Audi has just announced plans to offer the 2010 Audi R8 GT3, or internally codenamed "R16," to a very few lucky customers late next year. The new R8 race version supercar features lots of performance upgrades over current R8 models, and has been designed to conform to GT3 racing regulations that require automakers to release a set number of race cars with identical performance specs and styling to the cars used in GT3 racing series.
Homoglamated production race cars such as the 2010 Audi R8 GT3 are an exciting consumer perk required by the rules of some race series. In the past, the rule set which calls the R8 GT3 into production has brought us such cars as the BMW M3 CSL, Mercedes-Benz 190 Evolution II and the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Mechanically speaking, the 2010 R8 GT3 features several changes from the production car.
As per GT3 regulations, Audi ditches the Quattro AWD system characteristic of the R8 in favor of a RWD setup. Rest assured the team at Audi Sport is putting significant attention into the RWD system used in the R8 GT3. The Le Mans racing series Audi R10 has proven, with its unprecedented record in endurance racing over the past couple of years, that Audi is committed to its motorsport division.
Rounding out known info for the performance upgrades on the 2010 Audi R8 GT3 are a menacing track-ready aerodynamics kit promising greatly increased downforce and handling prowess, a 6 speed sequential manual transmission, and a gasoline motor promising more than 500 horsepower.
Which brings us to the next question. Will the 2010 Audi R8 GT3, or Audi R16 if you prefer, be street legal? Audi has not released the official word on this yet, saying only that the R8 GT3 "will offer customers a racing sports car equipped with high-calibre technology and the typical Audi qualities, but which is nevertheless easy to handle."
Below is the first info direct from Audi AG, reprinted in full. More details on the 2010 Audi R8 GT3 will be posted as they arise.
Audi develops race version of the R8
Official Audi AG Press Release
- * Customer sport programme with the mid-engine sportscar,/li>
- * First races planned for 2009 season
- * Factory driver Frank Biela completes roll-out
For the first time, Audi Sport will offer a racing sports car specifically developed for customer use in the form of the powerful 500 hp plus GT3 version of the Audi R8 which will be available from autumn 2009. The logistics and factory space required for the AUDI AG customer programme will be created over the next few months in Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm and Györ.
"The R8 is the first production Audi bearing the name and genes of a successful racing sportscar and is therefore an excellent base from which to build up our first big customer sport programme," explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "Ever since the R8 was unveiled we've been inundated with enquiries about a race version. With the Audi R8 we will offer customers a racing sportscar equipped with high-calibre technology and the typical Audi qualities, but which is nevertheless easy to handle."
The Audi R8 conforms to the production-based GT3 regulations allowing the car to be fielded in numerous national and international race series.
Because the GT3 regulations prohibit the use of four-wheel drive the Audi R8 comes with the typical GT rear-wheel drive. The power is transmitted via a newly developed six-speed sequential sports gearbox. The suspension uses almost exclusively components from the production line. A comprehensive list of safety equipment guarantees the highest-level of passive safety. A modified front end and a large rear-wing generate the required downforce for the race track.
The Audi R8, which bears the project name "R16" within Audi Sport, was developed under the direction of Audi Sport. Mid August, the first prototype successfully completed a roll-out in the hands of Audi factory driver Frank Biela.
The first test races in various European racing series are scheduled for the 2009 season. Delivery to the customers is planned from the autumn of this coming year.
The customer cars are manufactured together by Audi Sport and the quattro GmbH, which is also responsible for production of the Audi R8 street version, and Audi Hungaria Motor Kft. (Györ).