At 034Motorsport, many of us grew up idolizing Audi’s factory-backed turbocharged inline five cylinder race cars, including the S1 and IMSA 90 GTO. Technologically advanced, and mind-blowingly fast, these consistent performers dominated races with legendary drivers behind the wheel.
Sadly, while Audi continued many successful racing series worldwide, the 1990s marked the end of their turbocharged inline five cylinder race cars. The unmistakable five cylinder roar and sounds of compressor flutter we grew to love became fond memories, things of the past. We could only dream of one day being able to see these motorsport engineering marvels, let alone racing one.
Fast forward over two decades, to when Audi Sport Customer Racing decided to build a handful of Audi TTRS Race Cars for teams competing in Germany’s most popular racing series: VLN. The VLN Endurance Racing Series consists of ten races, taking place solely at the infamous Nürburgring racetrack, making this particular race car very rare indeed.
Luckily for us, we never gave up our five cylinder dreams. While building and successfully racing a handful of our own Audi and Volkswagen projects in various racing series and magazine events, we dabbled in a bit of endurance racing. Last year, we ran the Racing Bacon Subaru STi in the “World’s Longest Endurance Race” at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, finishing 6th overall. We wanted to go back, and go back with an Audi. With the help of last year’s team, and the connections we’ve made through years of racing, our dream has become a reality. After months of waiting, struggling with customs, and sleepless nights, the first and only Audi TTRS Race Car to leave Germany arrived at 034Motorsport in Fremont, CA.
The Audi TTRS Race Car is a production based touring car, built around a factory Audi TTRS 2.5 TFSI. The powerplant is a factory Audi 2.5 TFSI engine, with a slight bump in power, and an overhauled colling and breather system. 372 horsepower might not sound fast, but the race car tips the scales at just 2,464 pounds, or over 820 pounds lighter than a production car.
As you may have noticed, the TTRS Race Car is a bit wider than stock… Sporting a mixture of aluminum, carbon, aramid, and glass fiber bodywork, it is roughly 5.5″ wider than the production TTRS. Audi Sport engineers spent countless hours in the wind tunnel to perfect the aerodynamics of the car. The splitter, dive planes, huge wing, and remainder of the aerodynamics are capable of providing up to 1,500 pounds of downforce, depending on speed.
The front brakes, massive 11″ wide magnesium wheels, racing ABS, traction control, and a handful of suspension components were borrowed from the Audi R8 LMS Ultra. Oh, and that pesky Haldex all wheel drive system from the production Audi TTRS was tossed in favor of a race engineered front wheel drive system.
While this shocking news may upset some of you, we hope you can move past it. The car is really, really fast. It is the only front wheel drive car to qualify on pole and finish at the top of the podium in VLN series races.
For comparison’s sake, if you wish to compare it to the $475,000 Audi R8 LMS Ultra, it is six seconds a lap slower in the dry. While six seconds might sound like a lot, that is six seconds over a 15.2 mile configuration around the Nürburgring. Doesn’t sound that slow anymore, does it?
In fact, in wet conditions, this $250,000 Audi TTRS Race Car is actually faster than the R8 LMS Ultra, as it’s front wheel drive platform actually offers the driver more control and stability.
So there we have it. If some so called “purists” can’t move past the lack of a Quattro badge, and would prefer to own a slower all wheel drive car for the sake of it being all wheel drive, so be it. Just don’t ask Audi race engineers for one, lest you get your feelings hurt when they laugh in your face while making jokes about your mother in German.
The NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill takes place on December 8th and 9th, 2012 at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Willows, California.
034Motorsport engineers have been working with the drivers and Audi Sport engineers to perfect the Audi TTRS Race Car’s setup for Thunderhill. Since the car was delivered with only a few weeks left for break in, set up, and testing, everything is coming down to the wire in the final week before the race.
The NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill is a very competetive event, with the 034Motorsport Audi TTRS Race Car facing stiff competition from teams with BMW and Porsche race cars, as well as prototype racers from Norma, Radical, and Catfish.
Categories: Tuning & Performance