Audi Sport GmbH has unveiled the latest addition to its rapidly expanding customer racing program; the Audi R8 LMS GT4. Building on experience garnered from the GT3 race car, which has been in competition since 2009, the GT4 R8 is directly derived from the road-approved Audi R8 Coupé V10. Audi Sport states that the car is the ‘ideal race car for amateur campaigners, in line with the spirit of the GT4 regulations that continue a great sports car tradition’.
The R8 LMS GT4 will make its competitive debut at the Nürburgring 24 Hours from May 25 to 28, before Audi Sport embarks on an ‘intensive’ marketing campaign across the globe, which will see the car fielded in North America, Asia, Australia and Europe.
“13 racing series in which GT4 models can compete worldwide already exist today worldwide,” says Stephan Winkelmann, managing director of Audi Sport GmbH. “Audi Sport GmbH is one of the leading manufacturers offering cars in the GT3 and TCR customer sport categories. Now we’re targeting the GT4 class at exactly the right time. These fast-growing business segments and the DNA shared by our race cars and production vehicles underscore our ambition to become a true global player in the high-performance league.”
The Audi R8 LMS GT4 shares more than 60% of its assembly components with the road-approved Audi R8 Coupé and is produced at the Böllinger Höfe site as well. Audi Sport is developing the GT4 model, which will deliver up to 495hp (BoP dependent), during the course of the 2017 season before a final homologation level has been achieved and approval for racing is requested.
As four-wheel drive is prohibited in the GT4 class, Audi Sport utilizes a seven-speed double-clutch transmission combined with rear-wheel drive. Two electrohydraulically operated wet-type multi-plate clutches ensure shortest shifting events without tractive force interruption. A mechanical limited slip differential is used on the rear axle.
The suspension of the road-going version featuring double wishbones on all four wheels offers perfect prerequisites for racing. Rebound and compression adjustable racing-specific dampers and springs, as well as adjustable stabilizers, complete the suspension system. A new steel disc braking system with modified brake calipers in combination with the production-level ABS control system ensures optimum deceleration. Special brake cooling ducts at the front and rear guarantee braking stability also in racing. For the steering system, Audi Sport has adopted the hydraulic rack-and-pinion unit from the GT3 model, albeit with an electrically operated pump.
The body components are largely identical to those of the production car but have been optimized to support the race car’s aerodynamics and thermal management of the cooling and braking systems. The GT4 race car is closely oriented to the production model. Its chassis is produced at the same manufacturing facilities as the one of its road-approved sibling. Consequently, there are synergies for the Audi R8 LMS GT4 in terms of production and the Group-wide pool of components as well as service and maintenance – directly benefiting the customers.
During the second half of the year, the team of Chris Reinke, head of Audi Sport customer racing, will be preparing the production of the race car. Consequently, the first customers will be able to receive the new Audi R8 LMS GT4 before the end of the year.