It doesn’t get much better than this.
First thing’s first, the bad news: the Audi R8’s long-term future is looking bleak. Chances are, the current second generation V10-powered supercar will be not be replaced at the end of its lifecycle with an all-new R8. Instead, Audi Sport’s halo model is said to become an all-electric supercar and we kind of doubt the R8 nameplate will be used. The good news: this doesn’t mean Audi Sport is done with the current R8 just yet.
There’s more to be done and Piston Heads has learned that Audi’s performance division is preparing a rear-drive R8 heavily influenced by the GT3 race car, pictured here. Audi Sport division boss, Oliver Hoffman, acknowledged that since Audi Sport currently lacks an equivalent to Porsche’s GT models and AMG’s upcoming Black Series, something needs to be done.
The answer is a GT3-inspired R8. “We have some good ideas for a more extreme R8 as we know the powerful exterior design of our racing car is amazing – people want to drive this on the street,” Hoffman told Piston Heads at last weekend’s Nurburgring 24 Hours, which the Audi Sport R8 LMS GT3 won. “The racing car engine is almost identical to the road car’s, so that’s already proven, but we have the GT3 drivers doing chassis testing for us. For example, Frank Stippler, he’s driving our GT3 car and is also our development guy doing the Nurburgring testing for road cars.”
Stippler, who was one of the winning drivers over the weekend, is “doing a lot of work with (Audi) road cars regarding suspension and brakes,” Hoffman added.
This can fairly be assumed to mean the next RWD R8 will incorporate a GT3-derived chassis too. Hoffman also confirmed the naturally aspirated V10 will remain hybrid-free. The most powerful R8 variant on sale today has 620 hp and this could possibly be outdone in the relatively near future. Because a GT3-inspired R8 would likely ditch the Quattro AWD system, serious amounts of weight can be saved. Combined with additional aerodynamic elements allowing for improved downforce, this potential street legal rear-wheel-drive R8 GT3 would be quite something. Hoffman and crew seem to be intent on making it happen.