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 |  Nov 21 2011, 6:30 PM

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It’s hard to believe Audi was able to improve their highly successful R8 LMS GT3 race car, but they’ve just announced that the R8 LMS ultra will be launched in 2012, with deliveries starting in March. Current R8 LMS customers have won a combined 115 races and 12 national and international titles in just three years.

So where and how did Audi improve the R8 LMS for their ultra model? They started with new doors made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic and high-energy absorbing crash foams. There is also a new PS1 safety seat developed by Audi offering plenty of extra protection. The transmission was updated to provide additional longevity during endurance races.

To enhance an already impressive powerplant, Audi maximized the 5.2L V10 to 570-hp thanks to a new exhaust system with race-spec catalytic converters. The engine is still based on the production motor produced at Audi’s plant and customers have reported easily hitting over 12,000-miles on their motors with no issues.

For cooling enhancements, Audi gave the car a larger engine oil cooler, transmission fluid cooler, and an oil cooler for the steering hydraulics was relocated to the vehicle’s mid-section from the front of the previous car.

Front wheel widths have been upsized to 12-inch sizes instead of 11-inches (for a wider track) and as of next season Michelin will be offering wider tires to allow for more consistent lap times. Furthermore, aerodynamic improvements were made throughout the LMS ultra including a wider front hood, and a new front plate with optimized diffusion is under the front end.

The Audi R8 LMS ultra comes in at a hefty $446,890 plus VAT based on today’s conversion rates.

GALLERY: Audi R8 LMS Ultra

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