After a successful trial run during various events this year, including an impressive win in the grueling Nürburgring 24 Hours, Audi’s second-generation R8 LMS endurance racer is now ready to order. It starts at 398,000 euros (approximately $445,550), before taxes, and production of the first customer examples starts on the 21st of this month. Deliveries commence next month.
Designed for GT3-spec competition, the R8 LMS is closely based on the 2017 Audi R8 due in showrooms early next year. The two share a production line at Audi's high-tech Böllinger Höfe facility located near the automaker’s main plant at Neckarsulm, Germany. Audi boasts that around half of the parts of the race car are common to the road car.
Take the engine for example, in this case Audi’s 5.2-liter V-10. The only modification made for motorsport is an inlet restrictor—a trumpet-like velocity stack—right in front of the throttle body. That inlet restrictor actually cuts power back from the 610 horses the production car gets, to a maximum of 585 hp.
The R8 LMS corresponds to the GT3 regulations that will be in effect from 2016 until at least 2018, and thus sets new standards in terms of safety. Other race cars making their debut in the new season include the BMW M6 GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Audi has been offering R8-based race cars to customer teams since 2009. Since then, 135 have been built. The new car is expected to be just as popular, with already 45 examples scheduled for the first year of production.