This weekend a new era begins in American sports car racing with the Rolex 24 at Daytona to kick off the new United SportsCar Championship, the freshly inked union between the Grand Am and American Le Mans Series. There'll be a wide variety of machinery lining up on the grid at the Florida speedway, including race-ready versions of the sports cars you can drive on the road, plus Daytona Prototypes, Le Mans Prototypes and even the DeltaWing. But at the front of the pack will be the Audi R8 5.2 FSI.

That's because Ingolstadt's flagship has been named as the official safety car for this, the 52nd annual Rolex 24 at Daytona. And so the R8 becomes the first pace car pressed into service for the United SportsCar Championship, although the model also paced last year's race (pictured above) when it was under the auspices of the Grand Am series.

The car in question appears to bear little in the way of modifications over the showroom version, save for some requisite graphics and maybe some emergency lighting to make it more visible – because while you wouldn't miss an R8 slicing its way through ordinary traffic on the road, it's another story entirely in a field full of competition machinery. Audi points out that the road-going R8 shares a good 50 percent of its components with the R8 LMS competing in the race, including its 5.2-liter V10 engine that's available this year with a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
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AUDI R8 V10 ANNOUNCED AS OFFICIAL SAFETY CAR FOR 2014 ROLEX 24 HOURS AT DAYTONA

• Audi R8 V10 is the Official Safety Car for second year in a row at the iconic 2014 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona
• Audi excited to lead the field for inaugural race of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship with the R8 V10 road car
• Audi R8 V10 offers exceptional balance between performance at the limit and ease of driving for daily use.


For the second year in a row, the Audi R8 V10 will lead the field of cars at the 2014 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

"We are excited to be the Official Safety Car of the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series for the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona," said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. "Watching the R8 V10 make its way around the track on the banked turns of Daytona as the safety car will further prove its ability to offer incredible balance as a car for the track and on the road."

The Audi R8 V10 and the R8 LMS share more than 50% of their parts and components including the V10 naturally aspirated engine and the fully aluminum ASF® that provides a very stiff and lightweight chassis that weighs less than 500 pounds. The 13,000 mile engine service interval under race conditions is a testament to the durability of the R8 LMS. Where other race engines require servicing after a twenty-four hour race, the 5.2 liter V10 FSI engine in the R8 LMS can race a whole season without a major overhaul.

The 2014 model year Audi R8 V10 5.2 liter engine generates 525 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque which accelerates from 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds. New for the 2014 model year is the 7-speed S tronic transmission that offers incredibly quick and smooth shifting between the gears including skipping gears automatically when downshifting for exceptional control and performance. The highly praised gated manual transmission is also available standard while the double clutch S tronic is available as an option.

The Audi R8 V10 road car is equipped with magnetic ride which allows the suspension to be stiffened for more dynamic driving or to offer a more comfortable ride. Standard waved brake rotors provide better heat dissipation as well as offer a nine pound weight reduction compared to conventional brake rotors which reduces unsprung weight. The R8 V10 is available as a coupe or Spyder.

The Audi R8 model line is also available as a V8 coupe or Spyder with 425 horsepower in a manual transmission or with the available 7-speed S tronic. For maximum performance, the R8 V10 Plus offers 550 horsepower, is 130 pounds lighter than the V10 and reaches 60 mph in a breathtaking 3.3 seconds.

The Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona race will take start at 2:30 pm on Saturday, January 25 and end twenty-four hours later on the Sunday, January 26th.

The full television schedule to watch all of the action is as follows:

Saturday, Jan. 25
2-4 p.m. EST on FOX
4-9 p.m. EST on FOX Sports 2

Overnight (Jan. 25-26)
9 p.m. – 7 a.m. EST on IMSA.com (includes live images, in-car cameras and announcers)

Sunday, Jan. 26
7 a.m. – 3 p.m. EST on FOX Sports 1

ABOUT AUDI
Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. Audi was a top-performing luxury brand in Europe during 2012, and broke all-time company sales records in the U.S. Through 2016, AUDI AG will invest about $17 billion on new products, facilities and technologies. Visit www.audiusa.com or www.audiusanews.com for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.


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