While Audi tweaks the R8 sports car for the street, the automaker is busy preparing the new R8 LMS Ultra race car. Replacing the R8 LMS GT3, the new variant will carry a base price of about $444,000 before taxes when deliveries begin in March 2012.
With customers of the R8 LMS GT3 winning 115 races and 12 national and international titles over the last three years, Audi didn’t want to mess too much with a good thing.
“We have close ties to our customers and analyzed their suggestions and wishes worldwide, and subjected the R8 LMS to further development in many details,” said Werner Frowein, Managing Director of quattro GmbH.
One of those development focuses was weight loss. The doors of the new Audi R8 LMS ultra are composed of carbon fiber reinforced plastic and what Audi calls “high-energy absorbing crash foams” that also make the car a bit safer. A newly designed PS1 Audi safety seat is standard, as is a new exhaust system that helps the 5.2-liter V-10 engine with up to 570 hp produce more torque at lower engine speeds. A larger engine oil cooler and transmission fluid cooler are new, and the oil cooler for the steering hydraulics has been moved from the front of the R8 to its middle section.
Audi says brake cooling at the front wheels has been improved and notes that the car uses Bilstein’s weight-reduced compression and rebound-adjustable gas dampers. Of course, you can’t see most of the upgrades from these photos, but Audi points out the hood and rear wing are wider than before for optimized aerodynamics.
The German automaker will be happy to apply some of these upgrades on existing R8 LMS cars but, like the new R8 LMS Ultra itself, that won’t come cheap. Pricing on the latest car is set at 329,900 Euros, before taxes.