Audi has produced a track-only GT3 racing version of the sublime R8 sports car. The GT3 R8 uses a modified version of the standard R8’s 4.2-litre V8, producing 493bhp (up 79bhp on the road car). It also features a new six-speed sequential gearbox and, in order to conform to GT3 series regulations, it switches from four to rear-wheel drive.
The R8 racer, codenamed “R16”, has been in the works for a while. Head of Audi motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ulrich said, “We’ve been inundated with enquiries about a race version ever since the R8 was unveiled. With this R8 we will offer customers a racing sports car equipped with the typical Audi qualities, but which is nevertheless easy to handle.”There are no details on prices for the R8 racer, which has already been shaken down in the hands of Audi Le Mans regular Frank Biela. Initial tests under competition conditions are scheduled to take place in the 2009 season; the first deliveries should follow in autumn next year.