Head of Audi Sport customer racing Chris Reinke predicts North America will be the “strongest market” for the new Audi R8 LMS GT4, which could still make a race appearance in October’s California 8 Hours prior to a full customer rollout.
Development of the mid-engined sports car has continued since its competition debut in the Nürburgring 24, with initial deliveries set to begin in December ahead of the 2018 season.
Reinke said they’ve received a “tremendous” amount of initial interest in the car, and went as far to say the North American market will likely be its most successful, in what will mark a shift in previous trends.
“For GT3, we say the core market is Europe, now spreading out to Asia quite a bit, through the new GT series over there,” Reinke told Sportscar365.
“For sure, I think GT4, especially from the club racing and track day cliental, the majority will be in the U.S. It will be our strongest market out of Europe, Asia and U.S.”
With the car not yet on sale, Reinke said they don’t have a firm projection on the number of cars that will be produced for next year but indicated that it would likely be fewer than the run of 100 Audi RS3 LMS TCR cars built over a seven-month period.
An intensive development program for the GT4-spec car has continued, including a four-day test at Nogaro last month, where Reinke said they made further gains with the overall package.
“The base technology is sorted and the concept is confirmed.” he said. “At the moment it’s to put the mileage on to prove and to fine-tune the ASR, ABS and also the electronics systems.”
Reinke said additional end-of-season VLN rounds are possible, along with the inaugural Intercontinental GT Challenge round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Oct. 13-15, which could be used as a launch event for the North American market.
“It is an option,” Reinke said. “We’ll have the car on display at Petit Le Mans for display. So we’ll have a car in the States at that time.
“We’ll consider it but once again, we have to sort where we put our resources at the moment.
“Priority one will be to have customer cars. If we have all the technical [details] released in time and the production is on the way, we might want to spoil ourselves with an entry at Laguna Seca.”