February 2006 News Briefs

AUDI’S KILLER APPLater this year, Audi will begin building a production version of the Le Mans Quattro concept from the 2003 Frankfurt auto show. Dubbed the R8 after Audi’s endurance-racing prototype cars, the Lamborghini Gallardo-based two-seater will be available with a choice of either V-8 or V-10 power when it goes on sale in mid-2007.

BRITISH INVASIONAC Cars, the British company most famous for the car that served as the basis for the Shelby Cobra (below) in the 1960s, has announced that it will open a factory in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Fifty cars will emerge from the 40,000-square-foot facility the first year; the company aims to increase annual production to 700 to 800 vehicles within five years.

ALMS FOR BMW AND LEXUSTwo days after BMW announced its return to the American Le Mans Series, Lexus unveiled plans for its own in-house effort. BMW will back Tom Milner’s PTG team and its pair of M3s, and Lexus will campaign two IS350s. The companies will square off in the new GT2S class, where sedan-style cars compete for points and podium positions but are not eligible for entry into the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Phaeton is dead–sort of.It’s just as everyone thought: The idea of a $100,000 Volkswagen didn’t fly. The company will “temporarily suspend importation” of the Phaeton to the United States once the remaining 300 or so 2006 models have been sold. VW might still bring the next-generation car-aimed at the Mercedes CLS-to the States after its 2009 debut.