While in Germany for the Frankfurt Motor Show, we used this opportunity to remove some items from our bucket-list. This trip included a visit to Audi in Neckarsulm, which is home to the R8 production facility. Our visit also corresponded with the start of an R8 exhibit at the , which opened to celebrate the launch of the second generation of Audi’s flagship sports car.
The R8 is one the most recognizable supercars on the market today, dating back to the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show when Audi debuted the Audi Le Mans quattro concept. The design, inspired by an eagle’s face has prominent clear cut lines; it features a 5.0-liter twin-turbo V10 engine that propels the Le Mans quattro to 60 mph in 3.7-seconds. Its impressive Jet Blue paint job is also one of our favorite shades of blue on the R8.
Yes, it’s hard to believe that almost twelve years have passed! The R8’s striking design remains relevant even today. A car which is equally at home on the racetrack as it is on the road, it’s suitable for everyday use and unmistakably carries motorsport genes.
The R8 name goes back even further to 2000 and the Audi R8 LMP 900. The R8 road car’s namesake is one of the most successful prototype racers of the modern era. Winning an incredible 63 out if its official 79 races, while gathering 47 pole position starts. You can see more about the R8 and other historical Audi Racing cars from our visit to Audi Tradition.
No other Audi volume-production model is closer to motorsports than the Audi R8. In 2009, Audi debuted the Audi R8 LMS, which would further blur the motorsports line and bring the R8 name back to the race track and top-tier GT3 racing. The R18 V10 shares more than 50% of the parts in the R8 LMS. Even the modern FSI engine in the R8 road car has it’s rooted in the LMP car.
To date, Audi has sold more than 130 R8 race cars, and the car has racked up some 26 championship victories. In May, the new Audi R8 LMS operated by Audi Sport Team WRT, driven by Christopher Mies, Nico Müller, Edward Sandström, and Laurens Vanthoor managed a brilliant 24-hour racing debut by clinching victory at the Nürburgring.
The 570 Horsepower R8 LMX is the first production car to go on sale with built-in laser high beams. Audi only produced 99-examples. The laser high-beams activate when the car is traveling faster than 37 mph. There’s also a camera that detects incoming traffic and switches the pattern not to blind the oncoming driver. Now, the laser high-beam is a factory option for the second-generation R8.
The second-generation R8 e-tron demonstrates that electric mobility and sporty driving are not mutually exclusive. You can, in fact, have both — with a range of around 280-miles, it’s capable of hitting 0-60 in less than 4 seconds. The R8 e-tron debuted in 2015 at the Geneva Auto Show and were available as a build to order option. It’s also rear-wheel-drive only!
This Audi R8 GT is wearing the Gulf Racing Design, owned by the former member of the Audi Board, Michael Dick. In the 1960s and 70s, Gulf Oil dominated an entire motorsports era with several Le Mans wins. They’re even rumors that this particular example is rear-wheel-drive only.
One of our favorite R8s is the Spyder. There’s something great about being able to open the top and enjoy the engine and exhaust note with any filters. Thanks to the use of carbon fiber, Audi engineers were able to keep the handling of the Spyder very close to that of the coupe, even with the extra weight of the folding roof.
The all new Audi R8 V10 Plus further blurs the lines between motorsports and the road car. Its 5.2-liter V10 engine produces 610 horsepower, and its chassis was fine tuned by Audi Sport Drivers. The result is an R8 that is more dynamic and sharper both on and off the racetrack.
In the R8 V10 Plus’s shadow is the Audi R8 GT. At the time of its introduction, it was the lightest and fastest R8 that you could purchase. Weighing 220-pounds less, with its optional roll-over bar, four-point harness, fire extinguisher, external battery kill switch and race mode (which to activate, you needed to open the front trunk and attach two wires) the R8 GT was ready for racing. Audi only produced 333 R8 GTs.