Audi Sport, the motorsport division of the brand with four rings began deliveries of their latest racing car this week. The Audi R8 LMS is a rear drive, 500+ HP, ten cylinder GT3 racecar that is the company’s third line of production alongside the factory DTM and LeMans Prototype racers.
The symbolic handover of the first car took place in Italy, where Emilio Radaelli, Team Manager of Audi Sport Italia, accepted the R8 LMS with chassis number 101 from the Head of Audi Motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.
Audi Sport will deliver 12 examples of the R8 LMS to six different teams in the upcoming weeks in time for their racing debut in April. For 2009 ABT Sportsline, Argo Racing, ORECA, Phoenix Racing and Team Rosberg will also run two car teams in the FIA European GT3 Championship as well as the 24 Hour race at the Nürburgring. In order to conquer the Nordschleife Audi Sport has developed an endurance package for their LMS racers.
At this time the R8 LMS is a dedicated privateer program, Audi Sport has not planned for any factory backed racing efforts for the 2009 season.
Press release after the jump.
The new customer sport program of AUDI AG has reached the next stage with delivery of the first Audi R8 LMS to Audi Sport Italia. Twelve examples of the over 500 hp GT3 sports car will be delivered during the forthcoming weeks to six customer teams. The first races for the R8 LMS are scheduled for April.
Lucky number 1
Audi Sport Italia receives the Audi R8 LMS with chassis number 101. The symbolic handover of the first customer car was made on Tuesday in the Audi Forum Neckarsulm. Emilio Radaelli, Team Manager of Audi Sport Italia, accepted the R8 LMS from Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.
"In the future our new customer sport program represents Audi Sport’s third business field alongside our factory programs in the DTM and in sport prototypes," explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "2009 is a test and development year during which we aim to collect as much experience as possible with the R8 LMS. We are delighted to be able to do this with teams with which we are familiar and have established a solid partnership over the years."
Teams for 2009
In the 2009 season, Abt Sportsline, Argo Racing, ORECA, Phoenix Racing and Team Rosberg also trust the new GT3 sports car from AUDI AG. Audi Sport will start the delivery to customers for the 2010 season from fall 2009.
The six customer teams plan to race in five European GT3 championships as well as in the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring for which Audi Sport has developed an endurance version of the R8 LMS.
Twelve R8 LMS sports cars will be in action in more than 40 events at almost 30 European circuits throughout the 2009 motorsport season. "This allows us to collect a lot of experience which will flow into the development of the R8 LMS," says Oliver Straube who is responsible for marketing of the R8 LMS at Audi Sport.
With the GT3 race version of the R8, Audi Sport developed a racing sports car specifically for use in customer sport with the GT3 race version. Pure "factory" entries are not planned with the R8 LMS.
The assembly of the race cars including the body shells is made by quattro GmbH in Heilbronn-Biberach in a factory hall specifically for the customer sport program. The Audi factory in Györ, Hungary, deliver the V10 engines.
The new Audi R8 LMS competes in GT3 race series for the first time over the Easter weekend (10 to 13 April). The French GT Championship and the ADAC GT Masters start at the same time at Nogaro (France) and in the Motorsportarena Oschersleben (Germany).