Race-spec with Four Rings

Audi is one of the most successful manufacturers in the highly-popular GT3 arena which attracted most of the world’s top manufacturers since the class debuted in 2006. The German manufacturer rolled out an update for its second-generation R8 LMS which promises to build on an already strong base.

2019 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Exterior

2019 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Exterior
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As with any racing car, the updated R8 LMS GT3 features many aerodynamic adages to help the car grip the road better. The front end is dominated by the massive one-piece air inlet. A mesh is covering two vertical elements wth “R8 LMS” lettering in between.

The hexagon-shaped inlet, which has the top part covered up, extends forward more than on the older iteration and there are also three extra inlets bordering the front hood.

While the headlights look identical to those on the 2015 model, the corners of the front bumper aren’t as boxy as before although they now feature a pair of winglets as well as two extra inlets carved in, one just behind the headlight and another peering from behind the winglets. The front wheel arch features a big cutout aft of the wheel for better brake cooling. The side skirt now has a NACA duct added just below the main side air duct. The thin rear view mirrors are still in place but will be replaced by cameras in the near future.

The rear end is partially exposed with the exhaust pipes exiting from under the engine lid. The rear wheel arches also feature extended cut-outs with louvers on them, for optimal air circulation. The large diffuser completes the purposeful look of the back end which barely resembles that of the road car. The wing, which cannot edge beyond the roofline is held up by two struts.

2019 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Exterior
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The main modifications were made to the frontal area of the car with the aim to improve airflow and aerodynamic efficiency.

Chris Reinke, Chief of Audi Sport Customer Racing, pointed out the update was centered around the wishes and needs of privateers racing the teams, not the works operations that employ professional drivers. “We’ve designed the car’s aerodynamics so that handling performance remains very clear in a wide range,” said Reinke. ”We focused on those areas that make a difference for the customer. The objective was not to make faster lap times possible. The balance of performance rules level differences between the various race cars from more than a dozen manufacturers through specific interventions anyway.”

2019 Audi R8 LMS GT3 exterior dimensions

Length 176.1 in
Width 78,6 in
Wheelbase 106,3 in
Weight 2,700 pounds

2019 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Interior

2019 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Exterior
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The interior of the R8 LMS GT3 looks sci-fi from the outside but is actually intuitive once you get to grips with it. You’ll notice immediately the presence of the intricate roll-cage as well as the racing bucket seat with 6-point harness. The seat and harness are made to work with the mandatory HANS device that is used with the helmet. The “half-moon” steering wheel is covered in buttons and knobs which control everything from the car’s brake bias to the radio communication, the pit speed limiter, the water bottle, traction control, and ABS levels and other things that the driver needs within immediate reach.

Behind the wheel, there’s a digital display while more knobs are located on the center console which is rotated towards the driver

The whole dash and the center stack itself are made out of carbon fiber, as well as the pedal box. The driver’s now benefitting from the presence of A/C inside. This is a feature that will greatly help gentleman drivers that, maybe, aren’t as fit as professional ones and are more susceptible to hear or humidity-related issues that could have a negative effect to their speed and consistency out on track.

2019 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Drivetrain

2019 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Exterior
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The Audi R8 LMS GT3 remains one of the last naturally-aspirated cars in the GT3 spectrum.

It still has that 5.2-liter V-10 which is, naturally, shared with the road car. The power output ranges between 389-horsepower and 552-horsepower depending on the width of the air restrictor which limits the amount of air that gets fed into the engine.

The air restrictor is one of the tools used to level the playing field in GT3 racing, a class with a variety of manufacturers involved, each with their own layout and car design. The mission of the air restrictor and other tools that limit a car’s potential is to have everyone within reach of everyone else which creates close racing. You don’t want one manufacturer to create the best car then proceed to run away from the competition until everyone else buys that said car and the variety is gone. That’s why the balance of performance is in place.

Besides buckets of power, the Audi’s V-10 also produces a lot of torque, 360 pound-feet to be precise. The, sometimes, inevitable wheelspin is kept in check by the traction control which is legal in GT3 racing. The DOHC engine with its four valves per cylinder gets fuel from a tank with a capacity of 120 liters. This can also be limited by the BoP system.

Suspension is by independent double wishbones with Ohlins dampers all round. The new car has a more durable gearbox with an improved three-plate racing clutch. Audi said, regarding the update, that “wear protection for the clutch spring extends the rebuild interval of this highly stressed component by more than 50 percent. The other drive train elements have become more durable as well. Revised gear teeth and reinforced bearings make longer running times of the sequential six-speed transmission possible. In addition, the engineers managed to reduce wear of the locking differential.”

What this means is that the teams will be able to select softer-preloading which, in turn, maintains the desired locking effect even after a long endurance race.
2019 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Exterior
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While this may be the case, the almost unchanged engine will still need servicing every 6,213 racing miles and a full rebuild after 12,426 racing miles.

