The Audi R8 (Typ 42) is a sports car with a longitudinally mounted mid-engine, and uses Audi's trademark quattro permanent all-wheel drive system. It was introduced by the German automaker Audi AG in 2006.
The car was exclusively designed, developed, and manufactured by Audi AG's high performance private subsidiary company, quattro GmbH, and is based on the Lamborghini Gallardo platform. fundamental construction of the R8 is based on the Audi Space Frame, uses an aluminium monocoque which is built around space frame principles. The car is built by quattro GmbH in a newly renovated factory at Audi's 'aluminium site' at Neckarsulm in Germany.
In 2005, Audi announced that the name of the successful Audi R8 race car would be used for a new road car in 2007, the Audi R8, based on the Audi Le Mans quattro concept car, appearing at the 2003 International Geneva Motor Show, and 2003 Frankfurt International Motor Show. The R8 road car was officially launched at the Paris Auto Show on 30 September 2006. There was some confusion with the name, which the car shares with the 24 Hours of Le Mans winning R8 Le Mans Prototype (LMP). 6-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx described the R8 as "the best handling road car today".
The Audi R8 is used as a safety car in Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters and British Superbike Championship racing series.
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The Audi R8 is a sports-prototype race car introduced in 2000 for sports car racing as a redevelopment of their Audi R8R (open top LMP) and Audi R8C (closed top LMGTP) used in 1999. It is one of the most successful sports cars ever (alongside such greats as the Porsche 956/962) having won the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2005 (five of the seven years it competed). Its streak of Le Mans victories between 2000 and 2005 was broken only by the Bentley Speed 8 (powered by the same V8 twin-turbo engine) in 2003, when the R8 finished 3rd.
The petrol-powered Audi R8 race car was replaced by the new Audi R10 TDI Diesel in 2006; however, the need to further develop the R10 meant that the R8 saw action in a few races leading up to Le Mans.