Audi Sport customer racing is set to expand beyond GT3, with the German manufacturer evaluating both GT4 and TCR options that could debut as early as 2018.
On the heels of the 200th Audi R8 LMS produced, customer racing boss Chris Reinke has revealed plans to expand Audi’s customer presence, as part of its new product strategy.
“It’s a topic we’re looking into because for sure I want to widen the product range that we supply, besides GT3,” Reinke told Sportscar365.
Both platforms are currently being considered for the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, while GT4 will be fully integrated into the GTS class of Pirelli World Challenge beginning next year.
Reinke said having a North American series featuring TCR would be a determining factor in its decision-making process.
“At the end, we expect a TCR series for the U.S. to be confirmed, whether it’s PWC or IMSA, but for sure it’s an important cornerstone for the American market committing to these rules,” he said.
“For us, there are [other markets too]. With TCR, we can reach markets I cannot reach with GT4 at the moment, like Asia, Central and South America.”
Audi has been previously considering GT4, having taken its TT Cup car to the SRO Balance of Performance test at Paul Ricard in February to gain a baseline on performance for a potential new car.
Reinke, however, said the priority would be to first produce a car for the burgeoning TCR market, hinting that an Audi A3 would be a logical model of choice for the platform.
As far as costs and competition, he feels there’s room for both GT4 and TCR in the market.
“GT4 is more really a downscaled GT3-based car,” Reinke said. “More like it exists but in a smaller version. TCR for me is more like a youngster series [starting up].
“If you go solely down to running costs, I don’t know what GT4 might be. But if you have the completely split between a ride in GT4 and TCR, it’s probably a similar budget.”
Reinke said decisions on its future platforms will be made in the coming weeks but essentially ruled out seeing any new product for the start of the 2017 season.
“It’s important to get a mid-term structure into my operation on how we can work on a multi-project scenario within Audi Sport customer racing,” he said.
“Because so far, it’s been a sole project environment. It’s too risky, so I have to wind it up and then we have to see how we arrange it.
“We have to first set it up, then we can confirm models.”