Believe it or not, there is such a thing as an "entry-level" race car. After all, it's not like you get thrown into a Le Mans car on your first outing. Audi's latest barrel-bottom racer is based on the brand newsedan, and hot diggity damn, it's a looker.
The Audi RS3 LMS is a cheap and unbelievably cool way to break into the world of amateur racing. It starts at 99,000 euros (around $110,500) for the club sport variant, but it jumps up to 129,000 euros ($144,000) if you want the more hardcore TCR series racer. In TCR trim, its 2.0-liter engine puts out 330 horsepower and will reach 62 mph in 4.5 seconds.
This is, clearly, not a road car. It's low and wide, rocking some very aggressive aerodynamics. There's a trick center-exit exhaust out back, and the interior only barely resembles the road-going version. It would drive on the road, sure, but the local constabulary may have some issues with a non-licensed race car blasting about.
Of course, being a proper race car, there's loads of safety equipment baked into the RS3 LMS. The price of entry includes a FIA-spec fuel tank, a roll cage, safety nets and a PS3 safety seat. There's also a rescue hatch on the roof, similar to Audi's R8 LMS endurance racer.
With the TCR-spec car, you'll be able to run in certain supporting races during Formula 1 weekends, along with standalone endurance events like the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. If you want a cost-efficient (relatively speaking), easy way to slide behind the seat of a race car, here's your best bet.
Paris Motor Show 2016
reading•Audi heads to the races with its all-new RS3 LMS
Oct 1•Opel's Ampera-e is a yellow Bolt from the Paris blue
Oct 1•Join us for a 360 show floor tour of the 2016 Paris Motor Show
Oct 1•Show cars: French movie cars at the 2016 Paris Motor Show
Oct 1•AMG GLC43 is the latest curvy coupeover from Mercedes-Benz