No, it’s not one of Audi Sport’s GT2 race cars, but the latest special edition from ABT – and it’s designed for the road.

1 December, 2023

A race car in… well, race car clothing. It’s called the ABT XGT and it’s a two-seater sportscar that’s the most extreme vehicle to come from the celebrated workshops of ABT Sportsline. Driven by a 5.2-litre normally-aspitrated V10 powerplant developing 470kW, mated to a seven-speed S tronic transmission with power going down to the road through the rear wheels.

It has a top speed of 310km/h, weighs around 1400kg and just 99 will be hand built by ABT Sportsline at a cost of around 600,000 Euros. Oh, and it’s a street-legal road car.

If it looks familiar, that’s because you’ve seen it before – or at least you’ve seen something very similar to the ABT XGT before. Audi Sport unveiled the R8 GT2 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2019 with none other than Mr Le Mans Tom Kristensen not only removing the dust cloth but later taking the car up the famous Goodwood hill climb. The car, based on the Audi R8 V10 Spyder, was designed specifically for GT2 racing – not German Touring Car racing (DTM) as reported by various outlets – and has been campaigned with considerable success ever since. 

Tom Kristensen unveiled the car at Goodwood in 2019.
Tom Kristensen and Chris Reinke – Head of Audi Sport customer racing with the R8 LMS GT2 at Pebble Beach.

But it is ABT Sportsline’s long and highly successful history of competition at the highest levels of international motorsport (including DTM) that have turned that pure race machine into this extraordinary, street-legal reality.

ABT’s association with Audi is a long and storied one, working together both on and off the track to produce some thrilling vehicles and some equally thrilling motorsport performances over many years. ABT has also produced many of its own ‘special edition’ versions of Audi Sport models, with the likes of the ABT RS 6 Legacy Edition and the RS Q8 Signature Edition and of course the Johann Abt Signature Edition RS 6 Avant to commemorate 125 years of the Abt Sportsline brand.

But this new race car for the road certainly takes things to new extremes, even for ABT.

The 470kW is as per the R8 LMS GT2 car, which enjoys the mantle of being the most powerful car produced by Audi Sport customer racing, but in a car destined for the road as well as the track, it takes on a new significance.

The ABT Sportsline team spent more than two years developing the XGT project and making it a reality. Turning the Audi GT2 LMS car into a steerable reality was no mean feat and drew on all of the company’s expertise to achieve – meeting a stringent approval process and completing thousands of hours of testing to perfect.

But the very challenges associated with producing such a vehicle was part of the appeal according to Hans-Jürgen Abt, Managing Partner at ABT Sportsline.

“It was the challenge itself that spurred us on to develop this unique complete vehicle. The XGT is the quintessence of our heritage,” he says.

Drawing on decades of experience of producing both winning race cars and extraordinary roads cars to arrive at the perfect synthesis of both.

“Our engineers and mechanics had some tough challenges to overcome,” says ABT Sportsline Managing Director Thomas Biermaier.

Every facet of the car is unashamedly race oriented. This vehicle is, as ABT stresses, ‘not a super sports car with a racing look, it is a road-legal racing car’.

During the development process it was extensively tested by some of the best in the business, with names like Kelvin van der Linde, Ricardo Feller and Frank Stippler, who have all raced extensively for Audi Sport, providing input on the finished vehicle.

To achieve what ABT Sportsline calls ‘ the perfect setup’ the XGT spent countless hours being driven on numerous world class race tracks, including of course, the Green Hell – the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

The result is a car that is ‘the most exclusive ever to be produced by ABT Sportsline and one that represents the ultimate fusion of road and track in one, jaw-dropping package. Exclusively distributed by Scherer Sport for ABT Sportsline, the 99, handbill cars are expected to be snapped up by collectors and those with an eye for vehicles at the very extreme end of the scale.