New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

R8 to exchange quattro for RWD?

2010-03-17 07:51

Rear-wheel drive. Naturally aspirated V8 power. Plenty of carbon-fibre bits. This R8 is not built for posing. Soon you might get to stick a number plate on the front too…

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Audi
Model R8 GT3
Engine 4.2l V8
Audi’s R8 supercar could soon be available in rear-wheel drive after the success of its GT3 specification race car.

When Audi set about the FIA European GT championship last year it was optimistic. Porsche’s 911 GT3 has been a dominant track machine in GT racing for years though. Surprisingly, Audi won the championship.

In an attempt to translate this track success to commercial gain, Ingolstadt is now considering a no-compromise road-going version of its latest track racing star.

Family fight

The marketing rationale behind a road-going R8 GT3 would be very much in-line with Porsche’s GT3 production cycle – where a new GT3 derivative is launched practically each year, enabling Porsche to turn a premium profit opportunity on negligible development work…

To this end Audi’s R8 project leader, Armin Kappler, has built a single road-going R8 GT3 to test the concept.

Allegedly VW Group boss Ferdinand Piech is quite taken up with the idea – and what Ferdinand likes, inevitably gets built. Remember, this is the guy who signed off the Bugatti Veyron...

Tarmac scraping front splitter, bonnet aero-duct cut outs and huge rear wing distinguishes the GT3 from its R8 road-car siblings...

No quattro?

Perhaps the most notable consequence of a road-going R8 GT3 will be its effect on Audi quattro branding.

The race car is rear-wheel drive (due to regulations) and any road-cars will follow suit, which could put Audi in a peculiar position as its fastest road-going car may well be two-wheel drive in a few years time.

On the grid R8 GT3 produces 370kW from its 4.2l V8 engine, although this will be trimmed down for road-use due to induction and gas-exchange modifications to bring it in-line with emission and noise regulations.

A figure around 350kW (RS5 produces 335kW from the selfsame engine) would appear entirely probable for the R8 GT3 road-car…

Beyond the rear-wheel drive configuration another significant difference between a R8 GT3 road-car and other R8s would be its six-speed sequential transmission instead of a dual-clutch set-up, which is championed by all other Audi performance cars.

Considering the R8 is now midway through its product lifecycle we’d postulate the possibility of a road-going R8 GT3 coming to market next year as a strong possibility. If one considers there are around 50 R8 GT3 racing cars set for delivery this season, one could say Audi's nearly tooled-up for volumes justifying limited series road car production.

If a road car version of R8 GT3 does come to fruition, it will surely make for a bitter sibling rivalry with Porsche’s GT3 range…We just hope they retain that rear wing.


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