinental GT Challenge contested by many pros and the 24H Series that beckons amateurs.
The TCR class, which has existed since 2015, is still a relatively young category. Since the end of 2016, Audi has been offering the RS 3 LMS for these competitions. Numerous national championships in North America, Europe, Asia, and, for the first time this year, in Australia provide racers with an affordable opportunity to compete in touring car events. Cross-border series such as the TCR Europe and the TCR Asia represent the next higher competitive category. Finally, on an international level, the 24H Series and the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup are the big racing platforms. By now, 13 brands are active in this touring car class. In this fierce competition of race cars that are very similar conceptually, the Audi RS 3 LMS won the prestigious “TCR Car of the Year” classification in 2018.
The GT4 technical category has been in existence for 13 years now. Since 2017, thanks to systematic marketing, GT4 series have been gaining ground in a steadily growing number of countries. Committed customers ensured that the Audi R8 LMS GT4 won the most renowned competitions right in its 2018 maiden season: In the Pirelli World Challenge, customers scored three drivers’ and one teams’ title, four classification successes in the GT4 European Series, plus two more titles in France with the new race car. The Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup in 2019 again includes a class for this new race car whereas the Audi Sport Seyffarth R8 LMS Cup exclusively relies on the GT4 version.
By the end of 2018, Audi Sport customer racing built 563 race cars in total, spread across six model ranges and ten years. Like no other manufacturer Audi Sport uses several synergy levels within the Volkswagen Group to produce them: Audi and Lamborghini are two Group brands benefiting from the shared GT3 expertise. The GT4 model and the Supertrofeo platform involve interactions between the two brands as well. The V10 engine for both racing versions of the Audi R8 LMS has been adopted nearly unchanged from production in Győr. The GT3 race car shares 50 percent of its component assemblies with the production model. The GT4 model, which is produced in the flexible factory at the Böllinger Höfe site of the Neckarsulm location along with its road-approved counterpart, even uses 60 percent carry-over parts. The former Audi TT cup one-make cup race car as well as the current Audi RS 3 LMS come from the intra-Group affiliation with Cupra at the Martorell site in Spain.
Close ties also exist in the areas of logistics and support. A global network with branch offices in China for Asia, in Japan, in Australia, in the United States and in Canada makes it possible to supply parts for the GT3 and GT4 models around the globe. In TCR racing, Audi Sport, Cupra and Volkswagen closely work together worldwide.
As the track record shows, the models from Audi Sport customer racing share the same racing genes. The drivers of the brand have won a total of 74 overall drivers’ titles worldwide and scored more than 100 class titles since 2009. Amidst hundreds of trophies outstanding stand-alone successes include eight overall victories in 12-hour races, 13 in 24-hour races and four in 25-hour races.