In one of the biggest reveals at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, Audi Sport has unveiled its new R8 LMS GT2, set to race in the upcoming 2020 racing series against the Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport and others.
The revival of the GT2 name was announced last year, aiming to allow amateur drivers (with healthy wallets) to get behind the wheel. The GT3 series is often considered alienating to less experienced drivers, with a more aero-focused approach making it harder to stay competitive. The new GT2 class therefore reduces aero, and increases power, allowing for up to 700bhp as opposed to GT3’s 560.
Subscribe to evo magazine
Chris Reinke, head of Audi Sport customer racing, said: ‘Modern GT3 race cars have increasingly evolved into a class for pros. With the Audi R8 LMS GT2, we are now closing this gap and making a car available that is tailored to meet the needs of this customer group.’
Powering the model is, of course, the marque’s excellent 5.2-litre V10, seen in all current variants of the R8. What separates the power plant in the GT2 is its 631bhp output, making it the most powerful variant currently on offer – torque is quoted at ‘over’ 405lb ft. Helping provide the additional power is an ECU tune and the ram-air effect of the new roof scoop. Performance figures haven’t been quoted, but the brand does claim that lap times are on-par with the GT3 racers of today, and with a 1350kg dry kerb weight (100kg less than an R8 GT4), we’d imagine it’ll be rather brisk. Power’s sent to the tarmac through a seven-speed double-clutch transmission.
Though you’d think such an extreme racer would be completely bespoke, Audi says the R8 GT2 is strongly linked to the road car, taking elements from the Spyder, of all variants, such as the door openings, cockpit proportions and chassis geometry. Elements separating the GT2 from road-going variants are plentiful, though, with a gaping air scoop taking pride of place on the roof, flared fenders, more prominent side blades, a much more aggressive splitter and rear wing all making an appearance.
To keep weight to a minimum and ensure maximum strength, Audi has used carbonfibre for the construction of most new components and body panels. An aluminum and carbon ‘Space Frame’ underpins the car, with bespoke suspension used to keep that kerb weight figure low. FIA-approved safety tech is included, too, including a roll-cage and safety harnesses.
Should you want to bag yourself the ultimate trackday toy, or enter the GT2 series next year, an R8 LMS GT2 will set you back just over £300,000, sitting neatly between the brand’s GT4 and GT3 models. First cars are scheduled for delivery before the end of the year.