The Audi R8 LMS GT3 racecar will be replaced by the R8 LMS ultra. To date the car has won 115 races plus 12 national and international titles in the space of just three years.
Improving on a successful vehicle was inevitably a challenging task but the team at quattro GmbH had clear targets for the project. "Our customer teams provided us with valuable suggestions and stated their wishes for the various fields in which the car is used," said Werner Frowein, Managing Director of quattro GmbH.
The development team focused on several central areas. So the car will have new doors made from CFRP (carbon fibre reinforced plastic) in combination with energy absorbing foam to reduce the weight while increasing passive safety. The new PS1 safety seat developed by Audi is now part of the standard equipment and offers good protection while meeting all regulations.
An updated transmission will provide more durability for endurace races, while a new exhaust system with catalytic converters is said to improve the engine characteristics allowing the mid-mounted V10 to draw on more torque at lower RPM.
The cooling system gets a larger oil cooler and transmission fluid cooler, while an oil cooler for the steering hydraulics has been relocated in the middle of the car. It will sit behind enlarged air vents in the side blades to improve thermal management. At the same time, air flow to the front radiator has been improved with interior ventilation.
The chassis was updated with 12-inch, instead of 11, wheels now used. From 2012, development partner Michelin will offer wider 30-65/18 tires to allow more consistent lap times.
The transverse control arm mounts will now feature uniball joints instead of the rubber mounts previously used. Lighter, adjustable Bilstein dampers complete the chassis package.
Aerodynamic improvements complement the changes, with a wider hood given louvers, subject to homologation from the various racing series.
The new rear wing has been widened and features larger end plates. Work in the Audi wind tunnel led to a yet more efficient position of the wing as well. A new front plate with optimized diffuser guarantees aerodynamic balance.
As of 2012, all new vehicles will be equipped with this evolution, while existing vehicles can be upgraded to this level by quattro GmbH.
The Audi R8 LMS ultra is priced at euro 329900 plus taxes ($444000). Deliveries will commence in March 2012.