The Audi R8 Grand-Am was successfully fine-tuned at the Daytona race track during its final test on Tuesday and Wednesday. The development of the next customer sport race car from Audi Sport customer racing has been completed. The car will be delivered to the first customers by January.
The new Audi R8 Grand-Am is based on the Audi R8 LMS that has scored more than 110 victories and 13 titles. From this GT3 race car quattro GmbH developed a vehicle for the Grand Touring class of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series in the USA.
On the two test days, Frank Stippler completed about 1000 kilometers (600 miles) in a racer with a stars-and-stripes design. The engineers prepared the car for the Daytona 24 Hours at which private racing customers will compete with the R8 Grand-Am on January 28th and 29th.
The Audi R8 Grand-Am clearly differs from the GT3 “sister model” and required a fundamentally new set-up. Downforce, for instance, is drastically lower. About 70 to 80 percent of aerodynamic grip is lost because the Grand-Am regulations prescribe modified body components. The new front splitter may only protrude from the front contours by 38 millimeters, for example. The front underbody must have a flat design. The rear diffuser corresponds to the production car component, while the standardized rear wing is only 152 centimeters wide and thus 260 millimeters slimmer than the rear wing of the R8 LMS. In addition, the regulations prescribe a ride height of 65 millimeters – which is about 10 millimeters more than the minimum in the FIA series.
The rating of the Audi R8 Grand-Am is still an open issue. By January, a balance of performance is to be achieved between the various vehicles in the GT class. Audi has made one of the 5.2 liter V10 FSI engines used in the Audi R8 Grand-Am available to the series’ engineers for a precise performance analysis. The engine’s power output and homologation weight will only be defined once this rating is available.
One of the customer teams for the 2012 season has already been determined. APR Motorsport from Opelika in the US state of Alabama will be the first team to field the Audi R8 Grand-Am. The squad is planning to contest the Daytona 24 Hours and the remainder of the races with its own driver combinations. Negotiations with three other teams are currently in the closing stage. A maximum of four Audi R8 Grand-Am cars will be delivered for the 2012 season.