In addition to their quite spectacular RS3 sports sedan, Audi used the Paris Motor Show to display the car’s racing alter ego: the RS3 LMS. The car is due to start hitting the tracks from 2017 onwards.
Audi have recently started to push sales of racing editions of their traditional road cars. Similar to the current R8 LMS, the RS3 LMS is intended to be sold to ‘public’ teams, not necessarily affiliated to the brand or factory.
Whereas the R8 has been designed specifically as a supercar or racer, the RS3 is merely a ‘souped-up’ edition of the regular A3 sedan. Subsequently, there’s a greater difference from the road version once Audi Sport has completed the conversion to race car.
Featuring bulging bumper flares, a huge rear spoiler, and riding much closer to the road, the RS3 LMS certainly looks like it means business.
Instead of the 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine used in the road going edition, the LMS has a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, so it falls in lines with the regulations of the series Audi intends to race it in. The same rules also require the vehicle to have less power than the road version. The LMS produces 330 horsepower, while the RS3 with the five-cylinder is capable of 400 horsepower.
The LMS can do 0-62 mph in 4.35 seconds, and has a top speed of 149 mph, compared to 4.1 seconds and an electronically capped 155 mph (174 optionally) for the stock RS3. The race car includes a racing fuel cell, a roll cage, a racing seat with harness, and an escape hatch built into the roof.
Audi intends to launch the RS3 LMS in the European TCR International series, a cost controlled series that also includes other small cars such as the Honda Civic and the Volkswagen GTI.