“Audi Sport customer racing today is experiencing the largest model offensive in its history,” says Michael-Julius Renz, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “In 2018 we’re aiming for our fifth overall victory in the world’s biggest endurance race, the 24 Hours of Nürburgring. The race is under the banner of our anniversary which we’re celebrating with the customers, fans and friends of our company.” 33 race cars from the current model range are deployed to three classes at the Nürburgring. While the GT3 version of the Audi R8 LMS is battling for overall victory, the Audi R8 LMS GT4 and the Audi RS 3 LMS are competing for class wins. At the same time, the Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup entrants are relying on both versions of the Audi R8 LMS, whereas seven Audi RS 3 LMS cars will be on the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup grid.
The first two overall victories in the iconic endurance race at the Nürburgring in 2012 and 2014 were achieved by the first generation of the Audi R8 LMS that won the 24-hour race at Spa in 2011, 2012 and 2014 as well. During its seven-year model cycle, 137 race cars were built for the Asian, Australian, European, North and South American markets. The race car is still popular and successful in classes for cars of older generations such as those in Australian club sport. All owners benefit from a global service network and comprehensive parts supply.
In 2011, Audi Sport customer racing extended its program by a model for a small but mighty niche. Customers at the Nürburgring and in various club sport series were provided with the Audi TT RS, a powerful car with 279 kW (380 hp), front-wheel drive and excellent handling qualities. In addition to a large number of class victories in Europe and in the United States, the race car in 2011 scored overall victory in a race of the VLN Endurance Championship Nürburgring against cars with clearly higher power ratings. In 2013, on clinching victory against high-caliber GT sports cars in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill in California, the Audi TT RS achieved its greatest success.
In 2015, the brand with the four rings presented two new race cars. For three years, the Audi TT cup car was the exclusive model fielded in the Audi Sport TT Cup. The second generation of the Audi R8 LMS delivering up to 430 kW (585 hp) sets standards in terms of safety and continues the string of success of the first model unchanged. Endurance racing victories at Daytona, the Nürburgring, at Spa, Bathurst, Sepang and Laguna Seca, plus championship wins around the globe underscore its qualities. 103 race cars of this model have been built to date. It shares 50 percent of its component assemblies with the production model including the low-maintenance and high-powered V10 engine.
At the next stage of its model offensive, Audi Sport customer racing launched the Audi RS 3 LMS at the end of 2016. The front-wheel-drive race car for the popular TCR category delivers up to 257 kW (350 hp). Like the Audi TT cup this model is built within the corporate group together with Cupra at the Martorell site in Spain. 166 units of this entry level touring car that won five titles in its first season have been made to date. The most recent addition to the range is the Audi R8 LMS GT4. A one-two class win in the 24 Hours of Dubai marked a brilliant start to the season in January 2018. In the first six months, Audi Sport has produced 65 of these models. The Audi R8 LMS GT4 is made at Böllinger Höfe using the same manufacturing facilities as the production model with which it shares 60 percent of its components.
“The interest by our customers and their successes show that our model offensive is paying off,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “In the current season alone, our teams have contested 158 races across all classes and celebrated 53 victories in the process. We’re proud of having such strong teams and drivers among our customers in a fiercely competitive environment.” In addition to the events contested by its customers, Audi Sport customer racing competes in the Intercontinental GT Challenge, the FIA GT World Cup and the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup. The brand also supports individual teams in large-scale individual events such as the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and at Spa.