It appears that Austrian thrill-seeker Felix Baumgartner, the same man who leapt 24 miles from space toward Earth as a stunt in 2012, found a new way to get his adrenaline fix. Baumgartner, 44, will kick off his racing career behind the wheel of an Audi R8 LMS Ultra as part of Audi’s race experience team.
Although Baumgartner will have his hands full with the V-10-powered, 570-hp Audi R8 LMS Ultra race car, we’re fairly sure he can handle the pressure. Baumgartner has not exactly lounged on the couch since his historic space jump, in which he reached a ludicrous top speed of 843.6 mph in free-fall from the stratosphere. Audi says that Baumgartner has had some experience racing in one-make cup events run by Volkswagen group over the last few years, and the automaker is hard at work helping prepare the fearless stuntman for the Nürburgring 24 Hours race coming up in June 2014.
“This task is totally exciting and I’m looking forward to driving races in an Audi,” Felix Baumgartner said in a statement. “During initial tests in the road-going Audi R8 I got to know the Nürburgring, and in the Audi R8 LMS ultra I’ve clocked a few kilometers on various tracks as well. I regard this task as one of the major projects in my life…but it’s also clear that I’m basically starting from scratch because this sport is new for me.”
Audi will put Baumgartner through a series of test runs and events leading up to the Nürburgring 24 Hour event, and he will also benefit from the instruction of his Le Mans-winning teammates as well as former pro rally driver Josef “Sepp” Haider. As one of the Audi team’s instructors, Haider says that “[Baumgartner] is eager to learn, has good judgment of the physical conditions, and is totally motivated.”
If you are not a famous space-jumper, feel free to pony up $444,000 for your own Audi R8 LMS GT3. Either way, we’re looking forward to see how Baumgartner fares on solid ground come June.