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The early 1980s saw the introduction of a more economical Audi model for the masses. Its Type 81/85 debuted at the Paris Salon in 1980 and displayed a complementary shape to its more expensive sibling, the Quattro. Audi continued to produce the 80 series cars until 1988 with nearly 8,000 being made. Audi’s design of a smaller and more affordable car had also spawned to a new genre of racing. The company had a factory team that was owned by Peter Seikel. He recently had an Audi 80 GT in the United States and one lucky builder was able to get a closer look.

The Audi 80 GT was never officially produced and sold by the company, but did race in the European Touring Car Series. Peter’s car is in great condition and that allowed for measurements and information to be gathered from it in great detail. The car to be restored was another GT that was originally owned by Peter Aschenbrenner, who had raced it in IMSA and Trans Am events. Since its glory days the car had been sitting in disrepair just waiting for someone to show it a little love.

More details on the Audi 80 GT after the jump.

Exterior and Interior

1981 Audi 80 GT Exterior
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Franczak Motorsports of Toronto undertook the project of restoring the car to original racing specs. A former race driver, Rudy Bartling was brought onto the team in order to provide some expertise for this rare restoration. Things began by recreating the widened fenders of the race car at a local fiberglass shop. The GT model also had a rear wing to increase down force at high speeds and this piece was also made by the fiberglass shop. Other pieces needed to make the car appear original were a roll cage for the interior which was provided by Safety Devices of the UK. With the major components of the Audi 80 GT covered it was time to move onto the details.

1981 Audi 80 GT Interior
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For the interior they decided to use a Kirkey racing seat with the Audi sport logo embroidered into the fabric. This may not be exactly what the car looked like initially, but it does provide a racing feel.


1981 Audi 80 GT Drivetrain
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The most complicated part of the build was finding mechanical components that would be close to the original, but also practical today. The original engine from the GT was a 2.0-liter 5 cylinder model that simply does not exist anymore. The opted out for a 2.2-liter turbo from the UR Quattro. The 80 series Audi model did come with this engine during its production run so it was an easy fit and kept things close to stock. The fuel system caused even greater problems and now an Audi TT fuel pump is being used and the team is also planning on replacing the stock system with an EFI unit. One nice piece of racing equipment that was custom made for the car is a 3” thick NASCAR style radiator to handle the heat output from the liquid cooled turbo engine.

1981 Audi 80 GT Interior
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In the end the new Audi 80 GT produces 260hp and puts all that to the road through a carbon clutch and Audi 5 speed transaxle. A GT car would not be complete without a complementary suspension system able to handle the European circuits so they decided to use a solid bushed 2.5” adjustable coil over system provided by Koni. The car is also now being brought to a stop by 11” Brembo brakes with 4 piston calipers. The use of high end components extends down to the brake pads by using carbon for extended track use and minimal fade.

Where Is It Now?

The Audi 80 GT was able to be built thanks to the original car owned by the Audi Factory Racing Team, it now resides in Germany at the “Museum Mobile” for all the enjoy. This little known Audi racer found a new lease on life and is once again ready to take on the track.

1981 Audi 80 GT Exterior
- image 402687
  • Leave it
    • Not a Factory Race Car
    • Non-Original Parts
    • Custom Build

Source: Audi

Matt McDonald
About the author

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What do you think?
Show Comments


  (13) posted on 12.9.2012

I want to know how fast it can go

  (858) posted on 02.1.2012

This is not bad for a classic race machine which offers Quattro performance. It is good to know that some of the old cars were preserved in the Museum Mobile just like this one. 

  (692) posted on 01.1.2012

I wonder is this is an original car or just a replica. BTW, does the larger engine affects the speed of the car?

  (776) posted on 12.21.2011

Yeah! It is really a good thing that Audi didn’t have any plan to put it on the market. Moreover, I can say that it is the most awful and ugly vintage vehicle that I saw ever!

  (427) posted on 12.7.2011

Well, at first I thought it was a Dodge vehicle and just like them; I never consider that Audi can produce such an ugly vehicle like this. Good thing that it will come only by a limited model.

  (727) posted on 11.30.2011

Yuck! Audi 80 is really so ugly, and I never thought that they would truly produce it. This is absolutely unlike them! However, good thing it had a nice and an impressive engine output.

  (501) posted on 11.23.2011

The front grille of this Audi 80 GT really looks so awful and lousy! Definitely, this muscled car or a sports vehicle isn’t truly looking great neither good! I wonder if it is on the market already?

  (248) posted on 11.16.2011

The interior of this 80 GT is looking so outdated and messy either, and even the front design of this vehicle is looking very lousy. Well, I’m too disappointed in this race car of Audi.

  (374) posted on 10.17.2011

The thing that I love about this car is that its classic design. It may look old but I bet it has powerful performance on the race track.

  (830) posted on 09.12.2011

I can’t imagine in a vintage Audi car would have a 2.2-liter turbo from the UR Quattro in which I usually see in the movies, but now it has and ready for the off-road expedition.

  (317) posted on 08.8.2011

A classic race machine, well I must agree that they would rather put this one on auction than on production but I must say that it’s still looking good.

  (428) posted on 07.27.2011

An old classic car, much better if they put this in auction. The engine of this Audi is very large thus, it adds weight so it lessens the speed of the car. I wonder why they are showing this to the public.

  (683) posted on 07.25.2011

I think it really affects the speed performance of the car for its power output is not that impressive! I guess it would be better if they have put this one in the museum!

  (676) posted on 07.25.2011

I really don’t like the styling of the car. This car look so vintage and I think its large engine increase the weight of the car and suddenly affects the speed performance of the car.

  (336) posted on 06.24.2011

The platform of this car is kind of similar to Dodge..and their current version is better. However, I was surprised that some parts of its engine was used in Audi TT.

  (410) posted on 06.24.2011

Wow! I this is my first time seeing a vintage rally car! And I wonder is this is a original car or just a replica. BTW, does the larger engine affects the speed of the car?

  (580) posted on 06.23.2011

One thing that really impresses me when it comes to these works on older models is how they were able to make these even better. Just take a look at how they were able to set this one up.

  (530) posted on 06.3.2011

OK, this one is definitely going to be a nostalgic ride. I remember this baby as on of the classic race cars that they introduced back in the 80’s that a lot of people liked.

  (503) posted on 06.2.2011

Based on its 1980s style, this car is great but if we compare it to the new models like the ones from Ford and BMW, I prefer choosing those type rather than this.

  (273) posted on 06.2.2011

Oh! I thought Audi will be making a production version for this car. Well, its great that they have restored this car and let the public see this historic car.

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