Audi R8 LMS – Click above for high-res gallery

Audi officials in Neckarsulm, Germany have just handed over the first of a dozen R8 LMS race cars to Audi Sport Italia. The remaining race cars will be delivered to that team and five others over the next month and a half in preparation for the 2009 racing season that begins next month. The GT3 class, 500+hp V10 R8s will be run in five different championships across Europe this summer as Audi works out the kinks in the third branch of its racing program. The R8 LMS joins the LMP1 R15 TDI that debuts next week at the 12 Hours of Sebring and, of course, the A4s that run in the DTM.

Audi is looking to follow the successful (and highly profitable) path set out by Porsche with its customer race programs over the years. It will be interesting to watch how such programs evolve in the future with Porsche now firmly in control of the Volkswagen Group, including Audi.


Related GalleryAudi R8 LMS

[Source: Audi]


Delivery of the Audi R8 LMS has started - Audi Sport Italia receives car with chassis number 101

- Six teams rely on the new GT3 sports car
- First races in April INGOLSTADT/NECKARSULM, Germany, Mar 12, 2009
- The new customer sport program of AUDI AG has reached the next stage with delivery of the first Audi R8 LMS to Audi Sport Italia. Twelve examples of the over 500 hp GT3 sports car will be delivered during the forthcoming weeks to six customer teams. The first races for the R8 LMS are scheduled for April.

Audi Sport Italia receives the Audi R8 LMS with chassis number 101. The symbolic handover of the first customer car was made on Tuesday in the Audi Forum Neckarsulm. Emilio Radaelli, Team Manager of Audi Sport Italia, accepted the R8 LMS from Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.

"In the future our new customer sport program represents Audi Sport's third business field alongside our factory programs in the DTM and in sport prototypes," explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "2009 is a test and development year during which we aim to collect as much experience as possible with the R8 LMS. We are delighted to be able to do this with teams with which we are familiar and have established a solid partnership over the years."

In the 2009 season, Abt Sportsline, Argo Racing, ORECA, Phoenix Racing and Team Rosberg also trust the new GT3 sports car from AUDI AG. Audi Sport will start the delivery to customers for the 2010 season from fall 2009.

The six customer teams plan to race in five European GT3 championships as well as in the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring for which Audi Sport has developed an endurance version of the R8 LMS.

Twelve R8 LMS sports cars will be in action in more than 40 events at almost 30 European circuits throughout the 2009 motorsport season. "This allows us to collect a lot of experience which will flow into the development of the R8 LMS," says Oliver Straube who is responsible for marketing of the R8 LMS at Audi Sport.

With the GT3 race version of the R8, Audi Sport developed a racing sports car specifically for use in customer sport with the GT3 race version. Pure "factory" entries are not planned with the R8 LMS.

The assembly of the race cars including the body shells is made by quattro GmbH in Heilbronn-Biberach in a factory hall specifically for the customer sport program. The Audi factory in Györ, Hungary, deliver the V10 engines.

The new Audi R8 LMS competes in GT3 race series for the first time over the Easter weekend (10 to 13 April). The French GT Championship and the ADAC GT Masters start at the same time at Nogaro (France) and in the Motorsportarena Oschersleben (Germany).

2009 Schedule

FIA GT3 European Championship (Phoenix Racing, Team Rosberg)

05/03 Silverstone (GB)
05/17 Adria (I)
06/21 Oschersleben (D)
09/13 Algarve (P)
10/04 Paul Ricard (F)
11/14 Dubai (UAE)

ADAC GT Masters (Abt Sportsline, Argo Racing, Phoenix Racing, Team Rosberg)

04/13 Oschersleben (D)
05/10 Assen (NL)
06/07 Hockenheim (D)
07/05 EuroSpeedway (D)
08/23 Nürburgring (D)
09/20 Sachsenring (D)
10/18 Oschersleben (D)

French GT Championship (ORECA)

04/13 Nogaro (F)
05/10 Dijon-Prenois (F)
05/31 Magny-Cours (F)
07/05 Val de Vienne (F)
09/06 Albi (F)
10/04 Paul Ricard (F)
10/18 Lédenon (F)

Italian GT Championship (Audi Sport Italia)

05/31 Vallelunga (I)
06/07 Magione (I)
06/21 Mugello (I)
07/19 Misano (I)
09/06 Imola (I)
09/27 Mugello (I)
10/18 Monza (I)

Belgiam GT Championship (Phoenix Racing)

04/26 Zolder (B)
05/10 Spa-Francorchamps (B)
06/06 Spa-Francorchamps (B)
07/11 Spa-Francorchamps (B)
08/22 Zolder (B)
09/20 Algarve (P)
10/11 Zolder (B)

Long distance championship Nürburgring (Phoenix Racing)

04/04 Nürburgring (D)
04/18 Nürburgring (D)
05/02 Nürburgring (D)
06/13 Nürburgring (D)
06/27 Nürburgring (D)
07/18 Nürburgring (D)
08/29 Nürburgring (D)
10/03 Nürburgring (D)
10/17 Nürburgring (D)
10/31 Nürburgring (D)