Audi has created an R8 that looks like it would rather kill things than win races, but knowing Audi it will probably just stick to winning. The customer-team specific R8 GT3 will be officially unveiled at the Essen Motor Show, which begins November 28. The car gets more than 500 horsepower going entirely to its rear wheels since GT3 rules give a big no-no to all-wheel-drive systems like Audi's quattro. The German will be testing its mettle against equally hot racers like the Aston Martin DBRS9 and Jaguar XKR GT3. To Aston and Jag, though: you might want to hide your young. And for those of you who make it to the Essen show, you should also look out for the Audi R10, A4 DTM, RS6 Sedan and TTS Coupe. Check out the release after the jump, and the gallery of high-res photos below.
Audi at the Essen Motor Show
Race version of the Audi R8 in the limelight
* World premiere of the motorsport version of the Audi R8
* Presentation of the motorsport program for the 2009 season
* Attractive vehicles in the current Audi model portfolio
Audi is set to present a world premiere at the Essen Motor Show from November 28 to December 7: the brand with the four rings will be unveiling a race version of the Audi R8 with over 500 horsepower. During the press conference on November 28, Audi will also be presenting its plans for the 2009 motorsport season. This year's winning Le Mans car and Timo Scheider's victorious DTM car will be lining up in Essen alongside numerous attractive production models.
The version of the Audi R8 specially developed for customer teams will be celebrating its world premiere in Essen. From fall 2009, therefore, Audi Sport will for the first time offer a racing car that was specifically developed for customer use.
"Ever since the Audi R8 was unveiled we've been inundated with inquiries about a race version. With the Audi R8, we will offer customers a racing car packed with sophisticated technology and characteristic Audi quality, but which is nevertheless easy to handle," says Head of Audi Motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. The first prototype completed its first tests in mid-August with Audi works driver Frank Biela at the wheel.
The new GT sports car will be joined in Essen by other successful members of the Audi motorsport family: this year's winning Le Mans car, the Audi R10 TDI driven by Rinaldo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish, and the Audi A4 DTM in which Timo Scheider clinched the championship title just a few weeks ago. On Friday, November 28 at 2 pm, the Audi motorsport boss will be appearing on AUDI AG's stand in Hall 3 to report for the first time on Audi's plans for the 2009 season.
The motorsport highlights will also be accompanied by an attractive selection from Audi's current model range. The production R8 together with the RS and S models are the link between motorsport and series production. In Essen, the brand with the four rings will be showing the Audi R8, the Audi RS 6 Sedan, the Audi TTS Coupé as the top-of-the range model in the TT line, the Audi S3 as the top model in the A3 line and the Audi S4 as the sporty highlight in the A4 family. The S4 will be celebrating its German show premiere in Essen. It will be joined there by the Audi Q5 3.0 TDI quattro, the Audi Q7 V12 TDI quattro and the Audi A5 Coupé 2.0 T quattro.
AUDI AG sold a total of 964,151 cars in 2007 and thus achieved its twelfth consecutive record year. With revenue of €33,617 million and profit before tax of €2,915 million, the company attained its best figures ever. Audi produces vehicles in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm (Germany), Györ (Hungary), Changchun (China) and Brussels (Belgium). At the end of 2007, production of the Audi A6 started in Aurangabad, India. The company is active in more than 100 markets worldwide. AUDI AG's wholly owned subsidiaries include Automobili Lamborghini Holding S.p.A. in Sant'Agata Bolognese (Italy) and quattro GmbH in Neckarsulm. Audi currently employs around 57,000 people worldwide, including 45,000 in Germany. The brand with the four rings invests more than €2 billion each year in order to sustain the company's technological lead embodied in its "Vorsprung durch Technik" slogan. Audi plans to significantly increase the number of models in its portfolio by 2015 to 40.