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2020 Audi R8 LMS GT2

2020 Audi R8 LMS GT2

The R8 race car tailored for those that wear tailor-made suits on the week days

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is a great place to go if you want to see some of the world’s most revered racing cars of the past as well as a vast array of modern machinery and peeks into the future. The festival that takes places annually since 1993 on the grounds of the Goodwood House is also the place favored by some manufacturers to unveil their new products. The 2019 edition was chosen by Audi as the perfect occasion to pull the wraps off Audi Sport’s latest creation: the 640 horsepower Audi R8 LMS GT2, the most powerful racing car Audi has ever sold through its Customer Racing department. It’s designed for a new formula of Grand Touring racing that slots between GT3 and GT4 and caters for amateur racers looking for hight output machinery that’s quick down a straight line and easy to manage through the twisty bits.

Audi is a pragmatic company. Audi doesn’t put out a product for a class it doesn’t think will succeed. When Audi finally built a GT3-spec car, the class had been around for three full seasons, and it showed no signs of slowing down with more cars joining in (that same year Alpina debuted a B6-based contender, for instance) at a steady pace. Then there was the R8 LMS GT4, the GT3’s baby brother, its more pedestrian relative that is still tremendously fast (it puts out somewhere between 580 horsepower and 600 horsepower sans limiter, as much as the GT3 car without restrictions) and also expensive.

The RS3 LMS followed suit, the first sedan built by Audi Sport, one that, again, was built to be raced in a burgeoning category: TCR Touring Cars. The RS3 arrived in 2017, three years after the TCR format was first introduced. This is what makes the R8 LMS GT2 the odd one out. It’s the first Audi Sport-built car to be launched before any cars built to this ruleset ever took the track. So Audi must already know that it will be a success.

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The 2020 Audi R8 LMS GT2 Is the R8 We Deserve For the Road But Can't Have

The 2020 Audi R8 LMS GT2 Is the R8 We Deserve For the Road But Can’t Have

The 2020 Audi R8 LMS GT2 is a new car for a new class in global GT racing

The 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed was the stage for many impressive firsts and among them has been the worldwide debut of Audi Sport Customer Racing’s latest product, the ludicrous Audi R8 LMS GT2. With 640 horsepower, it’s faster than its GT3 and GT4 brethren but, somehow, it slots in between the two. Audi Sport says it’s the most potent car to come out of the Customer Racing program, and you’ll be able to see it on track next year as Stephane Ratel Organization (SRO) will allow the GT2 class to compete in series like the GT Sports Club in Europe and the GT World Challenge America across the Atlantic.

Racing has a tendency to become more and more expensive as time goes on. The pattern is as follows: a sanctioning body or a championship organizer proposes a new ruleset for a new category that’s supposed to replace an older, prohibitively expensive one. Everyone involved is happy, the new class is launched, it becomes popular, and as it starts to gain momentum, the cars evolve pushed by factory involvement and, in a matter of years, they become too expensive, and we’re back to square one. This is, broadly, what happened with the (still) highly popular GT3 formula that turned, from one category catering for amateur drivers, to one that comprises the bulk of today’s leading sports car and luxury car manufacturers, many of them pouring serious amounts of money in developing race cars able to win on the world stage. Let’s see how GT2 plans to fix this issue. In a way...

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