Audi made a bunch of wise marketing decisions in recent years, one of them being the R8, essentially a Lamborghini with different body work and a more affordable sticker. But, while the road-going R8 is somewhat successful, its race-spec counterpart has already achieved iconic status with several wins in just about every racing series out there. The R8 LMS has been incredibly popular among private teams in recent years and it’s not surprising that Audi is looking to expand the lineup as much as possible. The latest version to join the family is the LMS GT4 and made its debut at the 2017 New York Motor Show.
As the name suggests, the LMS GT4 was developed for production-based racing and derived from the road-legal R8 V10. It’s more affordable than the world-beating GT3 and it’s eligible for every racing category under GT4 regulations. The GT4 European Series is arguably the most important competition under these regulations and brings together a massive number of cars. Vehicles that the R8 will compete against include GT4-spec versions of the Chevrolet Camaro, Aston Martin Vantage, BMW M4, KTM X-Bow, and Porsche Cayman, just to name a few.
The new race car will make its on-track debut at the Nurburgring 24 Hours on May 25. The R8 LMS GT4 will also compete in North America, Asia, and Australia throughout 2017. Production will begin in the second half of the year with first deliveries to be made by the end of 2017.
“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,” said Stephan Winkelmann, managing director of Audi Sport.
What Makes The Audi R8 LMS GT4 Special
Although it shares more than 60-percent of its components with the road-going R8, the LMS GT4 is a far more aggressive car in terms of design.
Although it shares more than 60-percent of its components with the road-going R8, the LMS GT4 is a far more aggressive car in terms of design. Sure, it’s not as menacing as the GT3 model and retains some of the body panels seen on the street car, but it sports a big amount of race-spec features. Up front, the aerodynamic kit has been enhanced by means of a redesigned splitter, a slightly reshaped nose, and a pair of winglets on each side of the bumper. The trunk hood now has a big vent in it for cooling purposes.
Moving to the side, we can see redesigned side skirts and rear fender intakes, as well lightweight wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero competition tires. The rear end is even more aggressive, mostly due to the larger diffuser, the massive, center-mounted exhaust, and the big wing atop the decklid. On top of that, the presentation car has a spectacular livery with loads of bright-red accents on the splitter, bumper, side skirts, diffuser, and the rear wing.
Designed to comply with FIA regulations for passive safety, the race car comes with a fire extinguishing system, safety nets, and crash foam in the doors.
Inside, the LMS GT4 retains most of the standard configuration but features extra safety gear and tech. Designed to comply with FIA regulations for passive safety, the race car comes with a fire extinguishing system, safety nets for the driver, and crash foam in the doors. Additionally, it gets Audi Sport’s PS3 safety seat with the six-point harness (as in the LMS GT3), a roof hatch for rescue operations, and a safety cage attached to the space frame.
Tech-wise, it has highly adjustable steering wheel, a central multi-function display, and a data logger. As you’d expect from a full-fledged race car, all convenience features have been removed in order to save weight.
Several key components have been revised for enhanced reliability at the track.
Under the hood of the LMS GT4 lurks the same 5.2-liter V-12 as in the road car, but several key components have been revised for enhanced reliability at the track. Output is estimated at 495 horsepower. That’s 45 horses less than the road-going R8 V10, but we’re talking a different power-to-weight ratio here and the actual output isn’t too relevant.
While the LMS GT4’s campaign will be limited to certain events in 2017, expect this race car to take part in the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge, Pirelli World Challenge, Blancpain GT Series Asia, British GT Championship, European GT4 Series, and the VLN series in 2018.
Before the New York International Auto Show the Audi R8 LMS premiered in its GT4 version. Audi Sport GmbH’s customer racing program has been experiencing rapid growth. Audi has been offering the Audi R8 LMS GT3 race car since 2009, followed by the second generation of this success model in 2015, and the RS 3 LMS for the TCR category in 2016. Now Audi Sport’s portfolio of models has been extended once again.
The Audi R8 LMS GT4 stands for production-based racing. It has directly been derived from the road-approved Audi R8 Coupé V10, is powerful and offers a high level of safety. At the same time, it is an affordable choice in terms of purchasing price and cost of ownership. It is the ideal race car for amateur campaigners, in line with the spirit of the GT4 regulations that continue a great sports car tradition, as fascinating road-going sports cars were a popular base in GT racing around the world more than half a century ago.
In racing, the audience will be able to see the production-based Audi R8 LMS GT4 for the first time in the Nürburgring 24 Hours from May 25 to 28. With that, the brand fills another growth category in international motorsport. The GT4 class, which originated in Europe, will be intensively marketed on an international scale starting in 2017, with fielding opportunities 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 percent of its assembly components with the road-approved Audi R8 Coupé and is produced at the Böllinger Höfe site as well. The customers of the new race car benefit from these synergies in terms of purchasing price and cost of ownership.
Audi Sport is developing the GT4 model, which delivers up to 364 kW (495 HP) depending on its rating, during the course of the 2017 season before a final homologation level has been achieved and approval for racing is requested. 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.
Around the globe, Audi Sport draws on an extensive network of service, spare parts logistics and professional support for the R8 LMS GT4. Audi Sport customer racing has established this infrastructure for the GT3 project on four continents and, like for the RS 3 LMS, uses this proven network for the GT4 model range as well.