The new Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II will make its competitive debut this weekend at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA with 24H SERIES staple Car Collection Motorsport.
Audi’s “second evolution” of the R8 LMS is set to make its competitive debut at this weekend’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA with Car Collection Motorsport.
Announced earlier this year in July, Audi’s refined flagship sports car has since been displayed in the paddock at the Spa 24 Hours. This weekend though marks the first time that the 2022-spec R8 LMS will compete on-track.
Entered in the prototypical ‘P4’ class, as the Ligier JS2 R, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 ‘Evo’ and 991.2 generation Porsche 911 GT3 R have also done in the past, the new Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II has been entered for competition by former A6-class Teams’ champion, Car Collection Motorsport. The German team has run examples of the Audi R8 since 2016, memorably taking overall victory as an A6-Am entrant at the Hankook 12H IMOLA in 2017 as well as class victories at the Circuit of the Americas (twice), Silverstone and Navarra. The German team’s highest accolade to-date though with the Audi sports car remains its outright win at the Hankook 24H DUBAI in 2019.
Audi factory drivers Patric Niederhauser and Nathanaël Berthon lead the team’s line-up alongside Martin Lechmann and Christer Joens. 2019 ADAC GT Masters Drivers’ champion Niederhauser this year competes in VLN alongside his ADAC commitments, and also has multiple GP3 race wins and a Formula Abarth Italian title on his racing resume. Berthon meanwhile took championship honours in French Formula Renault 2.0 in 2009 and the Andros Trophy in 2016/2017, is a former race winner in GP2, and currently competes in the World Touring Car Cup with Comtoyou Team Audi Sport. Interestingly, the French driver is also a former 24H SERIES competitor having raced to 2nd in-class with Comtoyou at the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO in 2020.
Martin Lechmann has already competed with Car Collection Motorsport this year at Dubai and Hockenheim, finishing 3rd in-class at the Dubai Autodrome. Christer Joens meanwhile took SP2-GT3A with Black Falcon at the Hankook 24H DUBAI back in 2010.
Designed to be “even more customer-friendly”, the second ‘evolution’ of the R8 LMS since its debut in 2015 has been developed around five pillars: aerodynamics; engine characteristics; interior climate control; chassis; and traction control. Like the recently revised RS 3 LMS, the R8’s new rear wing is now suspended from the back, a revision that in turn now allows a greater proportion of the downforce to be generated by the spoiler rather than the floor. Consequently, the R8 is said to be more aerodynamically stable and less sensitive under heavy braking, while a more malleable traction control system simultaneously allows the driver to refine the system while cornering. Four-way adjustable shock absorbers replace two-way variable examples on the original model to permit a wider range of chassis adjustment for customer teams.
The 5.2-litre V10, producing ‘up to 585hp’ and ‘over 550Nm’ (around 406lb ft), and the six-speed sequential transmission remain intact, though a new intake system and the improved torque curve that comes with it now gives the R8 greater oomph when accelerating from low speeds. To improve driver comfort, and reduce fatigue across long distances, the Evo II also features a new air conditioning system.
Available to customer teams for 2022, the Evo II is available from €429,000 (approximately $508K), plus VAT.
“With the first evolution of 2019, we have already embarked on a path that focuses more strongly on the customer teams and the wishes from amateur sport,” head of Audi Sport customer racing Chris Reinke explained in the official Audi release. “We have now maintained this direction with many new ideas. Whether it’s engine characteristics, interior climate control, chassis, or traction control, we have consistently implemented the wishes that our globally active teams have brought to us.
“The innovations improve the driveability and they allow drivers without a professional background in particular to make better use of the power potential and torque curve for consistent lap times. Air conditioning makes it easier to concentrate in the cockpit even over long distances. The chassis features a new shock absorber solution that makes it easier for the teams to set the car up. And modified software means that traction control can be used even more individually to suit individual needs and different tire characteristics.”
Credited with 83 Drivers’ title worldwide and 106 further championship successes, the Audi R8 LMS, built at Audi’s Böllinger Höfe facility since September 2015, was also credited with overall victories in eight 12-hour and 13 24-hour events as of July this year. Among the most significant of these victories are Audi’s two overall wins at the Hankook 24H DUBAI. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT took Ingolstadt’s first outright event victory in 2016, just months after the models’ debut, while Car Collection Motorsport took the second in 2019. Both performances proved commanding: the #19 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT led 279 of the 588 laps completed in 2016, while Car Collection led all but 47 laps en-route to victory in 2019.
- Images – Petr Frýba and Audi Sport