The history of

The history of the AUDI R8 LMS 01

The R8's racing history began in 2009, when Audi Sport made the racing version of its sports coupé for private teams in the GT3 category of the Le Mans Series. The car has much in common with the road version, except for all the safety systems needed to comply with FIA regulations. Indeed, due to the regulations the four-wheel drive included in the R8s in the price list was ditched in favour of a rear one. It packs a 90° ten V-cylinder 5.2 litre aspirated engine, longitudinally mounted in a central position and made entirely of aluminium to contain the weight. It is closely related to the Lamborghini Gallardo now used by the Huracàn: combined with a six-speed gearbox, it boasts a maximum output of 500 hp. The frame is partly made of aluminium and partly of carbon; double wishbone suspensions with helical springs and adjustable hydraulic shock absorbers cushion the tyres on the asphalt.

The first prototypes were tested by drivers Frank Biela and Christian Abt. During production from 2009 to 2011, various teams drove the R8 LMS to something like 115 victories and 12 championships around the world.

In 2012 the first upgrade arrived with the R8 LMS updated to the Ultra version, equipped with new aerodynamic carbon components to improve road holding at medium and high speeds. The German engineers boosted the V10 up to 570 hp. In this new configuration, the car secured overall victory in both the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring and in the 24 Hours of Spa.

The history of the AUDI R8 LMS 02

Three years later, the R8 LMS GT3 came out, based on the second-generation road R8. The chassis of this model, known as Audi Space Frame (ASF), is made of hybrid aluminium CFRP with steel bearing cage, while the bodywork components are made of CFRP and aluminium. The maximum power of the engine - still 90° V, four valves per cylinder - is 585 hp, delivered to the ground by the rear wheel drive, coupled with a 6-speed sequential gearbox with multi-disc clutch and limited slip differential. As well as winning the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring in 2015 and 2017, this model has claimed several other victories. Noteworthy wins came in the 24 Hours of Dubai and the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2016, and in the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and in the 8 Hours of California on the Laguna Seca circuit.

Last October, the latest evolution arrived, which will compete in this year's championships. The 2019 version of the GT3 includes major aerodynamic updates on the front with the addition of two side flaps to increase load levels. These changes coincide with a facelift for the R8 road model, in pre-sale at Audi dealerships since last month. The possibility of improving the air flow to the rear brakes and the release of air from the brake discs was also studied, for more efficient engine cooling. It comes with Pirelli P Zero DHD2 tyres for dry conditions and Cinturato WH tyres for rain, as specified by the Blancpain Series. The side and rear profiles are almost unchanged, as is the engine, which packs the same power and torque as its predecessor.

Designed for so-called gentlemen drivers and newbies, the Audi R8 LMS Evo focusses on reliability and driveability, as Chris Reinke, head of Audi Sport Customer Racing, explained at the time: "In developing the car, we paid more attention to our customers and their needs; the pre-design phase for the second evolution of the current model generation focussed on discussions with our teams".

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