After recently achieving its 100th victory in international motorsports, the Audi R8 will finally look to add to that tally on American soil. Audi has announced that for the 2012 season the R8 LMS race car will be homologated to meet racing standards for the Grand Am Endurance Series, with the R8 set to make its race debut at the 50th running of the 24 Hours of Daytona on January 28th.
Audi won’t be running an official factory team but will instead offer the new cars up to customer teams. Those teams will, however, receive significant support with Audi Sport sending a crew to consult for the entire 2012 season.
To meet Grand Am regulations the R8 LMS will get a thicker roll cage, a new front splitter, rear diffuser and a custom rear spoiler set to Grand Am specifications. Engine output will also be limited (in the range of 450-hp to 470-hp), with changes to the fuel tank as well. Drivers used to competing in Europe are certain to have their hands full with the new car, as the car’s Euro-spec traction control isn’t permitted in Grand-Am.
“We’re convinced that we’re making a very attractive offer to our customers in the USA that will meet with great response,” says Romolo Liebchen, Head of customer racing at quattro GmbH. “The anniversary event of the Daytona 24 Hours is a perfect occasion for the debut of the U.S. version of the new Audi R8 LMS.”
In addition to the Grand Am series, Audi has also announced it is considering the R8 for use in another U.S. endurance series (the American Le Mans Series). Look for that to happen, but with a factory backed team.