More than 50 of Audi’s new R8 LMS GT4 cars are expected to be delivered next year, according to Head of Audi Sport customer racing Chris Reinke, who has revealed a large demand for the German manufacturer’s latest customer offering.
The new-for-2018 model, the third in Audi’s expanded customer racing lineup alongside the championship-winning R8 LMS GT3 and RS 3 LMS TCR cars, will be represented in various GT championships around the world, beginning with January’s Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai, where Phoenix Racing will run two cars.
An initial batch of 12 Audi GT4s were delivered to customers last week, to fulfill requests for the early year races in Dubai, Daytona, as well as the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour and Audi R8 LMS Cup season-opener in Adelaide.
Reinke said another batch of cars are expected by the end of January, with production ramping up throughout the year.
“There will be for sure more than 50 Audi R8 LMS GT4s out there in 2018,” he told Sportscar365. “We were hoping for this but at the same time we know that a lot of premium manufacturers are going into that category at the moment so it’s been quite a challenge for us.
“We have a really high [demand] in the market that we have to see how we can fulfill it all.
“At the moment, as we have been with TCR, we’re in a very privileged situation that the worldwide acceptance of the GT4 category is overwhelming.”
While not being drawn on the total number of sales, Reinke said they’ve received orders from all corners of the globe, including customers wishing to use the car for track day purposes.
It’s understood the North American market has been given an initial allocation of 12 Audi GT4s, with four of the five recent deliveries likely to be seen in next month’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season-opener at Daytona.
Additional cars, meanwhile, could be delivered in time for the Pirelli World Challenge season, which kicks off at St. Petersburg in March.
“Those teams who were ready to enter [Daytona, Dubai and Bathurst] got priority,” Reinke said. “We’ve tried to organize it that those who will make immediate use out of them get access to them and therefore we can sort it that everybody gets it in time.”
New Audi R8 LMS Cup to Launch in Germany
A number of Audi R8 LMS GT4 cars, meanwhile, will run in the newly announced Audi Sport Seyffarth R8 LMS Cup, which launches next year.
The German-based Cup, operated by longtime outfit Seyffarth Motorsport, will be be made up exclusively of Audi GT4 machinery, aimed at up-and-coming drivers.
“It is a private initiative by Seyffarth Motorsport,” Reinke explained. “They [will] buy the cars and we support them but it’s their Cup.”
It will be one of two private single-make Audi Cups next year, with ABT taking control of the Audi Sport TT Cup, which will continue into 2018 after initially being axed.