Audi Steps Up The Pace With Even More Extreme 560PS R8 GT

Audi Steps Up The Pace With Even More Extreme 560PS R8 GT

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Exclusive new version of celebrated V10 sports car packs even more power to propel even less weight for breathtaking performance

  • Limited to 33 UK-bound examples, the R8 GT opens for order in summer priced at £142,585 OTR– first deliveries in spring 2011
  • Kerb weight reduced by 100kg to 1,525kg, output of V10 FSI engine boosted to 560PS and torque to 540Nm, giving an impressive power-to-weight ratio of 367PS per ton
  • Available exclusively with R tronic automated manual transmission
  • 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds, combined mpg 20.6
  • Fastest ever road-going Audi with 199mph top speed

Performance is even more acutely of the essence in the new Audi R8 GT, a distillation of the celebrated R8 V10 formula into an even more concentrated and potent form. Through an engine upgrade to 560PS, and the use of even more intensively weight optimized alternatives to many body and mechanical components, the 100kg lighter R8 GT is able to deliver even more breathtaking pace and handling poise. A total of 33 examples of the most extreme road-going R8 to date will become available to order in the summer at an OTR price of £142,585.

The R8 GT benefits from the considerable expertise gained in paring back the weight and maximizing the performance potential of the R8 LMS GT3, the circuit car with which it draws obvious parallels, and which won 23 races in its first season and claimed three championships in 2009 and 2010.

Thanks to its largely hand built aluminium Audi Space Frame (ASF) body, weighing only 210 kilograms, and the lightweight aluminium panels joined to it with exceptional precision, the ‘standard’ R8 is already a flyweight by class standards, but by closely scrutinizing every element of the car Audi engineers have managed to whittle away a further 100kg, taking the kerb weight to 1,525kg.

Nine of these kilograms were lost through the use of thinner glass for the windscreen, and a strong but light polycarbonate for the bulkhead and the window in the rear hatch. Lighter sheet metal and additional cutouts shaved a further 2.6 kilograms from the aluminium ‘boot lid’ covering the 100 litre luggage compartment at the front, and at the rear the replacement of the speed activated rear spoiler with a fixed rear wing docked an additional 1.2 kilograms.

Use of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) for the rear ‘bonnet’ has eliminated a further 6.6 kilograms, and a new CFRP rear bumper and CFRP sideblades also save 5.2 and 1.5 kilograms respectively. With its minimal weight and extremely high strength, CFRP is the ideal material for a high-performance sports car, and Audi has broad-based expertise in its use.

The technical components of the R8 GT have not been ignored either. One kilogram has been deducted from the brake system, four kilograms from the aluminium caps of the brake discs, 9.4 kilograms from the battery, 2.3 kilograms from the air intake module and 2.8 kilograms from the insulation of the engine compartment.

The interior also offered substantial weight-saving potential. Numerous details have been further refined, key among these being the fitting of lightweight carpeting which accounts for 7.9 kilograms and the installation of bucket seats with a glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) chassis which cut 31.5 kilograms.

More power, less weight

Collectively the detail changes reduce the kerb weight of the R8 from 1,625kg to 1,525kg, and are combined with a 35PS boost to the output of the V10 FSI engine, taking it to 560PS and securing an exceptional power-to-weight ratio of 367PS per ton.  With its distinctive red coloured cylinder head covers, the direct injection V10 petrol engine in the R8 GT delivers its 540Nm torque peak at 6,500rpm but can continue to rev purposefully through to 8,700rpm.

As a result, the super car can catapult from a standing start to 62mph in 3.6 seconds, from rest to 124mph in 10.8 seconds and, where conditions permit, on to 199mph – the highest top speed ever posted by a road-going Audi. A combined economy figure of 20.6mpg confirms that despite offering even more breathtaking performance the R8 GT also remains a viable proposition for more than just occasional use.

Gear changes in the R8 GT are handled by the R tronic sequential manual transmission without exception. Thanks to its electrohydraulic clutch and switching unit it shifts through each of its six gears within one tenth of a second at high load and engine speed, and it can operate in Normal, Sport and ‘manual’ modes.

The intense pace delivered via the R tronic transmission is used as gainfully as possible thanks to effective management by the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system. Its central viscous coupling located at the front differential sends 15 percent of the power to the front axle and 85 percent to the rear axle during normal driving, perfectly complementing the R8 GT’s 43:57 percent weight distribution. The coupling sends as much as 30 percent of the power to the front wheels within milliseconds if necessary. A mechanical locking differential at the rear axle further improves traction. It provides up to 25 percent lockup when accelerating and up to 40 percent on the overrun.

Chassis even tauter and more precise

This configuration, combined with the mid-mounted engine’s positioning close to the vertical axis, helps the racing-inspired double wishbone suspension to deliver breathtaking lateral acceleration and lightning-fast reactions. The R8 GT intensifies these responses through hydraulic, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering that has an even more direct 16.3:1 ratio. A manually adjustable coilover suspension, which lowers the body by as much as 10 millimetres, is also standard, and higher front and rear wheel camber rates also help to boost agility even further.

