Performance is even more acutely of the essence in the new Audi R8 GT, a distillation of the celebrated Audi 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 optimised alternatives to many body and mechanical components, the 100kg lighter Audi R8 GT is able to deliver even more breathtaking pace and handling poise. A total of 33 examples of the most extreme road-going Audi R8 to date will become available to order in the summer at an OTR price of £142,585.
The Audi R8 GT benefits from the considerable expertise gained in paring back the weight and maximizing the performance potential of the Audi 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' Audi 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 Audi 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.
Collectively the detail changes reduce the kerb weight of the Audi 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 Audi R8 GT also remains a viable proposition for more than just occasional use.Published 5 May 2010