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Check out Audi’s new RS3 touring car
Is this our first glimpse at what the new RS3 road car might look like?
In answer to our own question up there in the subheading: no, probably not. This is the second-generation Audi RS3 LMS touring car, and its looks are a whole lot more fighty than we’ll ever see on a road-going RS3. That mega grille might make production, but don’t expect huge bonnet vents in Audi’s upcoming hot hatch. Shame.
Still, the first-gen Audi RS3 LMS was launched back in 2016 as Audi’s customer racing contender for global TCR championships. An impressive 180 cars were sold, and the RS3 ended up with 764 podium places in 1,051 races (279 of those were victories). It also racked up 16 titles in drivers’ championships during that period, so this new one is the definition of a difficult second album.
For that reason, it’s more evolution than revolution. Under the bonnet is the Volkswagen Group’s trusty 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine, with the same block, cylinder head, crank drive, valve train, intake manifold, fuel injection and turbocharger as you’ll find in its road cars. Audi says only the valve cover breather and exhaust are changed for the race car. Power stands at 335bhp and there’s 310lb ft of torque.
There’s also an updated Hewland six-speed paddleshift gearbox and a new twin-plate racing clutch (that weighs a whole 800 grams less than before), with power being sent to the front wheels alone. For better or worse, none of that will be mirrored in the road car.
All of the aero work for this second-gen LMS was done digitally using something called Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), and Audi says it’s more harmonious and ‘aerodynamically favourable’ than before. It’s also supposed to be safer, and after tests the first cars will be delivered later this year.
TCR rules dictate that cars can’t cost more than €136,500 for a race-ready touring car. What do we think, folks?