The ESP stabilization program has been specially tuned to the R8 GT and can be switched into a Sport mode at the push of a button to allow a degree of controllable oversteer when accelerating out of a corner. If required, for track days and other circuit-based driving, the system can be deactivated entirely.

The 19-inch forged wheels are 8.5 J x 19 up front and 11 J x 19 at the rear, and are shod with size 235/35 and 295/30 tyres respectively. Optional rear wheels with 305/30 section tyres will also be available, as will Cup tyres, which offer the ultimate in performance on dry roads, for racing enthusiasts.

Standard ceramic brakes

Internally ventilated, carbon fibre ceramic brake disks with GT-exclusive red anodized calipers will be fitted as standard. They are extremely durable and abrasion-resistant as well as particularly lightweight. Together they weigh nine kilograms less than their steel counterparts of the same size. They measure 380 millimetres in diameter up front and 356 millimetres at the rear.

The ESP stabilization program has been specially tuned to the R8 GT and can be switched into a Sport mode at the push of a button to allow a degree of controllable oversteer when accelerating out of a corner. If required, for track days and other circuit-based driving, the system can be deactivated entirely.

In the pursuit of even more exceptional performance, but also of even more visual drama, the exterior of the R8 has also undergone numerous modifications as part of the GT transformation. In many cases these reduce weight and enhance aerodynamics, ensuring that the R8 GT produces even more downforce when driven fast than the production model – without any increase in the Cd value (0.36) or frontal area (1.99 m2).

The frame of the single-frame grille, its struts and the slats in the air intakes are finished in matt titanium grey, while the grille is painted matt black. The splitter under the bumper has a double lip and is made of carbon fibre. Slender, curved ‘fins’ at the corners of the nose increase downforce on the front axle and are also made of a carbon fibre composite.

The defining element of the side view is the sideblades, which direct air to the engine and in the R8 GT are also made of matt carbon. The same material is used for the reduced-size housing of the side mirrors, which are mounted on an aluminium base. The 19-inch wheels are also GT-specific, with an exclusive five twin-spoke Y design in a titanium-look finish, and “GT” insignias on the front wings also help to mark this out as an even more exclusive R8.

The modifications to the rear of the car are also particularly prominent. They include a matt carbon fixed wing, redesigned ventilation louvers on both sides of the rear hatch and the CFRP bumper, which integrates large, round tailpipes and vents for the wheel wells. The diffuser is also larger, and in the GT is made of carbon fibre composite, and the license plate surround and the wide slats in the ventilation ducts are finished in matt titanium grey. The tail lights, which also use LED technology, have dark housings with panes of clear glass.

The R8 GT will be offered with a choice of four ‘standard’’ body colours – Samoa Orange metallic, Suzuka Grey metallic, Ice Silver metallic and Phantom Black pearl effect – as well as the wide range of colours available as part of the Audi Exclusive personalization programme.

Exclusive and dynamic: interior and equipment

True to Audi values, the increased performance and efficiency of the R8 GT does not demand sacrifice or compromise where occupant comfort and convenience is concerned. Automatic climate control, power windows, a navigation system with MMI operating logic and a powerful sound system are fitted as standard, and a 465 watt, ten-channel Bang & Olufsen sound system, a CD changer and the Audi Music Interface are available as options.

The ergonomic interior is finished in black and dark grey, with Alcantara featuring contrasting stitching used for the steering wheel, headliner, roof pillars, knee pad, hand brake lever and bucket seats. A synthetic ‘sharkskin-look’ material that feels slightly rough to the touch is applied to the bulkhead, the door liners, the instrument cowl and the dashboard. The “monoposto” – the arch in the cockpit – is made of matte carbon.

The instrument cluster features white dials with “R8 GT” badges, the transmission tunnel and door liners feature decorative body-coloured inlays and the door sills are trimmed in matt aluminium embossed with the R8 GT logo. The gear selector is also a new design crafted from CFRP and aluminium.

A number of exclusive features are available as options for the R8 GT. Exterior options include two alternative wheels, a body-colour front splitter and a CFRP engine compartment lining. Inside, carbon elements in the doors, the tunnel, the cockpit and the instrument panel can also be added at extra cost. Other options include a multifunction leather steering wheel, seat belts in red, orange or grey, floor mats with the “R8 GT” logo and CFRP door sill trims illuminated in red. Sports seats with carbon frames which are even lighter than the standard CFRP shells are also available, as is Alcantara upholstery with embroidered R8 GT logos.

Buyers looking for more comfort and convenience can also choose mobile phone preparation with an innovative belt microphone, a full leather package and a cruise control system as options.

For racing enthusiasts a race package will also be offered. It includes a bolt-in roll bar in red or black, which has both road and type approval, as well as road-approved four-point belts in red or black, a fire extinguisher and a kill switch for the battery. An optional front bar module for motorsport events includes a rotary lock for the four-point seatbelt and turns the roll bar into a full cage.