Road-going R8 GT3 to rival the Porsche 911 GT3

Audi is considering production of a road-going version of its R8 GT3 racing car, to rival the Porsche 911 GT3.

The V10-powered, rear-drive Audi R8 GT3 race car won last year’s FIA European GT Championship in its debut season, and Audi has been overwhelmed with orders for racing cars this year. It is set to deliver an extra 30 cars on top of the more than two dozen it made last year. And now it is thinking about putting it into series production.

Video - Audi R8 versus Skoda Octavia 1.4, which is faster?

Audi’s body-in-white chief, Armin Kappler, confirmed 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 it 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 next-generation car may not be all-aluminium, though. The imminent introduction of battery technology into Audi’s sports cars (with the forthcoming e-tron models) means the company is looking at making its spaceframes partly from carbonfibre. This will be used for high-strength joints and body panels.

If successful, the next R8, due in 2013 or 2014, could use structural carbonfibre in its chassis. By then Audi will also have made a decision on whether to equip the R8 with a dual-clutch gearbox, as used on other Audis, but not on the R8 or Lamborghini Gallardo; the Lambo’s drivetrain technology will still be borrowed for the R8.

The new RS5, which uses a more powerful version of the R8’s V8, is the first RS model to use a dual clutch gearbox, but Lamborghini is resisting the move to a dual-clutch gearbox. The Murciélago replacement will not use a DSG ’box, either.

Matt Prior

Twitter - follow all the latest Audi R8 reviews, news and video


Read our review

Car review

It may not have a posh badge, but when it comes to what really matters the R8 has what it takes to hold its head high among supercar rivals

Join the debate

Add a comment…
Peter Cavellini 17 March 2010

Re: Hardcore Audi R8 planned

Not surprise in the least, everybody's chasing the GT3 because it's the benchmark as perceived by most people and Audi wants to do it's GT3, see,simple.

fhp11 17 March 2010

Re: Hardcore Audi R8 planned

fuzzybear wrote:
yeah the plate messes up the look ( in my opinion) shame its illegal to wear the plate up in the grey shade band of the windscreen instead ( or something )

Yer - It would be awesome if there was an alternative to having the plates on the front. For some reaon, number plates in this country, especially on some cars look clumsy. Too big.

It would be better if it was like some US states - no plates on the front. Would render all those damn speed vans useless!

Fatdoi 17 March 2010

Re: Hardcore Audi R8 planned

i thought V10 RWD belongs to mr. balboni..... audi should be careful on crossing each brand's product line if they want to retain brand's individuality.... so if audi makes R8 V10-2 it can be bit much for lambo owners to swallow..... imo audi should've stuck a pair of turbos to the V8 instead of lambo's V10.... & if they really want to do a V10, should make it a limited edition