With the e-tron GT about to be revealed next week (February 9), a teaser out of Audi Sport about something else was a bit of a surprise. That’s just what happened though when they posted the below teaser onto their social media channels. Interestingly, they’re playing coy by not saying what it is and only showing the “LMS” portion of the logo for whatever it is.
As any Audi motorsport aficionado can tell you, “LMS” is Audi nomenclature for its Audi Sport customer racing product. That range of offerings currently includes several models built to run in FIA spec classes. These currently include the R8 LMS GT3, R8 LMS GT4, R8 LMS GT2 and RS 3 LMS TCR.
If this teaser hints at a current product replacement, then it’s likely a replacement for the RS 3 LMS TCR. It seems safe to rule out the R8 range of customer racecars, because the R8 isn’t due for a product freshening. Also, the bulbous fenders harkening the box flares of the original “ur” quattro aren’t as prominent on the R8. This appears to be a front left corner image, and the body panels we can see greatly resemble those of the new A3 range.
If we assume then that the teaser is the replacement to the RS 3 LMS, the next question is what that means for the RS 3. Unlike the 5-cylinder mill in the current RS 3 sedan, the current RS 3 LMS uses a 4-cylinder turbocharged engine running power through the front wheels in order to match TCR homologation rules. From an engine standpoint, it may be more closely related to the S3 than the RS 3.
Does this signal a change to S3 LMS? We’d be surprised. The more affordable and very tunable-in-its-own-right S3 is a darling of enthusiasts, but it’s technically not an Audi Sport road product. Given that, Audi may choose to keep it badged RS 3.
While the new RS 3 has been seen testing on any number of occasions, it hasn’t been revealed yet. If Audi Sport is to reveal the next RS 3 LMS tomorrow as they say, then it is quite possible the new RS 3 sedan may be revealed as well. While we don’t know that of sure and only this one teaser has come from Audi Sport thus far, it’s worth noting that the RS 8 LMS GT3 was revealed on a stage at the Geneva Motor Show next to the then new R8. Here’s hoping.
Another possibility here is Electric TCR or “ETCR”. This new offshoot of the TCR formula has seen some manufacturers offering electric equivalents to their TCR offerings. It’s possible that Audi could be planning an ETCR version on the A3 chassis. Volkswagen Group sibling SEAT / Cupra have already shown their own E TCR, and so Audi offering one as well wouldn’t be a stretch, and it’d be one way to directly promote electric product.
If this happens though, the next question will be whether an electric A3 is planned. Thus far, Europe has an A3 TFSI e that is basically a plug-in hybrid successor to the A3 e-tron. It doesn’t yet offer an all-electric A3, and one would assume that Audi would want a roadgoing equivalent if it were to race an electric A3 ETCR.
Time will tell. Tune in tomorrow to learn what is to be revealed by Audi Sport.