Audi R8R #8 – Ixo

1999 Audi R8R #8
Pilots: F. Biela, D. Theys, E. Pirro
Team: Audi Sport Team Joest
Race: 3rd overall(2nd LMP class) at Le Mans in 1999
Ixo - LMM 137 (diecast) 

Published 03/16/19

In 1998 Audi embarked in a very bold and risky program: prototype racing. Despite having absolutely no experience in this level of racing, they aimed really high – winning Le Mans. The first prototype was ready in late 1998. However, the car was not very well received, and than-Audi stylists Luc Donckerwolke and Roland Heiler had to refine it. By March of 1999, a second prototype was ready, and that became the final version of the car. The chassis came from the pen of Wolfgang Appel, while aerodynamics was the responsibility of Michael Pfadenhauer. While the design and engine were an in-house job, Audi outsourced many key components of the car. For instance, the chassis was sourced in Italy, by experts Dallara.

Though quite plain, I really dig that livery.

The chassis was a carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb monocoque, and equally important, with independent front and rear suspensions. Powering the R8R was a 90º V8. It counted on DOHC and 32 valves, displacing 3596 cm³. With two Garrett turbochargers, it produced 610 hp. The engine coupled to a 6-speed sequential Ricardo gearbox that transmitted the power to the rear wheels. Covered by carbon fiber composite panels, the car without fluids weighed 917.5 kg.

So far, my Ixo models with an open cockpit all have a terrific level of detail inside.

In the 24 Heures du Mans of 1999, Audi had a fleet of four cars. Two were R8R, fielded by Audi Sport Joest, and two were R8C, by Audi Sport UK. The C models (closed cockpit) did very poorly, but the R8R finished in third and fourth places. That was the preface to the “Audi Years” at La Sarthe… With that, I consider the R8R model to be quite important for the Le Mans collector. Why? Just because it was the predecessor to the mighty R8. Mine is from Ixo, that delivers a pretty good model. A newer release, therefore a very nicely detailed model. As I said elsewhere, I would be very content if all my models had this level of quality. It really doesn’t need to be better than this.

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