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Ahead of the 2009 season, Audi Sport diversified its operation by establishing a customer motor sport program. Up until that point the competition arm of the German manufacturer had exclusively built prototype racers and touring cars for works or works-supported teams. The first product of the program was a GT3 version of the R8 road car.

Dubbed the R8 LMS, Audi's first GT3 racer shared many of the same underpinnings with the production machine but necessary changes had to be carried through to comply with the regulations and to meet safety requirements. The most fundamental of these was abandoning the road car's all-wheel drive in favour of rear-wheel drive as specified by the regulations.

Anticipating the addition of a V10-powered version to the R8 road car line-up in 2009, the GT3 machine was already equipped with the ten cylinder engine also found in the Lamborghini Gallardo. Displacing just over 5.2 litre, the all-aluminium unit produced over 500 bhp. This was fed to the rear wheels through the standard six-speed gearbox, modified to be operated by paddles behind the steering wheel.

What was carried over almost unaltered was the aluminium spaceframe chassis. Suspension was by double wishbones with coil springs and hydraulic dampers. Optional on the road car, the GT3 racer was equipped with ventilated ceramic discs. Sophisticated driver aides like a race-specific ABS and a minutely adjustable traction control system were also fitted.

While closely resembling the road going R8, the R8 LMS is clothed in a bespoke bodywork. As on the road car, the panels were constructed from a mix of aluminium and carbon fibre. What set the competition body apart are the larger intakes, front splitter and much deeper sills. The finishing touch is a large rear wing, which had a virtual identical profile as the one used on the Le Mans winning R10 TDI.

The first two prototypes were ready towards the end of 2008 and were extensively tested by Christian Abt and Frank Biela. One was destroyed in the hands of Abt after a brake failure. The R8 LMS along with the customer racing program was announced at the Essen Motor Show in December. For the first season a limited run of 12 examples would be available and they were quickly sold out.

In the performance-balanced GT3 class the R8 LMS faced stiff competition from a wide range of machinery that included Aston Martins, Vipers, Porsches, Ferraris and Lamborghinis. The class was used for various championships, so the R8 LMS was quickly a familiar sight on grids around Europe and immediately proved a winner.

For the 2010 and 2011 seasons two additional batches of GT3 R8s were built and after three years of competition the R8 LMS had won 115 races and 12 championships around the world. Among those victories were outright wins in the 2011 editions of the Spa 24 Hours and Bathurst 12 Hours. Still missing from that list, despite strong factory support, was the prestigious Nrburgring 24 Hours.

In response to new machinery from the likes of McLaren and Aston Martin, Audi Sport prepared an evolution of the R8 LMS for the 2012 season. Known as the 'Ultra', in reference to Audi's marketing program by the same name, the revised machine features aerodynamic tweaks that include a larger wing and also a more powerful engine. The aerodynamics package was also available for the 2011 model R8 LMS.

The great form displayed in 2011 continued in the new season with an original specification R8 LMS taking a repeat victory in the Bathurst 12 Hours and the Ultra scoring a debut win at the FIA GT1 World Championship season opener. In Ultra trim, the R8 LMS finally added an outright win in the Nrburgring 24 Hours to its tally, and also secured a second victory in the Spa 24 Hours.

Article by Wouter Melissen, last updated on November 21, 2011

We already thought the two-wheel-drive R8 LMS racer was Audis ultimate R8, but the folks at Audi Sport never content to leave well enough alone announced today it had developed an improved GT3 car, known as the R8 LMS Evolution.


During our evolution project, we primarily focused on service life and maintenance-friendliness, said Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, head of Audis Motorsport operations. All the experience we gathered last season with the help of our partners has been fed into the Evolution version. Were convinced were handing over a reliable and easy-to-handle vehicle that embodies the quality standards of the Audi brand.

