After 180 examples assembled and delivered to customers, the first-generation Audi RS3 LMS is retiring to make way for its more advanced successor. The 2021 RS3 LMS makes its official debut with many mechanical and tech upgrades, which will undergo final tests and evaluations in the coming months before sales begin towards the end of this year.

The new RS3 LMS is drastically different from its predecessor and takes after the latest generation Audi A3 in terms of design. The pilot car is finished in striking Audi Sport livery and features a giant radiator grille, centrally-mounted exhaust pipe at the back, and a huge fixed rear wing. Despite the over-the-top design, it looks more harmonious than before.

Gallery: Audi RS 3 LMS (2021)

Just like the previous RS3 LMS, the new race car has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine under the bonnet. It’s an evolution of the EA888 engine family and in this application, it delivers an output of up to 335 bhp (250 kilowatts) at 6,250 rpm and 332 pound-feet (420 Newton-metres) of torque at 2,500 rpm. A thoroughly updated six-speed sequential racing transmission channels the power to the front axle, which is equipped with a multi-plate limited-slip differential with adjustable preloading.

Audi is especially proud of what it has achieved in the safety department. It says that “no other TCR touring car offers as many optional safety components” as the RS3 LMS has as standard. These include a roll cage made of steel tubes, a six-point safety belt, robust race bucket seats, a fire extinguishing system, and others. Optionally available are seat-wrapping safety nets on the right and left.

The automaker has also made significant changes to the suspension. The new design of the front McPherson axle, for example, now allows for faster changes to the kinematics than ever before. In turn, the four-link rear axle uses track rods as standard to achieve bump steer effects.

“Our new Audi RS 3 LMS thus takes on a great and responsible legacy,” Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing, comments. “The focus of our development goals for our latest model was on the customers. Whether it’s about running times or setup options, safety or cockpit ergonomics: we want to offer the teams a car that’s even more of a race car than before, that has many practical advantages in everyday use and that can be operated economically thanks to long-running times.”