The race car will be on starting grids everywhere in 2019

Audi unveiled at the Paris Motor Show the Evo version of its ultra-successful R8 LMS GT3 race car ahead of a 2019 debut in competition. The R8 LMS Evo also shares some design cues with the upcoming 2020 Audi R8 road car.

The most popular sports car racing category of the past decade, FIA GT3, designed for production-based sports cars and supercars with revised aerodynamics and performance just got a new stablemate. It comes from Ingolstadt, and it is the Audi R8 LMS Evo which is an updated version of the second generation R8 LMS which debuted three years ago.

The car will debut in competition worldwide next year with the R8 LMS Evo expected to run in championships in Asia, Europe, North-America, and Australia. Customers will be offered the choice of either acquiring a brand-new race-ready R8 LMS Evo or just the aerodynamic kit and mechanical upgrades that can be applied to 2015-spec R8 LMS cars.

Why it matters

This New Audi R8 LMS GT3 Serves as a Preview for the 2020 Audi R8 Road Car Exterior
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The heavily revised Audi R8 LMS Evo is the third new Audi Sport Customer Racing model launched by the German manufacturer in the past three years. It comes after the RS3 LMS TCR car of 2016, and the R8 LMS GT4 launched just last year. Visually, the front end is where things changed the most.

The splitter is all-new and features a more protruding nose with a huge one-piece grille as well as three additional inlets just below the hood.

Elongated winglets on either side help with front-end downforce while the addition of NACA ducts on the side skirt just before the rear wheels helps direct airflow to the rear brakes for better cooling. The semi-exposed rear end, with the two exhaust tubes and the louvered air ducts in the wide wheel flares, remains largely unchanged.

The update also addresses some mechanical shortcomings of the original R8 LMS. For instance, the gearbox has been taken care of and now features revised gear teeth and reinforced bearings as well as a more durable clutch. This, in turn, means that customers will enjoy longer service intervals for these key parts. ”In developing the evolution of the car, we’ve put even greater focus on our customers and their needs,” said Chris Reinke, chief of Audi Sport Customer Racing.

This New Audi R8 LMS GT3 Serves as a Preview for the 2020 Audi R8 Road Car Exterior
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Reinke also talked about the decision to not update the 5.2-liter V-10 engine that will need to be serviced every 6,215 racing miles and will have to go through a comprehensive rebuild every 12,425 miles. “We deliberately chose to make moderate modifications instead of pursuing a comprehensive evolution. This is economically sensible for both new customers and for those teams that are able to easily retrofit their existing cars with all new components.”

Echoing BMW’s strategy used when they debuted their M8 GTE Le Mans racer, Audi included in their updated aerodynamic pack for the R8 LMS Evo some clues as to how the upcoming facelifted R8 road car will look like.

For starters, the slightly reshaped more protruding nose will probably be carried over to the road car, albeit without the generous lip on the race car.

You’ll also probably see on the race car the three nostrils under the hood and the restyled taillights that the race car uses. The road car will still employ the 5.2-liter V-10 engine and will drop as early as 2019 or 2020.

This New Audi R8 LMS GT3 Serves as a Preview for the 2020 Audi R8 Road Car Exterior
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Meanwhile, if your pockets are deep enough, you can grab an R8 LMS Evo for a meager $460,000. However, if, by chance, you already own the R8 LMS you can simply buy the full upgrade kit for just $32,300. A bargain!

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.

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