Audi’s lean machine
A top performer has been put on a diet, writes Paul Gover
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.