These are the first spy pictures of Audi's hardcore, road-going GT3 version of its R8 V10 supercar.
The Audi R8 V10 GT3 road car, spied in testing in and around the Nurburgring circuit in Germany, has been created by the firm in response to the overwhelming demand it has experienced for its V10-powered, rear-drive Audi R8 GT3 race car won last year’s FIA European GT Championship.
That car was victorious in its debut and Audi now wants a road-going version to give it a rival to the Porsche 911 GT3. It is set to deliver an extra 30 cars on top of the more than two dozen it made last year. And these pictures confirm the firm is considering putting it into series production.
Audi’s body-in-white chief, Armin Kappler, told Autocar last month that one road-going car has already been built for appraisal, and that VW Group boss Ferdinand Piech likes it, but says a decision on whether to produce the car has yet to be made.
If, as expected, the car does get the green light, the GT3 would fit with Audi’s plan of releasing a new R8 variant every year or two, as Porsche does with the 911 (GT3, GT2) and Lamborghini does with the Gallardo (Balboni, Superleggera). Audi expects the R8, which was introduced in 2006, to have a seven or eight-year life cycle, as with its other cars.
Knowledge gained from the race series is expected to filter into the production cars. Already, on circuits where a car can be riding kerbs for up to 10 seconds per lap, Audi has identified areas where the R8’s aluminium spaceframe could be reinforced.
The spy pictures show the R8 GT3 sporting a large fixed rear wing, as well as large rear exhaust pipes and a new rear diffuser. The rear end of the car has been redesigned to incorporate air vents on either side.
Completing the wider, more muscular appearance is two small wings attached to the front bumper to increase aerodynamic efficiency.