Audi expects an “impulse” of interest in its R8 LMS GT4 after revealing an Evo kit last week but its head of customer racing Chris Reinke admits that GT4 remains a “delicate field”.
The new car features new adjustable ABS and traction control settings as well as updated bodywork to bring the GT4 model in line with the current generation of R8 road car, and was launched alongside the R8 V10 RWD production model.
Customers have the opportunity to buy a new car at €198,000 or convert an existing chassis with a €17,975 upgrade kit.
“Whatever the customer demand is, we respect our customers,” said Reinke. “If he says he wants to upgrade his machinery, we will support him on that and are happy to sell an upgrade kit.
“The more happy customers you have, the better your overall turnaround will be at the end. If you order a kit tomorrow and someone else orders a car, you’ll get them at the same time.
“We don’t prioritize the kit or the cars, it’s done on how they come in, and we respect the upgrade as much as a new customer.
“That’s a mentality thing. They invested into the product and we are happy to give them the possibility to keep the value up.”
Reinke says he’s happy with GT4 sales so far but is cautious of “pressure” from other classes, with Audi the only manufacturer to offer GT3, GT4, GT2 and TCR machinery.
“[GT4 sales] started out very good,” he said. “I think we will get an impulse now through the new Evo. We also have to realize we have 13 manufacturers with homologation on a car.
“We have a very strong GT3 platform which makes pressure from the top, we have a strong TCR platform which makes pressure from beneath and we are now starting a GT2 venture that puts pressure on from the side.
“It is a delicate field we approach there. For us, we are happy because we have our market share in there. It was a correct decision to approach this category.”
Audi’s GT4 focus remains global despite the category failing to gain much ground in the Asia-Pacific region, which is something it is “ready to supply” if interest is built up.
“In general, Asia didn’t pick up on the GT4 idea, we realized,” Reinke said. “This is not an Audi thing, it’s a category thing. We are in discussions with Stephane [Ratel], can we support it somehow.
“I think on the Australia and New Zealand side, I would like to see GT4s come there but, to be honest, I doubt it will happen.
“On the Asian side, I believe there will be categories besides GT3 eventually. If they will straight away be excited on the GT2 side, or eventually adopt the GT4 side, I don’t know. We are ready to supply both.”
No Concerns Over GT2/GT4 Customer Overlap
Audi isn’t worried that its GT2 and GT4 cars will have too much overlap in customer base despite both being positioned as a step below GT3.
Reinke says the two cars are aimed at different customers with GT2 focused at Bronze gentlemen drivers purchasing the cars for themselves and most of Audi’s GT4 customers being teams selling seats to younger drivers.
“From the start on, it is a different clientele we approach there, but eventually we will accept to have a certain overlay,” he explained.
“I don’t think it will be competition clientele that will have the overlap, because I believe the guy who will run a GT2 in competition is something else to who shares a GT4 drive in competition.
“Where we might have an overlay is track day racing in the U.S.
“People who wanted to have an option for other brands and were happy to have a less sophisticated Audi available than a GT3 might have opted for a GT4 before but might be happy to have a more powerful option now with the GT2 available.”