SU­PER­CAR SPE­CIAL IS­SUE

UM­BRELLA AUTO DE­SIGN'S LMS- BUILT AUDI R8 STREET CAR

Pasmag (Canada) - - Front Page - Micky Slinger Jade Nel­son Story by I Photography by

THOSE OF US WITH OC­TANE FLOW­ING THROUGH OUR VEINS HAVE DEF­I­NITELY DREAMED OF TAK­ING A PUR­POSE-BUILT RACE­CAR OUT ON THE TOWN, WAK­ING UP THE NEIGH­BORS WITH AN UN­RE­STRICTED EX­HAUST, FLY­ING DOWN EMPTY RES­I­DEN­TIAL STREETS AND WIDE OPEN COUN­TRY ROADS, AND FEEL­ING THE WIDE, STICKY TIRES GRIP AGAINST THE AS­PHALT INTO A COR­NER OR OUT OF A ROUND­ABOUT. IT'S EVEN SOME­THING WE DAYDREAM ABOUT WHEN WE GET A SEC­TION OF OPEN ROAD IN OUR DAILY DRIVERS, IMAG­IN­ING OUR EN­GINES WITH A FEW MORE CYLIN­DERS AND AN IN­VIS­I­BLE CLOCK TO RACE AGAINST (HOPE­FULLY WITH NO COPS AROUND). FOR ONE EN­THU­SI­AST IN VAN­COU­VER, BRI­TISH COLUMBIA, THOSE FAN­TASIES HAVE BE­COME A RE­AL­ITY THANKS TO A TUN­ING SHOP IN SEAT­TLE, WASH­ING­TON.

THE LMS- BUILT R8 DA I LY DRIVER

Cle­ment Ng has been friends with Ravi Ayya­gari of Um­brella Auto De­sign (UAD) for nearly 10 years, pre­vi­ously get­ting a VRH lift sys­tem, which Ayya­gari man­u­fac­tures and in­stalls him­self, on his wide­body S2000. While the S2K was the fo­cus back then, Ng also had a 2009 Audi R8, which be­came a topic of con­ver­sa­tion and was planned to have some work done by UAD at some point. In April, 2013, the R8 had its turn at the Seat­tle shop for JRZ coilovers and a VRH lift sys­tem, a duo that UAD is known for. Ng also in­quired about a wide­body, which Ayya­gari said would be no prob­lem. Un­for­tu­nately, he was wrong. It would be a prob­lem.

“We got the JRZ coilovers in, the wheels he wanted, and we also or­dered a cer­tain wide­body kit,” says Ayya­gari, not nam­ing any names. “When the kit came in, it just wasn't ideal or what we wanted. I spent seven or eight months try­ing to fix all the idio­syn­cra­sies and the flaws. It was re­ally resin rich and weighed a ton.”

Af­ter too much wasted time on

“WHEN THE KIT CAME IN, IT JUST WASN'T IDEAL OR WHAT WE WANTED. I SPENT SEVEN OR EIGHT MONTHS TRY­ING TO FIX ALL THE IDIO­SYN­CRA­SIES AND THE FLAWS. IT WAS RE­ALLY RESIN RICH AND WEIGHED A TON.”

the wide­body, with it fit­ting nei­ther Ayya­gari's nor Ng's vi­sion, Ayya­gari fi­nally came to Ng to ask if there was a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion he could take the build in. In true su­per­car owner style, Ng merely asked him to get the num­bers to­gether. It turns out Ayya­gari had some­thing one-of-a-kind in mind, reach­ing out to some con­tacts of his who race Audi R8 LMS pro­fes­sion­ally, and even­tu­ally speak­ing to some Audi race team en­gi­neers to see if it were pos­si­ble to get some spares for the R8 he had sit­ting in his shop.

“They got back to me and told me what I'd need, what I should get, and how much it would cost,” Ayya­gari re­calls. “It was wildly ex­pen­sive, but we de­cided to go for­ward with it.”

Soon, Aud­is­port LMS dry car­bon fiber wide­body pieces started show­ing up at the shop, made in dif­fer­ent fa­cil­i­ties, years, and some even used in races, in order to com­plete a full set. Mount­ing the front and rear bumper, split­ter, diffuser, hood, side skirts, rocker panels, quar­ter panels, fend­ers, hatch and wing, which slots through the trunk and mounts di­rectly to the frame, Ayya­gari had al­ready mocked up the duct­ing for the cool­ing sys­tem be­fore re­al­iz­ing that some­thing was amiss. The ra­di­a­tor setup on the R8 for the street and the one for the track are very dif­fer­ent, and keep­ing the

stock cool­ing sys­tem wouldn't work with the LMS kit.

