Audi Sport toying with a road-legal GT3-inspired R8

RWD challenger to the 911 GT3 and AMG GT Black Series

On one hand, there's isn't much life left in the Audi R8, the once-sidebladed super-coupe not expected to last into a third generation. On the other hand, there's a ton of life left in the R8, the race version just having won the Nürburgring 24-hour race for the fifth time in eight years. Vital signs look good on the street-legal side, too, Audi Sport boss Oliver Hoffman telling Piston Heads his division is working on a road-going version of the GT3 car. Were such a coupe to come to fruition, it would don gloves to fight the coming Porsche 911 GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series.

We're largely talking about a return of the 2017 R8 RWS that Audi made far too few of, with sharper edges. The rear-wheel series R8 ditched the Quattro system and a hefty chunk off the R8's MSRP, to become the new entry-level offering at $139,950. The Ingolstadt carmaker called the model a "great success" and said another is under consideration, but Audi made just 999 of them in coupe and convertible forms, a mere 320 coupes allotted to the U.S.

Hoffman told PH, "We have some good ideas for a more extreme R8 as we know the powerful exterior design of our racing car is amazing — people want to drive this on the street." As has been in the past, nothing serious would change in the engine bay, as the race car's 5.2-liter V10 is "nearly unchanged" from the road car's.

Sounds like the major alterations would be weight loss, handling refinements, and perhaps adding a few racing bits. Hoffman said Frank Stippler, one of the drivers on the #4 Audi Sport Team Phoenix crew that won the 'Ring race, has been "doing a lot of work with [Audi] road cars regarding suspension and brakes."

There'll be the usual disclaimer about making a business case before a new flint-edged R8 can happen, yet it's said that higher-ups aren't against the idea; remember, former Audi Sport boss Stephan Winkelmann proposed the R8 RWS during his short tenure. Seven years before that, though, Audi built a rear-wheel drive R8 prototype that got ex-VW boss Ferdinand Piëch's blessing. For now, and more pressingly, Hoffman told PH "pedestrian safety regulations" are the greatest hurdle.

We don't know how far a potential GT3-inspired R8 would go with an aero kit. The 2015 R8 Competition, channeling the R8 LMS Ultra race car, pushed the boundaries, and it was still pretty tame. We'll go on record as saying if we got an OEM version of the the sinister R8 German tuner McChip-DKR built in 2015, well, we have two thumbs ready to go way up.

Audi R8 Information

Audi R8

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