Derived from the highly successful GT3 class Le Mans sports racer that has won some 110 races and 15 championship titles across the pond, Audi‘s new R8 Grand Am has successfully completed its testing program and is now virtually ready to compete in the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car series for 2012, with the first cars slated to be made available to customers in January.
Given the different regulations between LMS and the Grand Am series, in order to compete in the latter, the R8 racer underwent some significant modifications, notably revised aerodynamic aids, including a smaller front splitter, slimmer rear wing and the adoption of a flat front undertray section. The reduced downforce also required changes to the suspension settings with re-valved shocks and softer springs, along with a slight increase ride height. In addition, as per Grand Am regulations, the European car’s traction control and ABS systems must also be deactivated.
Audi wrapped up testing of the R8 Grand Am car this past week at Daytona International Speedway in prepration for the Rolex 24 hours series opener at the circuit on January 28/29th.
So far, one official team has been confirmed as an R8 Grand Am customer for 2012, APR Motorsport based in Opelika, Alabama, which will run cars at Daytona and other races with its own team of drivers. Audi has a goal of providing cars to a maximum of four teams next year and says that with the APR deal confirmed, negotiations with three others are currently in the final stages.