Audi’s R8 Grand-Am debuted at the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona, and its inaugural race was less than stellar. The APR Motorsports car finished 31st in class (44th overall, some 280 laps down), followed by the Oryx Racing R8, which finished 32nd in class (45th overall, 295 laps down).

Any new race car can expect teething problems, and the R8 was no exception to this rule. By the end of the season, however, the bugs had been worked out, and the R8 proved to be competitive against others in the GT class, finishing second at the season-ending race at Lime Rock.

Audi wants to win in the Grand-Am series this season, so its ramping up support efforts for teams running the R8 in 2013. The 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona will see the debut of four Audi R8s, including two that will be campaigned by APR Motorsport.

The #51 APR Motorsport car will be driven by Matt Bell, David Empringham. John Farano, Alex Figge and Dave Lacey, while the #52 APR Motorsport / Audi Sport customer racing car will be campaigned by Ian Baas, Marc Basseng, Rene Rast and Frank Stippler.

Alex Job Racing will run the #24 Audi R8 Grand-Am, also co-sponsored by Audi Sport customer racing. Drivers will include Filipe Albuquerque, Oliver Jarvis, Edoardo Mortara and Dion von Moltke.

Rum Bum Racing will campaign the #13 Audi R8 (also with Audi Sport customer racing),  to be driven by Frank Biela, Christopher Haase, Matt Plumb and Markus Winkelhock.

Improvements to the Audi R8 Grand-Am for 2013 include a revised aero package with a new rear wing position and a lighter overall weight that now achieves the minimum for GT class cars. Carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) doors are approved for Grand-Am this season, which helps the R8 shed pounds.

2013 Audi R8 Grand-Am race car

2013 Audi R8 Grand-Am race car

The suspension was reworked for 2013 with softer spring rates and improved damping, and all four cars were thoroughly tested at the “Roar before the Rolex 24” shakedown in Daytona. Mechanics from quattro GmbH will be on hand to support the teams throughout the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

We’ll be there for this year’s race, too, so look for a complete race report following the event.