The most powerful choice
The newly developed high-performance sports car is based on the Spyder version of the production Audi R8. The Audi R8 LMS GT2 offers a range of new fielding opportunities, so complementing its two GT3 and GT4 relatives that have been derived from the Coupé model.
The new Audi R8 LMS GT2 celebrated its world premiere at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed. Oliver Hoffmann, CEO of Audi Sport GmbH, Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing, and nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen presented the new mid-engine sports car in the south of England together with Charles Gordon-Lennox, the 11th Duke of Richmond and organiser of the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
New GT diversity
Audi Sport customer racing’s new GT2 concept stands for a unique balance of fascination and lap times. It is specifically tailored to meet the needs of gentleman drivers. “Gentleman drivers have been the backbone of GT racing for decades and in our new Audi R8 LMS GT2 we have created a special offering for them,” says Chris Reinke.
“Modern GT3 racing cars like our Audi R8 LMS, which has proved to be extremely successful and reliable for eleven years, have increasingly evolved into high-performance sports cars for pros in line with the steadily progressing professionalization of the GT3 racing category,” says Reinke. “On the other hand, the GT4 class stands for entry-level racing where we offer the Audi R8 LMS GT4 as another, equally attractive product. We have closed the gap in between with the Audi R8 LMS GT2 and are now also able to offer a tailored product to gentleman drivers and experienced amateurs,” adds the head of customer racing.
With the Audi R8 LMS GT2, Audi Sport customer racing, one of the most attractive brands in international customer racing, has systematically enlarged its portfolio once again, so continuing its model offensive. Since 2015, the company has presented a new or updated model at least once per year. Audi Sport’s customer programme has been both a racing and business success and currently rests on four pillars with three sports cars and one touring car: the new Audi R8 LMS GT2, the current evolution of the second-generation Audi R8 LMS GT3, the Audi R8 LMS GT4 and the Audi RS 3 LMS.
New top-end GT power
The Audi R8 LMS GT2 uses the so far most powerful, near-production version of the V10 engine of the R8 model range. For the first time, the proven Audi power-plant in its racing version has been designed for natural aspiration and now delivers a maximum output of 470 kW (640 hp). As a result, the GT2 model is the most powerful version of the Audi R8 LMS. For comparison: in the Audi R8 LMS that has been designed for the more modern GT3 category, the 5.2-litre V10 unit delivers a maximum output of 430 kW (585 hp) and in the Audi R8 LMS GT4 a maximum of 364 kW (495 hp).
The engine, like those of the GT3 and the GT4 models, is produced at Audi’s plant in Győr, Hungary. The current power boost has essentially been achieved by modified engine control software and the visually distinctive air intake plenum above the roof. It produces a ram-air intake effect with measurably increased power output. Factually, the Audi R8 LMS GT2 with its 470 kW (640 hp) puts 28 per cent more power on the tarmac than the previously most powerful engine version in GT3 which, due to regulatory restrictions, has so far been limited to delivering about 368 kW (500 hp).
However, in spite of its superior engine power and top speed in terms of lap times, the GT2 concept is designed not to compete with the current GT3 models. As in the R8 production models and the GT3 and GT4 versions, the naturally aspirated V10 engine with its unmistakable sound mix of throaty hissing and roaring makes for a fascinating acoustical experience also in the Audi R8 LMS GT2. The rear-wheel drive of the Audi R8 LMS GT2 is combined with the S tronic seven-speed double-clutch gearbox. It is operated by the driver using paddle shifters in the steering wheel and has proved its viability in worldwide GT racing.
A new GT driving dimension
Chris Reinke puts the systematically implemented philosophy in the Audi R8 LMS GT2 in a nutshell: “Its high longitudinal dynamics stands for a new experience with Audi while its limited lateral dynamics does not put excessive demands even on amateurs.” More engine power and more room for manoeuvres at the limit make the new GT2 version attractive for gentleman drivers and car enthusiasts seeking a hands-on experience of a super sports car of the modern GT generation.
For weight reasons, the racing suspension for the GT2 version was completely redesigned. At the front axle, the new uprights and double wishbones are combined with brake callipers of the GT3 model and at the rear axle with those of the GT4 variant. The suspension struts installed in the GT2 have been adopted from the same modular kit as those for the GT3 and GT4. In the electrohydraulic power steering system Audi uses synergies from its GT4 technology as well.
Compared with the GT4 version, the entire electronic architecture including the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Traction Control (ASR) and Electronic Stability Program (ESP) has been upgraded in the Audi R8 LMS GT2. All systems can be adjusted on multiple levels by means of new software.
“The Audi R8 LMS GT2 is wonderful to drive,” says Tom Kristensen, “and we hope that many drivers will tremendously enjoy it and have plenty of positive experiences with it on worldwide race tracks.”
