From the moment Audi’s R8 sports car was launched in Paris in 2006, it has been a phenomenal success story and a sure fire hit with the world’s motoring press.
Car Advice was fortunate enough to test-drive the impeccably tuned ABT version of the R8 4.2-litre FSI V8 in Germany last year and came away with the belief that it is quite possibly the best sports car we have ever driven above 300km/h – and we have driven a few.
Our reasons for such a big call are simple; super fast, super stable and grip levels up and down the Allgau Mountains in Bavaria that will have you shaking your head in disbelief. It’s also comfortable and very easy to live with on a day-to-day basis.
Then along comes big brother, the Audi R8 5.2 FSI quattro, pushing out 386kW and 530Nm of torque and good enough to go from 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds and onto a top speed of 316km/h.
But ABT being ABT, which translates to ‘enough is never enough’ in the power and handling stakes, have just released what should be an ‘all time’ supercar called the ABT R8 GT-R – “A Motorsport Champion for the road”. Only 25 cars will be built, so rarity is guaranteed, as is a substantial performance lift.
Try 456 kW (650HP), or a 0-100km/h sprint in just 3.2 seconds, against the standard car’s 3.9 seconds, which isn’t exactly ‘hang’ in around’.
Top speed jumps to 325km/h, but frankly, that’s only fractionally quicker than what we achieved in their 4.2-litre version last year on the Autobahn.
In order to get that much power to the ground, ABT have employed height-adjustable Sports suspension and adjustable dampers as standard kit on the R8 GT-R.
Extreme stopping power is thanks to a ceramic brake system with modified brake pads, while rounding off the car is a set of ABT CR ultra light alloys shod with super wide Michelin Sports Cup 305/30 ZR 19s down the rear and 235/35 ZR 19s up front.
ABT are big into racing in Germany (their R8 finished 2nd in last year’s 24 hour endurance race at Nurburgring and are the current DTM champions) so there’s a fair dose of race technology built into this car, including plenty of weight saving composite components.
Carbon-fibre features heavily with the bonnet, front and rear aprons, rear wing, tailgate and steering wheel are all made of the material. Add to that, the side mirrors, door panels and outline edge on the rear, and the ABT GT-R is a full 100 kilograms heavier than the Series car.
Even the glass side windows have been ditched in favour of those made of Makrolon – a high-tech polycarbonate, which is not only lighter but also significantly more shatter resistant.
Inside are some superb Recaro racing seats, a four-point harness, stainless steel rollover bar with seatbelt attachment and a hand held fire extinguisher.
Successful racer and the man responsible for the development of the car, Christian ABT says, “ The R8 GT-R is an uncompromising race car for the road, and provides maximum performance”
And if you are one of those fortunate 25 owners of the R8 GT-R expect to be the recipient of an ABT driver’s suit, helmet, racing shoes and gloves as all part of the ownership experience.