Audi take the wraps off TCR contender

Audi take the wraps off TCR contender

10.10.2016: Premium sports brand Audi has become the latest carmaker to officially commit to the

Premium sports brand Audi has become the latest carmaker to officially commit to the TCR concept and it has done so in the most emphatic manner, presenting its brand new TCR compliant racecar, dubbed the Audi RS 3 LMS, in front of the eyes of the world’s media at the prestigious Paris Motor Show.

Audi hasn’t given a lot of technical details the new RS 3 LMS away yet, however it has revealed that the racecar will fall into the TCR performance window with 0-100 km/h acceleration in about 4.5 seconds and have a top speed of about 240 km/h. In TCR trim, the 4-cylinder 2.0-litre TFSI engine will deliver 330 hp.

The new machine has been thoroughly thought out as one would expect from Audi Sport and the safety package will include an FIA-conforming safety fuel tank, a racing safety cell, a significantly set back racing seat with FIA safety nets on both sides as well as a rescue hatch incorporated into the roof very similar to the one used by the company on its potent FIA GT3 racing car, the R8 LMS.

The cockpit also features a racing display and an 11-button multifunction steering wheel.

Visually, the RS 3 LMS is a very striking racecar indeed and – unlike the majority of TCR machines to be built so far – it’s based on the model’s sedan version.

At the front there is a sharply protruding splitter and a front bumper that has been revised to feed out into big new wheelarches that allow for significant widening of the track. There are similarly wider wheelarches at the rear too that taper out to improve aerodynamics and sweeping skirts mounted in between.

All four wheelarch sections are cut away at the rear to improve the exit of brake cooling airflow in a manner that we have come to see on TCR cars such as the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. There is a big racing wing mounted on the bootlid. Slotted brake discs and bells are fitted inside the bigger 9-spoke alloy wheels.

Audi says first deliveries will commence in December, meaning the new RS 3 LMS will be ready to join the TCR grids in plenty of time for the start of the 2017 racing seasons.

 Cost is 129,000 euros excluding taxes for the TCR version fitted with a 6-speed sequential transmission and 99,000 euros for a standard shift gearbox.

It’s highly significant that Audi has committed to the TCR concept with a fully factory effort; it’s a ringing endorsement and reflects the same endorsement that Racing Spirit made with the formation of TCR Thailand.

In fact in a written statement to accompany the announcement Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing, sees huge upside in the TCR concept. “The TCR market has even larger potential than that of the GT3 category,” he said.

“In 2016, there were ten TCR series with races in 18 countries, and more and more series are being added.

“With the TCR version of the RS 3 we’re also reaching countries where no GT3 races are held,” Reinke continued.

 “The costs for a TCR racecar are very low. As a result, we’re going to win new customers for Audi Sport as well. In terms of support and parts supply, they’ll benefit from the experiences we’ve been gathering with the Audi R8 LMS since 2009, which our GT3 customers have come to appreciate.”

Marcello Lotti, CEO of TCR Promoter WSC Ltd added
: “We are delighted to welcome Audi to the TCR family, joining the other brands in the group Volkswagen and SEAT who have become regular winners in the International and National series.

 I think the decision to build and develop the SR 3 car demonstrates a clear belief in the TCR concept.”

- Edd Ellison - also photo AUDI


10.10.2016 / MaP

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