Heading into the Paris Motor Show, Audi has revealed their new 2019 R8 LMS GT3 racer.
This is the fourth racing version of the R8 in an equal number of years, with the first arriving in 2015 with the Audi R8 LMS. The R8 LMS GT3 is a slight evolution of all previous designs, according to Audi, which focuses on making a more consistent, reliable car that is more easily driven by amateur drivers.
“We deliberately chose to make moderate modifications instead of pursuing a comprehensive evolution,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “This is economically sensible for both new customers and for those teams that are able to easily retrofit their existing cars with all new components.”
Audi focused on four areas of improvement for the R8 LMS GT3: aerodynamics, brake cooling, clutch, and transmission.
Small tweaks on the exterior aero elements, such as the front splitter and rear spoiler, create more consistent downforce regardless of the R8’s current orientation and action. Downforce is still limited by FIA rules, but these tweaks make for more reliable handling, especially to inexperienced drivers.
Improvements to the aerodynamics also shunt air to the front and rear brakes, improving cooling and again increasing reliability and consistency in the racer’s handling. Various upgrades to the transmission, including a more durable clutch spring for the 3-plate racing clutch, greatly decrease the maintenance intervals for the hard-working component.
All these improvements don’t come at the cost of weight. The R8 LMS GT3 is 66 lbs lighter than the first generation R8 LMS, with total weight clocking in at 2,700 lbs. Manufacturing improvements also increase the car’s torsional stiffness by 39%, making it even easier to throw the R8 LMS GT3 into corners.
Under the hood is basically the same engine as on the regular R8, that being a 5.2-L V10 but tweaked to produce slightly more power: 585 hp, to be exact.
Base price is about $458,000 USD, but if you own an older model of the racing R8, you can get a retrofit kit for just a little over $32,000. However, you won’t be able to start racing until January when the FIA completes homologation for the car.