Audi Sport has not ruled out developing a small-volume quattro ‘hypercar’ to sit above the mid-engined R8 V10 and rival the imminent, Formula One-derived Mercedes-AMG Project One.
Speaking with CarAdvice at the Bathurst 12 Hours GT3 enduro race, Audi Sport boss Stephan Winkelmann said there was potential for a flagship model that tests the value of the brand, a la the in-development, Formula One-engined AMG Project One.
Audi Sport — formerly known as quattro GmbH — is the division responsible for Audi’s R8 and RS-badged road cars, and various racing programs. Before taking the reins a year ago, Winkelmann was head of fellow Volkswagen AG subsidiary Lamborghini.
“Coming from a brand where we did this in the past and we put it to a new level… if it’s about a very limited car with a high price to test the value of the brand it might be a good idea,” he told us.
We asked him if it would need some connection to elite motorsport, and if so, whether Audi’s withdrawal from the World Endurance Championships (WEC), partially due to cutbacks following VW AG’s diesel emissions cheat saga, would hurt any hypothetical development of such a project.
“It should always have a story to tell, there should be some heritage and something that is consistent and clear with the history or the future of Audi,” Winkelmann said.
“We’re just speaking hypothetically. But I think everything can be judged in one way or another. I see that there is a potential for those type of cars in Audi Sport, and given the history we have in racing, with Silver Arrows, WEC and GT3 cars as you see here, there are many ideas.”
Could such a project be shared with Lamborghini to spread costs?
“No no no,” was the response.
Is the idea of an Audi Sport hyper-car still pie-in-the-sky thinking, in all probability?
“Exactly,” Winkelmann said.
Still, it’s food for thought…
As you can read in detail, the much-hyped Mercedes-AMG Project One is going to offer up an enormous amount of power – more than 1000 horses worth, according to Mercedes-AMG head Tobias Moers.
Speaking at the 2017 Detroit motor show, Moers said the Project One car – a working title for the new hypercar that has previously been referred to as the R50 – would use a formula one-derived powertrain adapted for the road, with 750kW.
The F1-powered model will have an altered drivetrain with “more than 25 kilometres” of electric range from variable electric motors on the front axle (we presume the 1.6-litre V6 engine from the F1 team garage will power the rears).
MORE: 2017 Audi R8 V10 Review