Audi Sport customer racing is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Following the introduction of the first generation of the Audi R8 LMS in 2008, the first customers began racing the GT3 sports car the following season and immediately won three driver championship titles.
To date, the number of these successes has increased to 52 around the world, plus other class titles and victories scored in 12, 24 and even 25-hour races. Audi Sport customer racing has by now built 531 racing cars for its international customers.
“Audi Sport customer racing today is experiencing the largest model offensive in its history,” says Michael-Julius Renz, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “In 2018 we’re aiming for our fifth overall victory in the world’s biggest endurance race, the 24 Hours of Nürburgring.
“The race is under the banner of our anniversary which we’re celebrating with the customers, fans and friends of our company.” 33 racing cars from the current model range are competing in three classes at the Nürburgring.
The GT3 version of the Audi R8 LMS is battling for overall victory, the Audi R8 LMS GT4 and the Audi RS 3 LMS are competing for class wins. At the same time, the Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup entrants are relying on both versions of the Audi R8 LMS, whereas seven Audi RS 3 LMS cars will be on the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup grid.
The first two overall victories in the iconic endurance race at the Nürburgring in 2012 and 2014 were we won by the first generation of the Audi R8 LMS that also won the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
In 2011, Audi Sport customer racing extended its program by a model for a small but mighty niche. Customers at the Nürburgring and in various club-sport series’ have been supplied with the Audi TT RS, a 380 hp, front-wheel drive version of the road car, in addition to a large number of class victories in Europe and the United States.
The TT RS also scored the overall win in the 2011 VLN Endurance Championship round at the Nürburgring, against cars with much more power. In 2013, the TT RS went on to take the victory against high-calibre GT sports cars in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill in California.
In 2015, Audi presented two new race cars. For three years, the Audi TT cup car was the car used in the one-make Audi Sport TT Cup. The second generation of the Audi R8 LMS with its uprated 585 hp engine set the standard regarding safety and continued the success of the first model. Endurance racing victories at Daytona, the Nürburgring, Spa, Bathurst, Sepang and Laguna Seca, plus championship wins around the globe underlined its dominance.
Audi has produced over 100 of the 2nd generation R8 LMS. It shares 50% of its component assemblies with the road going version, including the low-maintenance and high-powered V10 engine.
At the end of 2016, Audi Sport customer racing launched the Audi RS 3 LMS. The front wheel drive car is built for the TCR class. The car is built in Spain alongside the Seat Cupra TCR.
166 of this version of the RS3 LMS have been built so far, and it has gone on to win five championships in its first competitive season.
The most recent addition to the range is the Audi R8 LMS GT4. A one-two class win in the 24 Hours of Dubai marked a brilliant start to the season in January 2018. In the first six months, Audi Sport has produced 65 of these models. The Audi R8 LMS GT4 is made at Böllinger Höfe using the same manufacturing facilities as the production model with which it shares 60 percent of its components.
“The interest by our customers and their successes show that our model offensive is paying off,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “In the current season alone, our teams have contested 158 races across all classes and celebrated 53 victories in the process. We’re proud of having such strong teams and drivers among our customers in a fiercely competitive environment.”
In addition to the events contested by its customers, Audi Sport customer racing competes in the Intercontinental GT Challenge, the FIA GT World Cup and the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup. The company also supports individual teams at significant events such as the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and Spa.