Audi R8 LMS surpasses all expectations
Ingolstadt -- At the end of the 2009 motorsport season AUDI AG cannot only be pleased with the successful title defense in the DTM. The Audi R8 LMS made a convincing showing in its first racing season as well: The GT3 race sports car developed for customer sport clinched 23 victories and three champion's titles.
"Actually, 2009 was planned to be a year of learning for the Audi R8 LMS but our expectations were surpassed by far," said Michael Dick, who as Executive Board Member for Technical Development is also responsible for the motorsport commitment of AUDI AG. "After only one year, the R8 is already a GT3 car to be beaten."
The 525-hp race sports car that was developed by Audi Sport in close cooperation with quattro GmbH ran at a total of 76 races in various European sports car series in its first season. Highlights were the FIA GT3 European Championship win by Team Phoenix Racing with the two young Germans Christopher Haase and Christopher Mies, the triumph of Team ABT Sportsline with Christian Abt in the ADAC-GT Masters in Germany and class victories at the two 24-hour races on the Nurburgring and at Spa-Francorchamps. In addition, Phoenix Racing clinched titles in Belgium.
"The Audi R8 LMS won three of the most important GT3 racing series right away and also proved its endurance capability on the Nurburgring and at Spa," assesses Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "The decision to place the R8 LMS in its first season into the hands of teams with which Audi Sport has been working together for a long time was absolutely right. They have a major part in the success of the Audi R8 LMS."
It is a remarkable fact that the R8 LMS celebrated at least one victory wherever it competed in 2009: in the ADAC GT Masters as well as in the FIA GT3 European Championship, the national GT3 championships in Belgium, Italy and France, in the BFGoodrich Endurance Championship on the legendary Nurburgring-Nordschleife, at the 24-hour race on the Nurburgring and at Spa-Francorchamps and, finally, on the first November weekend also at a wild card run in the "International Open GT" racing series in Spain.
The experience gained at the 76 racing commitments in collaboration with Teams ABT Sportsline, Argo-Racing, Audi Sport Italia, Oreca, Phoenix Racing and Team Rosberg is now being fed into the final version of the Audi R8 LMS to be delivered at the end of March 2010 to customer teams at a price of 298,000 euros (plus VAT).
"The interest by customers all over the world is huge," says Oliver Straube, who is responsible for marketing the Audi R8 LMS at Audi Sport. "We could clearly sell more cars in 2010 than we originally planned but we will limit ourselves to a maximum of 15 vehicles in order to be able to offer our customers the type of service they can expect Audi Sport to deliver."