By Tarek Ramchani
Earlier this year, Audi Sport customer racing introduced the brand new Audi R8 LMS. An FIA GT3 spec racer based on the second generation Audi R8 road going model.
The new car is having a successful debut so far. A mind blowing outright win at the demanding Nurburgring 24 Hours, a race win in the VLN Endurance Championship and some strong performances in the selected Blancpain Endurance Series events.
The new Audi R8 LMS will be heading to the Spa 24 Hours and will try to give the Four Rings a fourth overall win in the Belgian Ardennes. Before that we asked a selection of Audi factory drivers about the difference between the new Audi R8 LMS and the all conquering and already legendary Audi R8 LMS ultra.
It is a big difference but a very positive one. The new car is much easier to drive - I love it. There is a better range to set-up the car for different driving styles and great interior cooling. But the drivability was the main focus to improve. The up and down shifting is much better, the traction control is supersensitive, and now we have the important buttons on the steering wheel.
For the long distance races, when there are multiple drivers sharing a car, there is now the possibility to change the pedalbox to get the best possible seat position for each driver. And of course the new R8 LMS just looks amazing.
For us drivers the new car is better, quicker and has a better fuel efficiency. Everything has been improved (TC, ABS...) compared to the seven-year old first generation model.
That said, it won't be that obvious to see very big improvements on track. After all GT3 racing is all about Balance of Performance.
You can feel straight away jumping in the new R8 that the Audi engineers put some serious effort into this car to make it better. For us drivers the Interior handling and also the driver comfort is much better. Also driving the car feels better, even more like a race car than the previous one.
But it is still a new car, even though they won the 24h Nürburgring, we still need to fine-tune the car especially with the Pirelli Tires.
The new Audi R8 LMS is a real racer. In the past the organisers wanted to have GT3 cars too close to their road cars counterparts.
That was the case of the Audi R8 LMS ultra, a great car but too close to the Audi R8 road going model. Now we have a true race car with a lot of improvements. The new Audi R8 LMS is stronger and drivers feel a lot better behind the wheel of it.
Photo credit: Audi Media