Audi’s LMDh taking shape
Audi has revealed that the first prototype of its LMDh challenger is expected to complete its roll-out in the first quarter of 2022.
The car will make its race debut at the Daytona 24 Hours in January 2023.
Audi customer squads won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2004 and 2005 and, as with sister brand Porsche, customer teams are central to its return to endurance racing.
“With the LMDh project, we are continuing the philosophy of our early years in sports prototypes,” said Andreas Roos, who is responsible for all factory motorsport commitments at Audi Sport. “The Audi R8 was not only the most successful prototype of its time from 2000 to 2006, with 63 victories in 80 races, but it was also very successful in the hands of our customers and easy for the teams to handle. This is also the premise with the electrification of our new sports prototype.
“Our goal is to also put the car in the hands of professional customer teams right from the start, in parallel to factory entries. We are currently evaluating internally how this will work in detail.”
The sports prototype for the new LMDh category is currently being created at Audi Sport in parallel with the innovative SUV for the Dakar Rally.
“Of course, the Dakar team is under greater time pressure, because our first participation in the Dakar Rally is in January 2022, but we also want to be perfectly sorted for our comeback at Le Mans,” said Roos. “That’s why we are running both projects in parallel with the highest priority.”
“The LMDh category fits perfectly with our new set-up in motorsport,” said Julius Seebach, Managing Director, Audi Sport GmbH and responsible for Motorsport at Audi. “The regulations allow us to field fascinating race cars in prestigious races worldwide. In addition, we are making use of synergies inside the Volkswagen Group with our partner strategy.”
The successor to the Audi R18 is being built in close cooperation with the brand’s sister company Porsche. “A great strength of the Volkswagen Group is the collaboration of the brands in the development of road cars,” said Seebach. “We are now transferring this proven model to motorsport. Nevertheless, the new sports prototype will be just as much a genuine Audi as the Audi RS e-tron GT1 that was launched recently and has also been developed on a platform shared with Porsche.”