The brand new Audi R8 GRAND-AM flew through its final test at Daytona International Speedway before its race debut in January's Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Frank Stippler put the car – in stars and stripes livery – through over 1000km of testing around the road course at the high banked superspeedway over the two day test. “With Frank Stippler we developed a sound and solid set-up for our customers and also gathered valuable findings in the endurance tests,” said Romolo Liebchen, Head of Customer Sport at quattro GmbH, the company that has developed the car.
“The durability of wearing parts and runs at high outside temperatures meet challenging demands. We can now provide our racing customers with concrete advice and reference values for fielding the car.”
The new car differs significantly from the R8 LMS model that has become one of the most successful GT3 cars since its introduction – winning over 100 races and 13 titles.
The regulations for the GT class for the Rolex Sports Car Series which the car will enter demand certain modified body parts, which subtract 70 to 80% of the aerodynamic grip of the sister car. Grand-am demand the underbody of the car must be flat, and the rear diffuser match that found on the production car, Regulations also demand a smaller front splitter and slimmer rear wing – the R8 GRAND-AM's is 26cm narrower than the GT3 racer.
The technical regulations also prescribe a minimum ride height 1cm higher than that found in FIA series.
The two day test also gave the quattro Gmbh crew the chance to familiarise themselves with the Roles Series' spec tyre supplier, Continental. The different tyres, as well as the fact ABS and traction control are outlawed in Grand-Am obviously affect the suspicion set-ups that will be used by the customer teams who take on the Audi R9 GRAND-AM for its first season.
The first of these teams has already been confirmed as the APR Motorsport from Alabama. Only a maximum of four of the new cars will be delivered to teams in order to maintain individual support for the teams.
Testing for the Rolex 24 at Daytona continues in the new year with The Roar Before The 24 three day test on January 6-8. The 50th running of the 24 hour race takes place on January 28-29.