1999 Audi R8C

Images copyright Audi Sport Press
Text copyright Michael J. Fuller

Audi R8CDesigned and built by Racing Technology Norfolk (RTN), the 1999 Audi R8C was part of Audi's massive Le Mans effort that year that included no fewer than 4 cars (2 R8Rs and 2 R8Cs) but designed to two different regulation sets.  The R8C was driven by the lack of certainty as to which regulation set would provide a car with the clearest performance advantage.  Unfortunately the concept was compromised given it's vastly shorter design and manufacturing time scales (something along the lines of a mere 6 months), even though it had the starting point of the Audi R8R's engine, bellhousing/gearbox, and rear suspension.

Tony Southgate acted as a consultan and the car's design was executed by Peter Elleray and RTN.  "
...Tony oversaw the design of the R8C...(but) we told him what we were going to do in case he didn't want that, but he never really interfered.  As things progressed I just got on with it and directed the other guys as I saw fit," says Elleray.  

The Audi R8C's one and only race was the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans.  Both cars fell out with gearbox issues, and that was mostly testament to the car's delayed development period.  Ultimately Audi's 1999 effort was distracted with running 4 different cars of two different designs.  For 2000 Audi completely redesigned the open top R8R into the R8 and the rest was history.

If you're a student of history, you'll recall the Peter Elleray/RTN designed and built Bentley LMGTPs that followed in 2001 (and won Le Mans in 2003).  It isn't much of a stretch at all to suggest the experiences with the R8C helped RTN build a better coupe come Bentley.  Indeed, Elleray sums it up best, "
I think the experience of a poor car like this is quite useful in then getting it right - if you get a second opportunity!"
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2006 Audi R10 Specifications
Designer: Chief Designer: Peter Elleray
Consultant designer: Tony Soutgate
Layout: Mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
Monocoque: Carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb monocoque with steel roll over structure
Engine: 3595.4 cc 90░ V8, turbo-charged, 4 valves per cylinder, 2 Garrett turbo-chargers; to comply with the rules 2 x 33.9 mm air restrictors, and boost pressure restriction to 1.87 bars (absolute)
Engine management: Bosch MS 2.8
Horsepower: 640 hp @ 6300 rpm
Torque: 561 lb-ft. @ 5750 rpm
Gearbox: Sequential 6-speed sports gearbox built by Ricardo
Steering: Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering
Suspension: F: Upper and lower A-arms, pushrod activation of the spring/damper, attached directly to monocoque

R: Upper and lower A-arms, pushrod activation of the spring/damper, attached directly to gearbox casing


Brakes: Brembo monobloc alloy calipers, ventilated carbon discs, brake balance adjustable by driver
Wheels: O.Z. forged magnesium rims
Front: 13.5 x 18 inches
Rear: 14.5 x 18 inches
Tires: Michelin Radial
Front: 33/65-18
Rear: 36/71-18
Length: 4750 mm
Width: 1980 mm
Height: 980 mm
Wheelbase: 2700 mm
Front Overhang: 1110 mm
Rear Overhang: 940 mm
Weights: 949 kgs (1999 Le Mans average)
Tank capacity: 90 liters
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ęCopyright 2011, Michael J. Fuller