Audi’s R8 LMS GT3 is no stranger to motorsport competition around the globe. Since the car’s launch in 2009, it’s seen 115 victories and 12 national or international titles in the hands of Audi’s customers.

No platform can remain competitive for long in racing, so Audi has announced a new competition R8 for the 2012 season. Dubbed the R8 LMS ultra, the new car was developed based on feedback Audi received from customers racing the previous generation R8 LMS GT3.

Doors are now made from carbon-fiber reinforced plastic, embedded with high-energy absorbing foam. The result is both lighter weight and improved safety, further aided by a new driver’s seat that surpasses minimum competition requirements.

Updated transmission gearing will improve fuel economy for long-distance events, and a new exhaust system (equipped with high-flow catalytic converters) produces more torque at lower engine speeds. Cooling has been further improved, too, and depending upon regulations, the R8 LMS ultra will produce up to 570 horsepower.

For 2012, front wheels are changed from an 11-inch width to a 12-inch width, and wider Michelin tires should ensure more consistent lap times. Brake cooling has been improved, and the 2012 car’s Bilstein suspension is lighter than that used on earlier cars.

Aerodynamics have been upgraded for 2012, but the changes are subject to approval by the various series the R8 LMS runs in. The wider hood is now louvered, presumably to reduce air pressure and lift at the front end, while a new front plate and wider rear wing work to ensure optimized downforce.

Deliveries of the new R8 LMS ultra are scheduled to begin in March of 2012, and Audi has set the selling price at 329,900 Euros ($444,705, based on current exchange rates and excluding VAT). That a reasonable price for a car with this level of performance, and we expect the new R8 LMS ultra will just as successful as its predecessor.