Audi has completed testing of its new R8 Grand-Am racer, and is now ready to begin delivering cars to customers in January 2012. The R8 Grand-Am, which is based on the company’s Le Mans-winning R8 LMS race car, was tested last week at Daytona International Speedway in anticipation of the car’s debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona race next month.
The first customer-backed R8 Grand-Am will be operated by Alabama-based APR Motorsport. The company will compete in the 24 Hours of Daytona on January 28 and 29, and then will continue in the remainder of 2012’s Grand-Am race series. The car has been painted with a unique stars-and-stripes paint scheme.
Audi says that its R8 Grand-Am car differs significantly from the European R8 LMS, primarily because the American series’ rules force the use of different aerodynamic components. Audi says the R8 loses about 80 percent of its aerodynamic downforce due to special Grand-Am requirements; the rear wing, for instance, must be 10.2 inches narrower than on the European car, while the suspension must ride at least 0.4 inch higher for Grand-Am racing. As a result, Audi says it was forced to adjust the race car’s suspension with softer dampers for use in the American race series.
As in the European car, power comes from a 5.2-liter V-10 engine, although exact horsepower and vehicle weight figures won’t be released until vehicle homologation is completed in January. Audi plans to have up to four R8 race cars competing in the Grand-Am series this year.