Audi could be gunning for Porsche’s 911 GT3 RS with a wild street-legal racer version of its outgoing R8 supercar.
This is no normal send-off, however. What has been spied is an outlandish race car-like concoction, featuring roof-mounted intakes, crazy wings and wild bodywork.
The prototype was spied testing in the vicinity of the Nurburgring, and it could reportedly be produced by Scherer Sport for Audi.
Scherer Sport has a long history with Audi Sport, and the two brands are involved in numerous motorsport programs together.
Whether Scherer Sport is developing the car for a limited production run for Audi, or is building an exclusive edition for wealthy customers remains unclear.
Whichever the case though, the specialised product is reported to be limited to a maximum production run of 100 units. The prototype wears number plates however, suggesting it’s not an iteration of the track-only R8 LMS GT3 racer.
The wild test car bears a heavy resemblance to Audi Sport’s R8 LMS GT3 racer, which wears a similar combination of wings and aero elements. To homologate the special edition for the road, engine and emission control systems will need to be changed, and it’s likely the road-going special will have a softer suspension tune.
The spied prototype features a similar grille to the GT3 racer, but the inlets on either side of the main grille appear to be more open, and the canards on the front corners of the car only have one element compared to two on the R8 LMS.
The bonnet and front fenders on the prototype are also different to the R8 LMS, with a different combination of cooling louvres piercing the panels.
Judging by how open the vents are however, it’s likely the front section of that car could be hiding an uprated cooling system with multiple radiators.
Moving around to the side of the prototype, we can see the aggressive cutaways rearward of the front and rear wheel arches. Aerodynamic design like this is often used in the world of racing to alleviate high pressure zones that form in the wheel wells of cars.
An aggressive set of side skirts underscore the already large air intakes just aft of the doors.
In addition, the prototype has the side glass replaced with a set of lighter weight windows that are fixed – meaning no electric windows on this one.
The intake on the roof leads straight into the engine bay, which is partly enveloped by a set of buttresses over the rear deck. The rear deck itself also features many cooling outlets.
The roof-mounted intake is a detail not even found on the R8 LMS. Together with the two side intakes, it speaks volumes about the car’s potential cooling requirements.
Sitting atop the rear deck as well is a wing that looks large enough to support a full-on banquet. It looks not to feature any active aero elements, but it is suspended from the top rather than supported from the underside – another technique used in racing to clean up airflow.
A relatively open rear facia and aggressive diffuser complete the rear end of this wild prototype.
If this hardcore prototype is indeed a final send off for the R8, it’s possible it would sit above the already revealed R8 V10 GT RWD.
Until the emergence of this hardcore test car, it was thought that the R8 V10 GT RWD was the last R8, being limited to just 333 units.
The R8 V10 GT RWD features a mid-mounted, naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 that cranks out 456kW of power. There’s 565Nm of torque available from 6400 to 7000rpm.
For those curious, that’s 37kW and 106Nm more than the V10 Performance RWD. The R8 LMS racer pumps out 430kW of power and “over 550Nm” of torque according to Audi.
On the R8 V10 GT RWD, drive is sent to the rear wheels via a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that’s said to feature altered gear ratios, and even faster shift times.
Audi claims the R8 V10 GT RWD can complete the 0-100km/h sprint in 3.4 seconds, clock 200km/h in 10.1 seconds, and hit a top speed of 320km/h.
MORE: Everything Audi R8