November 17, 2005 Audi has bestowed an extraordinary honour on its new sports car by naming it the R8. Presented at Frankfurt Motor Show two years ago as the “Le Mans quattro” concept, the new Audi sportscar will commence production in Q4, 2006 with a market launch scheduled for Q2, 2007. The mid-engined two-seater is powered by a five-litre V10 ‘biturbo’ engine with FSI direct fuel injection, developing 449 kW (610 bhp) at 6,800 rpm. Whilst it will immediately become one of the most desirable roadgoing cars in the world, it will carry a name of legendary motorsport achievement. Since its introduction in March, 2000, the R8 has won 61 races from 77 startsincluding the Le Mans 24 Hour five times and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) six times in succession and has never had a single engine failure during a race.
The Audi subsidiary quattro GmbH will be responsible for production. Development and test construction at quattro GmbH and technical development at AUDI AG are currently in full swing. 250 employees will work on the production of the R8.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,200 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
“Through the R8 we are looking to build on our successes in motorsport and carry them over to series production. This model represents Audi’s very own interpretation of sportiness,” says Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of AUDI AG.
Audi is relying on intelligent lightweight design for its R8, a core area of expertise in Neckarsulm. The Audi A2, A6 and A8 were all developed there at the Aluminium Centre using lightweight design technology.
A high-performance sports car, a roadgoing vehicle that could be said to have inherited the genes of the Audi R8, three-times winner of the Le Mans 24-Hours race: Audi reveals its ‘Le Mans quattro’ concept study.
This fascinating driving machine is a synthesis of the experience gained from numerous racing triumphs, allied to advanced design and Audi’s technical competence - which has in turn become synonymous for Audi’s technological leadership (Vorsprung durch Technik) on the racetrack and the road alike.
Even the first glimpse of the car gives the observer a clear picture of its calibre. The Audi Le Mans quattro, with its Jet Blue paint finish, has a wide stance and a bullish appearance on the road. Its powerful rear end seems to be bracing its muscles in order to jump, like a sprinter on the starting line. The car’s front end and the broad curve of the roof seem to have been drafted with a single stroke of the pen.
1.90 metres wide but only 4.37 metres long and 1.25 metres high: this clearly reflects the proportions of a pure sports car. A wheelbase of 2.65 metres accommodates a surprisingly spacious cockpit and the longitudinally installed V10 ‘biturbo’ engine with FSI direct fuel injection behind it. To the rear of the doors, between the sill and the roof, there is a large outward-curving intake that supplies the V10 engine, the brakes, the oil cooler and the charge-air intercooler with sufficient air.
The trapezoidal shape of the Audi single-frame grille is a distinctive feature of the front end, flanked on the right and left by additional large air inlets. Their upper ends are flush with the flat-strip LED headlights, which have clear-glass covers. The centre of the bonnet curves up above the line of the front wings, which spread out at the sides over the large round wheel arches typical of an Audi.
The cockpit architecture, which is oriented consistently to the driver’s needs, dominates the car’s interior. The driving position is integrated into the space between the instrument panel with its changeover display graphics and the centre console. However, the Audi Le Mans quattro car offers generous interior space for both occupants - a quality feature that clearly distinguishes it from other high-performance sports cars. The impression of perfect functionality and ergonomics is combined with materials of visible high quality and craftsmanship.
An aluminium Audi Space Frame (ASF) forms the central structure of this concept study. The outer skin and add-on parts use a weight-saving mixed aluminium and carbon-fibre concept - thus satisfying the demand for utmost rigidity at a simultaneously low weight of 1530 kg, and providing a foundation for top road dynamics.
This mid-engined two-seater is powered by a five-litre V10 ‘biturbo’ engine with FSI direct fuel injection, developing 449 kW (610 bhp) at 6,800 rpm. Outstandingly free revving and considerable ‘bite’ are typical features of this engine, with its seemingly inexhaustible power reserves even at very low engine speeds. The maximum torque of 750 Nm is available at an engine speed as low as 1,750 rpm and remains constant over a broad engine speed range up to 5,800 rpm. A sequential-shift six-speed sports gearbox enables the driver to use this powerful torque in the appropriate doses.
As a matter of course, any Audi as powerful as this will have quattro permanent four-wheel drive, which distributes the power variably - based on a 40:60 ratio - to the front and rear axles and thus gives this mid-engined sports car its optimum road dynamics. The Audi Le Mans quattro accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds and to 200 km/h in 10.8 seconds.
Double wishbone suspension is used at the front and rear. Firm basic suspension settings have been chosen to ensure the most effective road dynamics. Nevertheless, the innovative Audi ‘magnetic ride’ shock absorbers ensure a remarkably high level of ride comfort.
The Audi Le Mans quattro: a perfect synthesis of motor-sport technology and roadgoing car design. An automobile with the racetrack, the motorway and twisting country roads as its ‘natural hunting grounds’.View gallery - 14 images