Imagine for a moment heading down to your local Ford dealer and picking up a Dick Johnson Racing Supercar with some number plates on it. Sounds like fantasy, right? Wrong.
Abt Sportline, the race team behind much of Audi's modern success in Germany's DTM racing series has built a road-going racing car – the Abt XGT. This isn't marketing spin or hyperbole either, the XGT isn't an Audi R8 road car modified for more performance, the starting point was the Audi R8 GT2 racing car. Using that as the foundation, Abt's team of engineers and designers spent two years developing the car and getting it approved by Audi management.
“Two highly intensive years have passed from the idea to completion,” said Thomas Biermaier, Abt Sportsline managing director.
“Our engineers and mechanics had some tough challenges to overcome,” he added.
These challenges included taking a race-prepared shell, complete with rollcage, and getting it suitable for road use in Europe without diminishing its performance and handling. Abt even drafted in its DTM drivers, Kelvin van der Linde and Ricardo Feller, to ensure it retained true race car driving dynamics.
Abt's engineers managed to blend performance elements from the R8 GT2, such as the 470kW 5.2-litre V10 engine, with some road car conveniences; including the fueling system, air-conditioning, central locking, a reversing camera and a handbrake.
But the aerodynamics are pure race car and it rides on dual-adjustable suspension with bespoke springs and dampers, as well as Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tyres.
Inside the cabin looks like it's designed for hitting the track, not ducking to the local shops. Aside from the full rollcage, there's a racing-style steering wheel, a digital dashboard and lightweight switchgear.
Abt, and development partner Scherer Sport, will only build 99 examples of the XGT and each will be able to be fully customised by the new owner. But you should expect nothing less when you learn the starting price is more than $995,000.
Abt Sportline is one of Germany's most successful racing teams. Since the return of the DTM in 2000 it has won five championships and scored more than 250 podium finishes, while also running a successful tuning business modifying Audi road cars; similar to the glory days of the Tom Walkinshaw-owned Holden Racing Team and Holden Special Vehicles.