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For 2009, Audi announced the production of an R8 LMS racing car, designed for the GT3 rules in the FIA GT3 European Championship and various national racing series. Known within Audi Sport as the 'R16', the R8 LMS features a 500 PS (368 kW; 493 bhp) V10 engine. Because the GT3 regulations prohibit the use of four-wheel drive, Audi had to drop its 'trademark' quattro four-wheel drive system, and the R8 LMS is only available with the typical rear-wheel drive setup. The torque is transmitted via a newly developed six-speed sequential sports gearbox.
Despite the development of the car, Audi itself had stated not to enter any races with the new GT3 car as an official 'factory' team. The car was unveiled at Essen Motor Show. The first Audi R8 LMS (chassis number 101) was delivered to Audi Sport Italia in 2009. In the 2009 24 Hours Nürburgring, and preceding VLN endurance races, Audi privateer teams had entered four cars, operated by the Abt Sportsline and Nürburging-based Phoenix race teams. Until the 19th hour, two of these R8 remained challengers for the lead, against two Manthey-operated Porsche GT3 in the same lap, before the leading #99 car suffered suspension problems. The #97 finished 2nd, and despite electrical and gearbox problems, the other two cars finished 23rd or better. Australian Mark Eddy participated in the 2010 Australian GT Championship with the first R8 LMS in the Southern Hemisphere. In the 2010 24 Hours Nürburgring, the first four spots on the grid were occupied by Audi R8.
Audi's Le Mans 24 Hour team, Joest Racing ran a pair of R8 LMS GT3's in the 2011 Bathurst 12 Hour held at the Mount Panorama Circuit, Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia on 6 February 2011. The #7 R8 driven by an all-Australian crew of Mark Eddy, multiple Bathurst 1000 winner Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff qualified on pole alongside team mates Marc Basseng, Christopher Mies and Darryl O'Young in the #8 car. Bessing, Miles and O'Young won the race from Eddy, Lowndes & Luff by just 0.71 seconds with Lowndes setting the races fastest lap and a new class lap record of 2:09.0861 for the 6.213 km long circuit on lap 267 of the 292 ran in the 12 hour time frame. FIA GT3 and Australian GT Championship cars were included in the 12 Hour for the first time in 2011. The race had previously been the domain of Group 3E Series Production Cars.
For 2012, Audi plans to enter the R8 in the Rolex Sports Car Series GT class.
In Gran TurismoEdit
R8 LMS Race Cars in several liveries appear in Gran Turismo:
- Audi R8 LMS '09
- Audi R8 LMS (Team PlayStation) '09
- Audi R8 LMS - Team Oreca '10
- Audi R8 LMS Ultra '12
- Audi R8 LMS Ultra ( Audi Sport Team Phoenix ) '12