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The ABT XGT Is an Audi R8 Le Mans Race Car Converted for the Road

It's the mysterious Audi R8 we've been seeing on the Nurburgring for weeks

For weeks, there’s been an extreme Audi R8 with a wild aero kit terrorizing the Nürburgring, looking like a road-ready Le Mans car. Each and every time spy photographers spotted it, news outlets around the world speculated about its nature. Was it the Audi R8’s equivalent of a Porsche 911 GT3? Was it a track-focused version to send the R8 out with a bang? No one knew, and Audi wasn’t talking. However, now it seems that the wild R8 that bewildered so many of us is actually this—the ABT Sportsline XGT.

Audi fans know ABT Sportsline well. The German tuning company—which also has Le Mans and DTM racing teams—has been making nutty versions of Volkswagen and Audis for years, and the ABT XGT is its latest, most hardcore effort yet. The XGT is started out life as ABT’s Audi R8 LMS GT2 race car and was then modified to meet road regulations. According to ABT, the XGT required 40 different government approvals to make it road legal. It was even crash-tested and is built to meet Germany’s braking and noise levels.

ABT also had to change aspects like the fuel-filling process and give it a civilian-use instrument cluster, an electronic handbrake, an engine immobilizer, adjustable external mirrors, and a backup camera. However, from behind the wheel it will feel almost identical to the R8 LMS GT2 racer, since the cabin, racing seats, and steering wheel are all carried over from the race car. It’s the closest thing you can get to an actual Le Mans experience on the road.

Powering the XGT is 640-horsepower version of the R8’s 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V10. It still uses a seven-speed dual-clutch auto but is rear-wheel drive, since the R8 LMS GT2 is rear-wheel drive. It also weighs just 3,086 pounds.

ABT will only make 99 of these XGT road-going race cars and they start at $653,706. If you want one, you can check it out in ABT’s Mainz, Germany showroom. Sadly, if you’re in North America, you won’t be able to participate. But just the fact that there are going to be 99 road-going Audi R8 LMS GT2s driving around in public makes the world a better place.

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