Audi Sport customer racing
|Audi R8 LMS GT2||Audi R8 LMS GT3||Audi R8 LMS GT4|
|Vehicle type||Sports car according to SRO GT2 regulations||Sports car according to FIA GT3 regulations||Sports car according to GT4 regulations (SRO)|
|Engine||Normally aspirated V10 gasoline engine||Normally aspirated V10 gasoline engine||Normally aspirated V10 gasoline engine|
|Cubic capacity||5,200 ccm||5,200 cc||5,200 cc|
|Power||640 hp||Up to 585 hp*||Up to 495 hp***|
|Torque||Over 550 Nm||Over 550 Nm||Over 550 Nm***|
|Type of drive||Rear-wheel drive||Rear-wheel drive||Rear-wheel drive|
|Transmission||7-speed double-clutch S tronic transmission with paddle shifters||Sequential, pneumatically operated six-speed performance transmission with paddle shifters||7-speed double-clutch S tronic transmission with paddle shifters|
4,568 / 1,995 / 1,280
Length / Width / Height (mm)
4,573 / 1,997 / 1,171
Length / Width / Height (mm)
4,486 / 1,994 / 1,240
Length / Width / Height (mm)
|Dry weight||1,350 kg||1,235 kg**||1,460 kg (homologation weight)|
|Fuel cell capacity||110 l||120 l||110 l|
|* established by BoP of the series organizers||***depending on BOP (SRO Balance of Performance)|
|** homologation weight to be determined at a later date|
New GT fascination
Visually as well, the Audi R8 LMS GT2 exudes the unique fascination conveyed by the style of legendary sports cars. In contrast to the GT3 and GT4 versions that use the Coupé chassis as their structural base, the geometry of the Spyder variant was selected for the GT2. “We chose the Spyder base for the first time because we want to offer the ultimate high-performance sports car in the new Audi R8 LMS GT2,” explains Chris Reinke.
A large radiator at the front, a distinctive wing at the rear, a spectacular air scoop above the roof: these are the most conspicuous features of the new Audi R8 LMS GT2. As a result, its mid-engine sports car design, though representing the family’s typical tautness, clearly differs in detail from that of its siblings due to the different aerodynamic concept of the GT2 that is derived from the production Spyder. The air flow channels of the voluminous radiator have been CFD-optimized. In contrast to the GT3 and GT4, its ventilation through the bonnet is not routed via a central outlet but past the windscreen via two separate ducts on the left and right. This avoids thermal conflicts with the engine’s air intake on the roof.
The side blades in front of the rear wheels follow the form prescribed by the Audi R8 Spyder but expose a larger cross section for air intake. Air flow underneath the Audi R8 LMS GT2 is channelled by a new front splitter, a CFRP underfloor section and a rear diffusor featuring the familiar GT4 size. On the GT2 model, the rear diffusor is made of CFRP. Innovative as well is the rear suspension of the rear wing that enhances air flow to the car and generates additional downforce on the rear axle. With a dry weight of 1,350 kilograms, the Audi R8 LMS GT2 tips the scales at 100 kilograms less than the GT4 version, for instance. Rigorously optimized lightweight design has made this possible.
In its interior, the Audi R8 LMS GT2 – just like its GT3 and GT4 siblings – is systematically tailored to meet the needs of the racing driver, thus effectively emphasising the sports car characteristics in both functionally effective and visually fascinating ways. The camera-based rear-view mirror is reserved strictly to the GT2 version. It is necessary because the Audi R8 LMS GT2 does not have a rear window due to its voluminous intake section.
Proven GT safety
The Audi Space Frame (ASF) featuring an aluminium and CFRP material mix provides the basic structure of the Audi R8 LMS GT2, while a steel tube roll cage and a CFRP hard top deliver the level of safety required for racing. The tubes of the protective cage are not as thick as those in the GT4 model but of high strength due to the utilisation of higher-grade steel. As an additional safety feature, the extrusion profiles in the roof area were adopted from the R8 Coupé. The safety fuel cell is of the same design as the one in the GT4 model but has a 15-litre catch tank with a fill level sensor. A quick-refuelling valve for use in endurance racing is an available option.
In addition, the following features make the new customer racing car top-class in terms of safety: the Audi Protection Seat PS 3 that optimally surrounds and supports the driver, safety nets on the sides for additional protection, a six-point harness and the fire extinguishing system that meet the high FIA standards. Plus, the rescue hatch in the roof facilitates access for the extrication team in the event of a crash. The windscreen and side windows of lightweight and strong Makrolon are further safety features.
A precise seating position can be individually and quickly set for drivers of any physique due to pedals mounted on rails with a quick-adjustment mechanism and a safety steering column that is adjustable in height and length. Audi Sport customer racing has newly designed the doors for the GT2 model. They are made of carbon fibre and, in combination with the CFRP-AFRP honeycomb side impact protection that has been mandatory since 2019, satisfy the latest safety requirements for side impact protection.
“As always, Audi Sport has done an outstanding job,” says Tom Kristensen. “It was an honour for me to drive the so far most powerful Audi R8 on the occasion of its premiere,” the nine-time winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours enthusiastically adds.
A new GT universe
The first championships for GT2 cars will be established in Europa and North America in 2020, with the Stéphane Ratel Organisation (SRO) that has made a name for itself in GT2 racing assuming responsibility for organisation and regulations. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the SRO will also lead the GT2 class to success,” emphasises Chris Reinke. “Apart from classic racing, worldwide Track Days on legendary race tracks and Race Resorts in Europe and America already provide highly attractive fielding opportunities for high-performance sports car enthusiasts without requiring them to immediately take on the competitive and financial requirements of a full racing season.” Reinke adds: “Plus, we have a lot of other ideas in the back of our minds to make the Audi R8 LMS GT2 a desirable sports car.”
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