Next year, Audi will be replacing the successful R8 LMS GT3 race car with a new version, the R8 LMS Ultra, which will feature a host of technical developments, including an updated transmission and a new exhaust system equipped with race catalytic converters to help improve the engine’s characteristics. The 5.2 litre V10 mill on the Ultra, which delivers 570 hp, will as such be able to draw even higher torque at lower engine speeds.

Also, the cooling system has been revised – in addition to a larger engine oil cooler and transmission fluid cooler, an oil cooler for the steering hydraulics that used to be installed at the front is now located in the vehicle’s mid-section, and the Ultra will feature enlarged air vents for the cooling system for improved thermal management. Additionally, the air supply to the radiator at the front of the vehicle has been improved, as has interior ventilation.

The chassis has also been updated, in several steps. At the front 12-inch, instead of 11-inch, wheels are now used, and the car will wear wider 30-65/18 Michelin tyres, which will allow more consistent lap times to be achieved.

Optimised brake cooling at the front wheels improves the durability of the braking system, and instead of the previous silent rubber mounts, the transverse control arm mounts will now feature uniball joints. Weight-reduced compression and rebound-adjustable gas dampers with optimised characteristics from partner Bilstein complete the chassis package.

Aerodynamic improvements round off the changes for 2012. The front hood has been widened and now optionally provided with louvres, subject to permission by the homologation rules for the various racing series.

A new wider rear wing is also on, and now features larger end plates – it’s also been repositioned to get maximum downforce and minimised aerodynamic drag, with the improved air flow and larger effective area increasing downforce on the rear axle. Finally, there’s a new front plate, with optimised diffusion under the front end, to ensure perfect aerodynamic balance.

From next year, all new R8 race cars will be equipped with this evolution stage pack, and for existing vehicles, quattro will offer conversions to the 2012 evolution stage. Deliveries of the R8 LMS Ultra are set to begin in March.