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  Audi 90 Quattro IMSA GTO      

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Country of origin:Germany
Produced in:1989
Numbers built:6
Internal name:R5
Predecessor:Audi 200 Quattro Trans-Am
Successor:Audi V8 Quattro DTM
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:March 18, 2013
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Click here to download printer friendly versionIn their first attempt at circuit racing Audi immediately upset the establishment by taking eight wins and the 1988 Trans-Am championship with the 200 Quattro. After several attempts to slow the big Audis had failed, the sport's governing body banned all-wheel drive from 1989, effectively forcing the German manufacturer out of Trans-Am. Audi of America did not have to look far to continue their racing effort as they set about developing a brand new racer for the rivalling IMSA GTO Championship.

While the GT moniker suggested the IMSA GTO cars were production based, they were actually purpose-built racers with a silhouette body, which still somewhat resembled the road-going equivalent. Accordingly, Audi constructed a steel, tubular space-frame from scratch to house the sophisticated drivetrain that had previously been used so successfully in the German manufacturers rally cars. Suspension was by double wishbones and coil springs and big ventilated discs were fitted on all four corners.

Mounted ahead of the front axle was the ultimate development of the straight five engine previously used in the Group B and Pikes Peak rally cars. Displacing just under 2.2 litre, it was equipped with a four-valve per cylinder head and a massive KKK turbo. In this guise, the all-alloy unit produced in excess of 700 bhp and around 720 Nm of torque. This was fed to all four wheels through a six-speed gearbox and Audi's trademark quattro system. As the regulations permitted for only five gears, the 90 IMSA GTO raced with one gear blanked off.

In order to maintain at least the silhouette of the road car, the rules did stipulate that the roof had to be sourced from the production model. The rest of the new IMSA racer's bodywork was crafted from lightweight composites. This was a good thing as there was a quite a lot of it to clear the massive 14" wide wheels. Considerable time was spent in the wind-tunnel to hone the aerodynamics, resulting in a full width front air-dam and a big wing mounted on the tail of the car. The big engine's exhaust was routed through the passenger door.

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  Article Image gallery (17) Specifications