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The development of the Audi R8 LMS for GT3 racing marks the beginning of a new era. For the first time Audi develops a car specifically for customer sport use and not primarily for a factory programme. For the first time a unique customer sport centre, conceived as profit centre, is built in Ingolstadt.
Customer service with tradition
Audi has run factory based top-level motorsport programmes since 1981. Audi has given its “Vorsprung durch Technik” to customers for almost as long, and in fact not only to end users. The legendary Audi quattro did not only win World Championship titles for Audi. In customers’ hands the model rapidly established itself as regular winner at domestic level or in international championships. Reason enough to give the successful models to interested drivers, teams and importers in the subsequent programmes as well.
The now legendary wins recorded by the Audi R8 racing sportscar in the 24 Hours of Le Mans also singled out the sports prototype for further competitive outings. In 2004 and 2005 customer teams even won the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice in succession with the sports prototype R8. In the same way, the private teams contributed to the sportscar’s exceptional winning record of 63 wins from 80 starts by adding many single victories.
New customer sport era in Ingolstadt
Audi started with the initiation of an infrastructure in 2008 in a new wing of the premises. Responsibility for development of the GT3 programme lies in Ingolstadt, the sites at Györ/Hungary (engine), Neckarsulm (chassis construction and car build) and Ingolstadt (Audi Sport) are integrated.
As a result of the racing car’s enormous similarity with its production counterpart a close cooperation arises with other departments within the AUDI AG, including the Technical Development (TE). The perfect customer support and component supply chain is also aided by use of the current pan-European distribution channels used by logistics for production cars. The global distribution channels will be integrated in the future.