Got the itch to test your mettle against some of the world's best drivers on the legendary Nurburgring, but don't have a race team or a billionaire's budget? You can race an Audi R8 LMS in real competition for a fraction of the price.

That fraction is still likely measured in multiples of the average American's yearly income, but it's a bargain compared to running a full-on privateer team, and the results are arguably even better. Audi's R8 LMS "race experience" program allows customers to get behind the wheel of a Team Joest-prepared and backed race car and hit the track in pro competition on the Nurburgring and elsewhere.

"As far as I know, Audi is the first automobile manufacturer in the world to offer such a program,” says Audi's head of Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Our colleagues from the Audi driving experience and Reinhold Joest’s squad with whom we’ve been successfully working together since twelve years will provide our customers with an exclusive and unforgettable motorsport experience. And the Audi R8 LMS, which, according to our “factory” drivers, is a very forgiving GT3 car is perfectly suited for this project which we fully support on the part of Audi Sport.”

"Forgiving" for a professional race car driver may not be quite the same "forgiving" a normal person expects, but Audi's plan to move forward with the race experience for the R8 LMS is already in motion, and it's sure to be a rewarding and enlightening experience for anyone that can afford it. The prep, tips and information gleaned from the Le Mans-winning Team Joest alone is likely worth the price of entry; the racing is a bonus.

Check out the official announcement at Audi's site below.

[Audi via Jalopnik]