It seems fairly routine now, but the Audi R8 came as a shock when it launched back in 2006. It was so far removed from the boxy sedans we were used to, the fact it drove beautifully was almost irrelevant. Since then, the R8 V10 has acted as a flagship for the brand's road cars and a base for its customer racing operations, a tradition that continues with the R8 LMS GT4.

Like every other current R8, the LMS GT4 is powered by a screaming, naturally-aspirated V10 engine. As per FIA regulations, it's restricted to 364 kW (495 hp) of power, although that might change if the car proves significantly faster than its competitors. Boring though it sounds, reliability is important in race cars. Audi says the V10 engine in the GT3 version of the R8 only requires maintenance after 10,000 km (6,214 mi), and the first rebuild comes at 20,000 km (12,428 mi).

Although you wouldn't accept that in your road car, it's pretty good for a highly-strung race motor. Then again, the racer shares 60 percent of its parts with the regular model, so you'd hope at least some of that durability translates. Both cars are built at the same factory in Böllinger Höfe, Germany, a connection the company says will lower production costs for both versions. It should also lower the cost of repairs.

Reliability aside, the LMS GT4 should be properly quick. It'll hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in just over four seconds, and top speed is just over 250 km/h (155 mph). Obviously, that'll change based on the aerodynamics setup, but it's still fast for a car with a massive wing and diffuser on the back.

Audi has always made safety a focus in its racers, and the LMS GT4 is no different. Fuel is held in a 118-liter (31-gal) cell, and the seat is an FIA-approved unit. There's also an inbuilt fire-suppression system, and a hatch in the roof makes it easier for rescue crews to access an incapacitated driver in an accident. Speaking of drivers, they're faced with a multifunction steering wheel and data logger for a detailed breakdown of laptimes.

The LMS GT4 made its debut at the New York Auto Show, which is running at the moment. New Atlas is on the ground covering all the action, so stay tuned for more.

Source: Audi

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