On an off-the-lot Audi R8, the ra­di­a­tors sit on the left and right sides, just be­low the head­lights. An up­per ra­di­a­tor core sup­port bar runs lat­er­ally be­tween the frame rails that's pretty much there for mount­ing the bumper, and then a lower sup­port bar, which is a struc­tural com­po­nent to the frame, runs be­low. On the race­car, that's all been elim­i­nated, the struc­tural lower sup­port bar has been cut out and re­placed with a slightly thin­ner, bolt-in Aud­is­port coun­ter­part, and the rad now sits in a v-mount in the mid­dle. Pair that with the fact that there's no such thing as an “R8 LMS cool­ing con­ver­sion kit,” mean­ing that the UAD crew would need to fab­ri­cate all the ra­di­a­tor pip­ing from the front com­part­ment to the en­gine, and it's no won­der Ayya­gari lists that job as the most chal­leng­ing he's ever done.

“There's a huge, 14-inch, su­per-thin SPAL pusher fan that sits be­low the ra­di­a­tor, in­side the v-mount, and the brack­ets for mount­ing it weren't avail­able, so I had to fab­ri­cate this elab­o­rate stain­less steel cage that the ra­di­a­tor sits in, on top of the v-mount,” he re­calls, find­ing some hu­mor in it now. “Af­ter that was in there, I had to cut the frame, drop the ra­di­a­tor mount in, and then set the rivnuts. I had never done any­thing that crazy be­fore. I still re­mem­ber the day I cut the cen­ter of the frame out – it was re­ally scary.”

With the cool­ing sys­tem fi­nally work­ing, the sus­pen­sion in, and the car lit­er­ally fir­ing on all cylin­ders, the team at UAD re­ceived more good news with some recog­ni­tion from Yoko­hama Wheels in the form of an in­vi­ta­tion to sit at their booth at SEMA. As vi­sions of the R8 on Ad­van GTs in Ve­gas danced in their heads, it was de­cided to take the per­for­mance of the car up an­other level, so Ayya­gari reached out to CFI De­signs, as they're known for their twin-turbo set­ups for R8s and Gal­lar­dos. Tout­ing a new turbo kit with a cus­tom cen­ter-exit ex­haust, push­ing 580 wheel-horse­power and some very nice noises, while sit­ting pretty on Ad­van GTs in GTR-spec, mea­sur­ing in at 20x10 in the front (mirac­u­lously stretch­ing a 235/30 over it) and 21x12 in the rear, the LMS street­car was game for the big show, hav­ing only one lit­tle hic­cup on the way out the door.

“My friend that owns the trans­port com­pany brought his trailer and his truck, but the Audi was too wide to get in­side,” Ayya­gari chuck­les. “He had to go back and get his semi-truck so he could get it to Ve­gas!”

Com­ing home from Ve­gas the dar­ling of ev­ery at­tendee's In­sta­gram ac­count, the R8 was soon back in the shop to get some

“...AF­TER THAT WAS IN THERE, I HAD TO CUT THE FRAME, DROP THE RA­DI­A­TOR MOUNT IN, AND THEN SET THE RIVNUTS. I HAD NEVER DONE ANY­THING THAT CRAZY BE­FORE. I STILL RE­MEM­BER THE DAY I CUT THE CEN­TER OF THE FRAME OUT – IT WAS RE­ALLY SCARY.”

fin­ish­ing touches be­fore Ng comes to fi­nally pick her up for the sum­mer. Yes, the car looks like a race­car, but it'll be driven on the road, and as such needs some crea­ture com­forts, like an au­dio sys­tem fit for an all-car­bon Audi. Re­ally, the only thing that goes with car­bon is more car­bon, so Ayya­gari sourced Il­lu­sion Au­dio's Car­bon Se­ries com­po­nent speak­ers and subs, and paired them with two of Mosconi's small­est am­pli­fiers, which are mounted un­der the pas­sen­ger seat. The Mosconi D2 100.4DSP fea­tures six chan­nels of built-in DSP and runs 100 watts by four chan­nels to the Il­lu­sion C6 com­po­nents, while the D2 monoblock pow­ers the C10 sub with 500 watts of clean power.

“I was re­ally im­pressed with how light­weight they are,” Ayya­gari says of the speak­ers. “Hav­ing the mag­net on the front makes them re­ally ver­sa­tile, as far as the mount­ing depth. I was able to cre­ate a di­rect bolt-in baf­fle for the doors that picks up on all the fac­tory bolt points, so there's no drilling or cut­ting, and then added its own drilled mount­ing points for the speaker bas­ket. It's su­per clean.”

Af­ter al­most ex­actly four years, the Audi will be tak­ing some time off and va­ca­tion­ing with Ng for car show and track sea­son in Van­cou­ver. When win­ter hits, it'll be back to UAD for a cus­tom in­te­rior and a splash of paint be­fore it can re­ally be called com­plete. In the mean­time, the car that was only sup­posed to be in for some wheels, sus­pen­sion, and a body kit, but came out on the other side as a race­car for the street will be out and cruis­ing to meets or back and forth to the track, so if you're car-spot­ting in BC, keep an eye out to catch it as it blows past.

THE MOSCONI D2 100.4DSP FEA­TURES SIX CHAN­NELS OF BUILT-IN DSP AND RUNS 100 WATTS BY FOUR CHAN­NELS TO THE IL­LU­SION C6 COM­PO­NENTS, WHILE THE D2 MONOBLOCK POW­ERS THE C10 SUB WITH 500 WATTS OF CLEAN POWER.

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