The introduction of the Audi R8 LMS GT4 into the Asian market will open up an “additional set” of customers for both the Audi R8 LMS Cup and Asian-based championships, according to Audi Sport customer racing Asia Director Martin Kuehl.
The German manufacturer’s new GT4 offering will become an additional category in the Asian-based single-make Cup, joining the Audi R8 LMS GT3 car, which through two model generations, has been the exclusive car in the series until now.
According to Kuehl, there’s already been a considerable amount of interest in the GT4 car, specifically from new drivers in the region.
“For us, the GT4 is opening up a completely new segment of potential drivers and customers,” he told Sportscar365.
“I think it’s a very good race car for sports car lovers that have already done a little bit of racing, here or there, but are not necessarily keen to jump into a full-spec GT3 racing.
“The GT4 gets them involved. The ease of the handling is a very good product to enter the racing world.”
The car, which made its competition debut in this year’s Nürburgring 24, had its Asian premiere during the Audi Sport Festival at Shanghai last month, during the penultimate Audi R8 LMS Cup round of the season.
Kuehl wouldn’t be drawn on specific entry targets for the GT4 class next year, although said he’s “very confident” in the product.
“We don’t expect GT3 drivers to switch to GT4; I don’t see it at the moment and don’t expect it,” he said.
“For us, it’s an additional category for an additional set of customers. Maybe these guys that will drive GT4s in the next few years will evolve to GT3.
“It’s a new product for Audi, so for us it’s also a very good time to introduce it. GT4 interest is very high at the moment, in general.
“A lot of people are asking about it. To have it in the Cup, I think is quite a good starting point for these potential new customers to find it out.”
In addition to the Audi R8 LMS Cup, the new GT4 car will also be eligible in the China GT Championship, Blancpain GT Series Asia Cup and various regional endurance races, such as the Sepang 12 Hours, which will be part of the newly formed Asia-Pacific 36 Cup next year.
With additional locations and opportunities to race, a number of manufacturers have shared optimism for GT4 in the Asian market.
“We have to see how it develops,” Kuehl said. “Next year will be the first year the different products from all the OEMs are available. It’s a little bit looking into the glass at the moment.
“From the interest, a lot of people are inquiring about this car.”