2019 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Specifications

Engine 90° V10 DOHC 4 valves per cylinder
Race power approx 489 to 552-horsepower (depending on BoP values)
Max torque approx 368,78 pound-feet of torque
Displacement 5.2-Liter
Fuel Tank Capacity 120-liter
Transmission Rear wheel drive Sequential 6-speed gearbox with shift paddles
Suspension Independent double wishbone suspension with Ohlins damper units

2019 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Prices

2019 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Exterior
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The price of a turn-key 2019 Audi R8 LMS GT3 race car is $460,000 while the Evo kit alone costs just $32,288 if you already own a 2015-spec R8 LMS. With that being said, you can find a used R8 LMS for as little as $320,000.

There are also other examples advertised for $350,000 and $395,000 on a specialized website, the differences in pricing stemming from the fact that different sellers offer different packages of spares with the cars. There’s also the question of wear and whether or not the car suffered a crash during its lifetime and was rebuilt afterward.

2019 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Competition

Ferrari 488 GT3

2016 Ferrari 488 GT3 High Resolution Exterior
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Ferrari’s 488 GT3 is the follow-up of the highly successful 458 GT3 which was popular especially in the Pro-Am and Am classes in GT3 competition. The 488 is bigger and better, employing many of the aerodynamic advances that are also seen on the 488 GTE, the two cars looking almost alike for the unassuming passersby. The car is powered by a 3.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 capable of roughly 600-horsepower at 7,000 rpm, depending on the BoP.

The car boasts more torque, roughly 516 pound-feet, than the R8 LMS and its use by many gentleman driver pairings in the Blancpain GT Series, as well as in the U.S. in the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship and the Pirelli World Challenge proves its user-friendliness. The Ferrari is slightly heavier than the Audi with its basic BoP at 2,777 pounds versus the R8’s 2,700 pounds. This, though, can all be altered by adding ballast which is usually placed inside the cockpit.

Read our full review on the Ferrari 488 GT3

Lamborghini Huracan GT3

2019 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO Exterior
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The Huracan GT3 is the first Lamborghini sports car built in-house by Lamborghini’s Corse division. Previously, Lamborghini’s GT racing cars were built by Hans Reiter’s Reiter Competition firm. The Huracan has a seemingly identical 5.2-liter DOHC V-10 to that on the R8, although the Lamborghini engine went through some modifications as part of its “Evo” update. It now has the road car’s new camshafts and titanium valves.

Otherwise, the Huracan is virtually identical in weight with the Audi, the only difference being made by the BoP changes and whatever the drivers can do.

Read our full review on the 2019 Lamborghini Huracan GT3


2019 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Exterior
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The Audi R8 LMS GT3 in its 2019 guise is poised to gain in popularity among gentleman drivers, many of whom will buy the “Evo” kit, although there’s still a market for more turn-key GT3 cars, according to Chris Reinke.

All in all, GT3 racing remains the most entertaining form of racing in the sports car scene and will definitely be hailed as a “golden age” when the bubble will have burst in some way or another.

  • Leave it
    • Expensive to buy new
    • Not road legal
    • You need a race team to back you up if you want to explore its full potential

Further reading

2019 Audi R8 Spyshots Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Audi R8.

2017 - 2018 Audi R8 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Audi R8.

2015 Audi R8 LMS High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2015 Audi R8 LMS.

The Story Behind The Car

2019 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Exterior
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With over 200 R8 LMS sold in the past four years, Audi is a huge player in the GT3 market and is the only to have sold so many cars that it can organize a one-make series for its R8 LMS. But the success was built over almost a decade of competition in the GT3 category, not overnight.

The original R8 LMS which was based off the first generation R8 road car debuted in 2009 and was successful right off the bat winning its class and finishing in the top 5 overall at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.

The success in long-distance endurance racing became a hallmark of the R8 LMS although the car was also successful in sprint racing in championships like the FIA GT3 Europe, ADAC GT Masters, FFSA GT or Italian GT.

The new car comes with improved aerodynamics compared to the original 2015 package as well as a more sturdy gearbox and clutch, better brake cooling and extended service periods to save costs. It’s aimed as in improvement to the current package while also being friendlier to customers in a category that’s driven by gentleman drivers.

2015 Audi R8 LMS High Resolution Exterior
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The second-generation Audi R8 LMS GT3 race car is as bold looking as you’d expect a car that can tackle and win almost any 24-hour race on the planet to be. It’s based off the second generation R8, but the widebody itself is a clear departure from the lines of the original, a testament to the evolution of GT3 race cars.

Back when the concept was first launched, 12 years ago, the cars were given slightly larger front and rear bumpers, and a big wing at the back.

As time passed, the snowball started rolling faster and faster: cars became more aerodynamically efficient with the aero kits evolving over the years. Each new iteration pushes the concept more than the last one and, while the racing is still great in the BoP-governed (Balance Of Performance) GT3 class, one can’t ignore the rising costs that could affect the category as a whole in the future.

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