As the suffix suggests, the changes made to the R8 LMS Evo are evolutionary, not revolutionary. The car reportedly receives some chassis and suspension upgrades, while the electronic and exhaust systems are optimized for use in racing. Audi Sport also improved the cooling system for endurance racing, while improving the six-speed gearbox (wearable parts can be inspected through an opening, instead of removing the entire transmission).

United Autosports, an American-owned race team based in England, was the first to receive the new R8 Evo, but those who ran the R8 LMS last year will be able to upgrade their cars to Evo spec by purchasing an add-on kit from Audi Sport.

Teams interested in ordering an R8 LMS Evolution can do so now for nearly $406,000 per car, but as the entire 2010 production run has been spoken for, theyll need to wait until the end of the year to receive a 2011 model.

Source: Audi

Read more:

Audi R8 LMS ultra/Audi R8 GRAND-AMAudi R8 LMS ultra

Made light for wins

In keeping with the motto standstill means a step backwards Audi dedicated itself with the task of improving the successful R8 LMS still further for 2012. Our customer teams gave us valuable input for this, explains Werner Frowein, Managing Director of the quattro GmbH. We analyzed the wishes which in turn helped the development of many details on the R8 LMS. With the new R8 LMS ultra we offer a competitive and attractive racing car.

New on the Audi R8 LMS ultra, for example, are the doors manufactured from carbon fiber reinforced plastic. They do not only reduce the weight, but also further increase the passive safety thanks to their high-energy absorbing crash foams.

The same applies to the PS1 safety seat, newly developed by Audi. It is part of the standard equipment and clearly exceeds the safety requirements stipulated by the regulations.
A reworked gearbox, a new exhaust system with race catalytic converter, improved air flow to the water cooler or the optimized cockpit cooling are other examples of the innovations with which the Audi R8 LMS ultra is ready for further success.

Technical data Audi R8 LMS ultra (2012)

Vehicle type Sports car complying with FIA GT3 regulations
Construction Audi Space Frame (ASF) from aluminum with bolted steel roll cage, carbon-fiber composite/aluminum exterior bodywork parts

Design 90 degree V10 engine, 4 valves per cylinder, DOHC, gasoline direct injection, emission control by two exhaust gas race catalytic converters
Engine management Bosch Motronic MED 9.1.2
Engine lubrication Dry sump
Displacement 5,200 cc
Power Variable by restrictor. Up to 419 kW*
Torque over 500 Nm

Drive / transmission
Type of drive Rear wheel drive, traction control (ASR)
Clutch Production clutch, optional race clutch
Gearbox Sequential, pneumatically activated 6-speed sports with paddle shift
Differential Limited-slip rear differential
Driveshafts Constant velocity universal joints

Steering Servo assisted rack and pinion steering
Suspension Front and rear independent suspension. Double wishbones, damper struts with coil springs (Eibach) and adjustable dampers (Bilstein) as well as adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars
Brakes Hydraulic dual circuit brake system
Steel brakes discs front and rear, race ABS
Wheels Cast magnesium wheels (O.Z.), front 12 x 18 inch,
rear 13 x 18 inch
Tires Michelin, front: 30-65/18, rear: 31-71/18

Weight / dimensions
Length 4,670 mm
Width 1,994 mm
Height 1,195 mm
Minimum weight 1,250 kg
Fuel tank capacity 120 liters

Fire extinguisher Audi Sport
Seat system Audi PS1 Protection Seat
Fueling system Stubli

Models for Audi R8 LMS Evo|Ultra
Manufacturer Model Scale Dimensions (LxWxH) Wheelbase Front spur Rear spur
Scaleauto SC-7044 RTR Whitekit 1/24 187.0x83.0x47.0 110.0 82.5 82.5
Scaleauto SC-7043 #98 Phoenix 1/24 187.0x83.0x47.0 110.0 82.5 82.5
Scaleauto SC-7045 #80 Phoenix 1/24 187.0x83.0x47.0 110.0 82.5 82.5
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