The Audi R8 LMS Brings Racetrack Knowledge to the Streets
Here at Audi, we recognize that our customers aren’t simply car enthusiasts. We know that many are serious about racing and that is why, since 2009, Audi developed the R8 LMS specifically for customer racing. quattro GmbH builds the racing models at the motorsport facility in Helibronn-Biberach. Currently, there are 35 units being raced worldwide by our very own customers and importer teams.
“The R8 LMS is the first race car from Audi developed specifically for customer racing,” says Werner Frowein, Managing Director of quattro GmbH. “The car allows our customers to also experience the sporty genes of the R8 family on the race track.” The R8 LMS is entered in 17 race series and numerous individual races in 2011 in the hope of expanding on its successful record of seven titles and 65 wins so far.
quatro GmbH is also responsible for the construction and further development, as well as the sales and technical support for the customer and importer teams. Audi takes these tasks seriously. “Around 250 hours of work go into every Audi R8 LMS,” says Romolo Liebchen, Head of Audi Customer Racing. “Perfection is very important to us.”
Since weight plays an important role in motorsports, the customer racing model is also based on the aluminum body of the R8. You may be surprised to hear that 90 percent of the components are also identical. Therefore, they come from the body shop of the R8 production shop in Neckarsulm. The only difference is that the R8 LMS is equipped with a safety cell designed specifically for racing. The entire outer skin of the Audi R8 LMS is made of carbon fiber. To save even more weight, the body is not painted but rather coated with a carthodic dip coating (CDC).
The race car is assembled at the customer racing factory in Helibronn-Biberach which is roughly 5 kilometers (three miles) from the Audi site in Neckarsulm. A lot of knowledge is shared between the two sites. Since Audi developed the R8 as a pure sports car, a little more than half of the parts are used in the racing version without or only slight modifications. The V10 engine is also mostly identical to the production version. The coilover suspension of the R8 GT comes from the customer racing model, yet another example of the transfer of knowledge between motorsports and production.
This concept will be expanded in the near future, with a modular customer racing program offering interested buyers a model lineup featuring new vehicles beginning in 2012 and significantly expanding the classes and types of races in which Audi customer race cars can enter. The Audi TT RS, which made its debut as an endurance racer during testing on the North Loop of the Nürburgring in 2010, is the first step down this road.