Just when you thought the R8 supercar couldn’t get any better, Audi unleashes a 500bhp-plus, rear-wheel drive GT3 version. But before you fling your hefty deposit at your local Audi dealer, beware this is an Audi Sport car destined to go racing. Porsche race car owners should be scared.
So the Audi R8 GT3 isn’t a road car?
We’re afraid not. Instead the R8 GT3 is destined for various national and international race series around the world, where it will be matching up against cars from Porsche and Aston Martin. The first customer cars will be delivered in the next few months and the R8 GT3 is expected to make its competitive debut early in 2009.
‘Ever since the R8 was unveiled we’ve been inundated with enquiries about a race version,’ says Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, head of Audi Motorsport. ‘The R8 is the first production Audi bearing the name and genes of a successful racing sports car and is therefore an excellent base from which to build up our first big customer sport programme’.
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What changes have been made to turn the R8 into a GT3?
Out goes the Quattro four-wheel drive system, prohibited by GT3 regulations. That means rear-wheel drive, with power sent through an all-new six-speed sequential 'box. No word from Ingolstadt on what engine powers the R8 though. We know it has over 500bhp, but is it a V8 or a V10? This car's R16 tag gives us no clues – it’s not a Bugatti Veyron engine.
Other tweaks and changes including junking the leather-lined interior, fitting a full roll cage and that enormous rear wing. Combined with the new front spoiler, side sills and rear diffuser it should create plenty of downforce. So even though the four-wheel drive system has gone and the suspension is apparently little changed over the production car, Dr Ullrich is claiming the R8 ‘is nevertheless easy to handle.’ We want one.
In love with the Audi R8 GT3 or looking foward to the R8 Spider instead? Click 'Add your comment' below and have your say