Race versions of a road car aren't always better.
Don't let the aggressive aerodynamic bits and the flashy paint job fool you, not every race car is better than its road-legal counterpart. It doesn't look like it from the outside, but due to TCR (Touring Car Racing) regulations, this RCR-legal RS3 LMS has a smaller engine, is less powerful, and on paper might even seem less impressive. For that it can thank stringent racing regulations that the regular RS3 doesn't have to adhere to. The RS3 seems better then, until looking at downforce figures, the transmission, and the ultra wide tires.
It's only a select few that will drive the race version, but the standard RS3 is more widely available. Out of curiosity, Australia's Motoring found it imperative that they take both cars to the track to figure out how the RS3 compares to its hardcore yet less powerful sibling.
In a straight line, the RS3's power overwhelms the RS3 LMS, but that car was never meant for the drag strip. As a vehicle built for the Touring Car Championship, it sports all the hardware it needs, including that downsized and weaker engine, to comply with race day regulations. In the bends, the sum of the rule-limited technology gives us a clear picture of how suspension, aerodynamic, transmission, and wheel size differences create a character that's more in line with what the corners require. For better or for worse, it's a prefect example of why horsepower isn't everything.