Audi’s motorsport division first announced plans in August last year to launch a 500hp-plus (373kW) version of the V10-powered R8 for use in the 2009 GT3 racing series. The first of these high-performance race cars has now finally been released, with Audi Sport Italia taking delivery on Tuesday of the car with chassis number 101.
Twelve examples will be delivered during the forthcoming weeks to six customer teams, with the first races scheduled to start next month. The six customer teams plan to race in five European GT3 championships as well as in the 24-hour race at the Nurburgring for which Audi Sport has developed an endurance version of the car.
The new car has been designed for private customer teams and fully conforms to the production-based GT3 regulations, which means they will be allowable in numerous national and international competitions. Prices start at roughly €250,000 but opt for an Audi-backed support team and prices increase to the €500,000 mark.
Because the GT3 regulations prohibit the use of AWD, the Audi R8 GT3 comes with a modified RWD powertrain and a newly developed six-speed sequential sports gearbox. The suspension is almost completely stock, with most of the modifications focusing on weight reduction and improving the car’s aerodynamics package. The kerb weight is an estimated 1,300kg – 300kg less than the production model – and a modified front end and a large rear-wing have been added to generate the required downforce for the race track.
The assembly of the race cars including the body shells is made by quattro GmbH in Heilbronn-Biberach, Germany, in a factory hall specifically for the customer sport program. The Audi factory in Györ, Hungary, delivers the V10 engines.