Audi R8 LMS GT4 debuts in New York, a ready-made race car

The new
Audi R8 LMS GT4 race car has made its debut at this year’s
New York Auto Show. Since
2009, the Audi R8 LMS GT3 has been available for customer purchase, but this new model is intended to be even more affordable. LMS GT-class racing is some of the most entertaining out there. Unlike racing series such as Formula 1,
NASCAR, or even the
World Rally Championship, GTE, GT3, and GT4 cars are still based heavily on cars you can find on
dealer lots today.

The GT4 class was created to have a true entry-level racing series. Homologation keeps the cars closer to their production counterparts than any of the other GT classes. Engines, bodywork, and suspension are all similar to production versions, though substantially beefed up for racing. In the case of the Audi R8 LMS GT4, more than 60 percent its parts are shared with the
R8 coupe. That means parts are plentiful and relatively affordable.

There are some significant changes between the production and racing versions. First, the V10 in the road car is actually far more powerful. The R8 LMS GT4 is limited to 495 horsepower, though that can vary slightly to meet different regulations. Also, rather than having
Audi’s wonderful Quattro all-wheel drive system, the R8 LMS GT4 is rear-wheel drive. Power is sent to the wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Though the car is set to make its debut next month at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, it won’t actually be competing until the start of the 2018 season. Audi is simply tuning the car at different tracks before asking for approval at the end of the year. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but expect it to fall between the $145,000 of the RS3 LMS and the $450,000 of the R8 LMS GT3. That’s not nothing, but in the world of professional racing, it’s a relative bargain.

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