Audi’s lean ma­chine

A top per­former has been put on a diet, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - What’s On -

THE ul­ti­mate Audi R8 has just been shown in Europe and a few are headed for Aus­tralia. The R8 GT is lighter, more pow­er­ful, faster at 320km/ h and even quicker in a 0-100km/h sprint, which it de­stroys in only 3.6 sec­onds.

Of course, it also prom­ises to be even costlier than the $341,900 R8 V10 quat­tro that cur­rently sits at the top of the Audi pricelist in Aus­tralia.

Pro­duc­tion of the R8 GT is limited to 333 cars, but it’s an all-out ef­fort from the en­gine bay to the aero kit. There are lash­ings of car­bon-fi­bre, which helps to trim 100kg as well as mak­ing the car more de­sir­able.

The V10 FSI en­gine is up­graded to 412kW, a rise of 26kW, with torque also up 10Nm to 540Nm, and the cylin­der heads are painted red — some­thing done in the past by Fer­rari.

Roxy Perse­hais of Audi Aus­tralia says: ‘‘Yes, the R8 GT will be ar­riv­ing on our shores, but the tim­ing is still to be con­firmed.

‘‘It’s too early to com­ment on price es­ti­mates.’’

The weight-loss work on the R8 GT is ex­treme, from a thin­ner wind­screen, to poly­car­bon­ate in the rear hatch, a fixed rear wing, thin­ner sheet­metal and ex­tra cutouts in the bon­net.

Deep in­side the car, the brake sys­tem is 1kg lighter, 2.8kg of in­su­la­tion is missing from the en­gine bay and the bat­tery is 9.4kg lighter.

In the cabin there are light­weight bucket seats and light­weight car­pet. But the weight-loss work has not cost the car its air­con­di­tion­ing, or multimedia in­ter­face com­puter sys­tem, or its Bang & Olufsen sound sys­tem.

Audi says ex­tra tweak­ing in the wind tun­nel means more down­force with­out a drag penalty, thanks to a car­bon-fi­bre front split­ter and ‘‘flics’’ at the cor­ners of the nose.

It rides on 19-inch al­loy wheels and there are, in­evitably, GT badges on the front guards, as well as a num­bered gear­knob.

The GT only comes with the R-tronic manu­matic six-speed gear­box. Car­bon-ce­ramic brakes are stan­dard and the elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol can be de­ac­ti­vated for track use.

There is also a spe­cial race pack­age with a rollover bar, har­ness seat belts, a fire ex­tin­guisher and kill switch for the elec­tri­cal sys­tem.

Light fan­tas­tic: the R8 GT has made ex­ten­sive use of car­bon-fi­bre.

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