The 2021 Audi RS3 LMS is a preview of what’s in store for the German carmaker’s much-awaited, next-generation RS3 sedan. Audi’s previous RS3 LMS has built an iconic reputation among the brand’s customer racing cars.
Audi produced 180 units of the outgoing RS3 LMS – the most in a single generation among Audi’s racing models – and notched 279 victories and 764 podium places in 1,051 races in just over four years of racing.
“We are underlining the importance of motorsport for our roadgoing products and presenting a race car still in disguise before the spearhead of the corresponding production model is on the market,” said Julius Seebach, Managing Director Audi Sport GmbH, and responsible for Audi Motorsport. “The Audi RS3 LMS is a clear commitment to customer racing and stands for records in our program.”
If you can look past its groovy camouflage, the LMS race car hints at what the road-legal RS3 will look like when it hits dealership lots later this year. Those fancy aero bits won’t make it to the production model. Still, we’re pining for the race car’s slimmer headlights, center-mounted single-exhaust, and that aggressive front bumper with extra-large air intakes, paying homage to the RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback’s sinister fascia.
Development work for the Audi RS3 LMS revolves around two goals: To make the production RS3 a better race car and optimize customer benefits in all areas. “Whether it’s about running times or setup options, safety, or ergonomics, we want to offer the reams a car that is even more of a race car than before,” said Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing.
The newest Audi RS3 LMS will compete in the TCR series of FIA Group A alongside the Renault Megane RS, Honda Civic Type R, and Hyundai i30 N. It has a race-tuned version of Volkswagen’s EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing up to 340 horsepower. It sends power to the front wheels via a six-speed twin-plate sequential transmission.
Standard in the RS3 LMS is an FIA-approved roll cage, a fire suppression system, dual-circuit brakes with adjustable pressure distribution, and a removable roof hatch. Meanwhile, the suspension has adjustable front and rear sway bars with varying-thickness suspension arms.