Monday, January 21, 2013

How to spot an Audi R16: Part 4: 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra


By Johan Laubscher

This is part 4 of our How to spot an Audi R16 article series. Part 4 focuses on the differences between the newly updated 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra and the 2012 Audi R8 LMS ultra. All five articles within this series, covering all five versions of the Audi R16, can be seen via the five links listed below:


How to spot an Audi R16: Part 4: 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra

The 2012 Audi R8 LMS ultra was the first update of the original Audi R8 LMS, which was launched in 2009. Customers were able to update their older cars to the new 2012 Audi R8 LMS ultra specification and also able to purchase brand new cars in ultra spec. The Audi R8 LMS ultra cars did very well during 2012 and quickly became one of the cars of choice within the FIA GT3 rules category. For 2013 Audi Sport customer racing has announced an updated Audi R8 LMS ultra. Again customer teams will be able to update their existing cars to this new specification as well as being able to purchase brand new cars. The newly updated car is mostly identical to the 2012 version, however there are a number technical and visual changes, most notably at the rear of the car. It should also be noted that the new updated cars will still officially be called the “Audi R8 LMS ultra,” thus in terms of the car’s name there is no differentiation between the 2012 ultra and the 2013 ultra.


To date (21 January 2013) only one real-world photo of the 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra has been released, as seen above. Thus for this comparison of the 2012 Audi R8 LMS ultra and the newly updated 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra, we will rely on the renders which have been released by Audi Sport customer racing.

Front view
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1. The 2013 ultra has the open bonnet vents. These vents were disallowed on the 2012 Audi R8 LMS ultra, during the homologation process at the beginning of 2012. During 2012, the R8 LMS ultra bodywork used a panel to cover the vent, as seen in the picture. These vents were allowed to be open in some of the various championships later in 2012.

2. The new 2013 ultra has a new set of rear-view mirrors. The new design is more rectangular with sharp edges and a smaller profile, whereas the older 2012 ultra has smoother shaped rear-view mirrors, similar to that of the road going R8. See point 3 and 14 for more details.

Side view
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3. The sharp triangular shaped tip of the new 2013 ultra rear-view mirrors can clearly be seen on the side profile, versus the smoother shape of the 2012 ultra rear-view mirrors.

4. The 2013 ultra has a new rear-wing set-up. The rear-wing is now much larger and has new rear-wing mounts which feature a swan-neck layout. It should be noted that the new rear wing is mounted on the normal bodywork mounts. See points 7 to 10 for more detail regarding the rear-wing.

5. The new 2013 ultra has a centralised exhaust outlet (not visible in this photo, please see point 12). This new position differs from the rear layout of the 2012 ultra which has its exhaust outlet visible in point 6.

6. A new much more aggressive rear diffuser is featured on the 2013 ultra. The new diffuser extends far outward, whereas the 2012 ultra (and all the other R16 versions, original R8 LMS and R8 GRAND-AM) have a rear diffuser which is within the rear contour of the side profile. See point 13 for more detail regarding the new rear diffuser.
Click on the photo for larger image

7. The rear-wing mount attachment points on the new 2013 ultra features a swan-neck design. The swan-neck refers to the rounded neck the mounts form when they attach to the rear-wing from above. The 2012 ultra has the older more conventional attachment points underneath the rear-wing.

8. The 2013 ultra has a much larger rear-wing surface area, however both the 2013 ultra and 2012 ultra rear-wings have the same overall width, which extends to the width of the car.

9. The physical rear-wing mountings of the two cars are vastly different as the 2013 ultra has the swan-neck set up. It should be noted that the new rear-wing is mounted on the normal bodywork mounting locations.

10. The new 2013 ultra has a larger end-plate to fit the new larger rear-wing configuration, however it is of a very similar appearance to that of the end-plates used on the 2012 ultra.

Rear View
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11. From the rear both cars have a similar rear-wing profile with the 2013 ultra rear-wing being slightly higher than that of the 2012 ultra. Both rear-wings have the same overall width.

12. The rear exhaust outlet locations differ on the cars. The 2012 Audi R8 LMS ultra (and all the other R16 versions, original R8 LMS and R8 GRAND-AM) have two exhaust outlets spaced outwards from each other above the rear diffuser. The new 2013 ultra has a centralised exhaust outlet. This was done to allow more space below the exhaust for the new larger rear diffuser.

13. The biggest difference between the new 2013 ultra and the 2012 ultra is the rear diffuser configuration. The new 2013 ultra has a very aggressive rear diffuser with much more pronounced airways. The 2012 ultra (and all the other R16 versions, original R8 LMS and R8 GRAND-AM) have the older rear diffuser with limited airways.

14. Here the shape of the two different rear view mirrors can also be seen in more detail. The smaller version of the 2013 ultra and the more smoother shaped version on the 2012 ultra. 


2013 Update:

Following the initial reveal of the original 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra, it emerged that the car had not yet passed homologation. A number of cars competed in the original specification, but soon the final homologation was finalised. All of the new parts were eventually allowed on the 2013 R8 LMS ultra, with the exception of the new rear diffuser (points 6 and 13 above). According to the final homologation, the older R8 LMS / ultra diffuser had to be fitted to all the new specification cars.  

Side View (Update)

Click on the photo for larger image

15. From the side the differences between the rear diffusers are very pronounced. The final homologation has switched back to the older diffuser, which is within the rear contour of the side profile, and does not protrude outwards like the original new 2013 diffuser. 

Rear View (Update)

Click on the photo for larger image

16. From the rear the differences between the new and older diffuser can clearly be seen, as the older (final homologation) diffuser is a lot simpler in its design, and not nearly as aggressive as the new 2013 diffuser. 

More information regarding the homologation saga can be read HERE.

A number of 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra cars had competed in the original full specification, before final homologation. However, following the final homologation the new aggressive rear diffuser has all but disappeared. More can be read about this HERE.

Further photos of the two 2013 versions (pre and post homologation) can be viewed HERE.

This was part 4 of our How to spot an Audi R16 article series. Part 4 focused on the differences between the newly updated 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra and the 2012 Audi R8 LMS ultra. All five articles within this series, covering all five versions of the Audi R16, can be seen via the five links listed below:

Photo credits: