Strap yourselves in, the fastest-ever Audi R8 is ready to roar!
Last week we brought you spy shots of the harder, lighter version of the firm’s supercar at the Nürburgring circuit in Germany. Now it has been unveiled at the Essen Motor Show, the country’s premier motorsport expo. Called the R8 LMS, it will take the fight to the Porsche 911 and Aston Martin DBR9 on racetracks around Europe but, more importantly, it give us an exciting glimpse of the forthcoming flagship V10-engined R8, which is due in UK showrooms late 2009.
Audi’s motorsport division has made a series of tweaks to the standard car to ensure that the R8 LMS is the ultimate ‘off-the-shelf’ racer. But it’s not purely a track-based toy – thanks to homologation rules for the GT3 class, Audi is obliged to build a small run of road-legal models, too.
Visually, the LMS packs a punch even when standing still. The wide bodykit, ground-hugging front splitter and wild rear wing give the car a menacing appearance, but also serves to produce masses of downforce at speed.
It’s under the bonnet where this car really shines though. Gone is the 420bhp V8 from the road-going machine, and in its place is a high-revving 500bhp 5.2-litre V10 mated to a six-speed sequential box, operated via wheel-mounted paddles.
The hydraulics used in the gearbox are borrowed straight from Audi’s Le Mans 24 Hours-winning R10 prototype, so shifts should be virtually instant. And with a kerbweight of 1,250kg, it promises to deliver stunning performance – 0-60mph in less than four seconds and a top speed of well over 200mph.
Up to eight customer cars will compete in different European race series and at the Nürburgring 24 Hours. Audi Sport has developed a special endurance version of the R8 LMS for that event which comes with a 120-litre fuel tank.
The first customers are scheduled to take delivery of the new car next autumn. But dream racing cars don’t come cheap: the R8 LMS will set you back £206,000.
For full details on Audi's super racer don't forget to get your copy of this week's Auto Express - on sale Wednesday 3rd December.
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