Audi readies US Le Mans fighter

2011-12-13 09:07

INGOLSTADT, Germany - Audi's R8 Grand-Am successfully completed its baptism of fire as the new model was fine-tuned at the Daytona race track in Florida.
The new R8 Grand-Am is based on the extremely successful R8 LMS which has claimed more than 110 victories and 13 titles.

The GT3 race car was used by Quattro GmbH to develope a vehicle for the Grand Touring class of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series in the US.
During testing, driver Frank Stippler completed about 1000km in the visually conspicuous test car which sports a stars-and-stripes design.

After track tests in Europe the R8 Grand-Am now has significant modifications compared to the GT3 race car and required a new set-up. The 5.2-liter V-10 engine has its power reduced to 330/345kW by an air restrictor and the engine electronics.

The capacity of the fuel tank, which can now be filled on both sides of the vehicle, is limited to 83.2 litres. An optimized radiator package that Audi developed for the R8 LMS ultra is also used in the R8 Grand-Am.

The new front splitter may only protrude from the front contours by 38mm and the front underbody must be flat.

The rear diffuser corresponds to the production car component, but the standardised rear wing is only 152cm wide and thus 260mm slimmer than the rear wing of the R8 LMS. In addition, regulations prescribe a ride height of 65mm - roughly 10mm more than the minimum in the FIA series.

Audi R8 Grand-Am

STARS AND STRIPES: The new Audi R8 Grand-Am sports US patriotic stars-and-stripes livery. The rating of the new racer is still undecided as engineers test the vehicle's 5.2-liter V10 FSI engine.

Romolo Liebchen, head of customer sport at quattro GmbH said: "We successfully tested all the modifications at Daytona. With Frank Stippler we developed a sound and solid set-up for our customers and gathered valuable findings in the endurance tests.


"The durability of wearing parts and runs at high air temperatures meet challenging demands. We can now provide our racing customers with concrete advice and reference values for fielding the car," said Liebchen.
APR Motorsport from Opelika in Alabama will be the first team to field the R8 Grand-Am. The squad is planning to contest the Daytona 24-hours and the remainder of the races with its own driver combinations.

Negotiations with three other teams are currently in the closing stage. A maximum of four R8 Grand-Am cars will be delivered for the 2012 season to ensure individual support and coordinated logistics.

The Daytona 24-hours race will take place over January 28/29 2012.