For the first time ever, Audi Sport will offer a race spec sports R8 developed specifically for private customer use in the form of the new R8 GT3.
Named for its competition class not to be mistaken with its Porsche brethren, the R8 GT3 conforms to all official race regulations meaning any average Joe millionaire can enter numerous national and international race series from the showroom.
"Ever since the R8 was unveiled we’ve been inundated with enquiries about a race version. With the Audi R8 we will offer customers a racing sportscar equipped with high-calibre technology and the typical Audi qualities, but which is nevertheless easy to handle." explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich.
However with the prohibition of all-wheel drive, the R8 GT3 instead uses a rear-drive setup through a newly developed six-speed sequential sports gearbox.
Power is expected to be north of 375kW from its mid-mounted naturally-aspirated V8 engine lifted from the road-going version.
Its race-bred looks are both wild and functional, with an exaggerated adaptation of the standard R8 kit giving the GT3 the down force it needs for competitive track use.
The interior has been stripped out and fitted with Recaro race bucket seats and a raft of safety features which would not seem out of place in any elite racing championship.
The logistics and factory space required for the AUDI AG customer programme will be created over the next few months in Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm and Györ, with the first models available to customers by mid-2009.