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by George Skentzos

After months of tantalising spy shots from the Nürburgring, Audi has officially unveiled its limited production Audi R8 GT performance flagship model.

The track-focussed Audi R8 GT is more powerful, lighter and faster than the standard R8 V10, with only 333 examples to be made – each carrying its production number on the shift lever knob.

The 5.2-litre V10 engine has been modified to produce additional 26kW and 10Nm, bringing its peak output to 412kW and 540Nm with the rush continuing all the way to redline at 8,700rpm.

The R8 GT sprints to 100km/h from a standing start in 3.6 seconds and from zero to 200 km/h in 10.8 seconds – not letting up until the top speed of 320 km/h is reached.

But power is only half of the equation, with the Audi R8 GT shedding 100kg by employing Audi’s lightweight construction philosophy which combines lightweight exotic materials for optimum rigidity and strength,

The aluminium Audi Space Frame (ASF) body weighs only 210kg while the engine frame is made of ultra lightweight magnesium – all hand-built at the Neckarsulm plant in a complex manufacturing process.

In its unmolested form the production R8 5.2 FSI quattro weighs only 1,625kg so engineers employed a more creative and obsessive approach to shedding weight for the GT version which tips the scales at 1,525kg.

The windshield of the R8 GT is made of thinner glass while the bulkhead and rear windows have been crafted from a strong, lightweight polycarbonate – saving 9kg in total.

The fixed rear wing is good for an additional saving of 1.2kg while thinner sheet metal and additional cutouts shaved 2.6kg from the aluminium bonnet.

Carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) was used for the rear hatch – an advantage of 6.6kg – with the same material saving an additional 6.7kg in the rear bumper and sideblades.

Engineers became pedantic for the interior; saving every possible gram with lightweight carpeting accounts for 7.9kg while the bucket seats with a chassis of glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) account for 31.5kg.

The Audi R8 GT also features full LED headlamps, flanked either side by slender carbon fibre canards which work together with the new front splitter to increase downforce at the front.

A carbon ceramic brake package is standard for the Audi R8 GT – with six pistons up front – in a red anodised finished, housed behind 19-inch forged wheels which feature an exclusive five twin-spoke Y design in a titanium-look finish.

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 more rear slip, with the driver able to deactivate the system entirely for a trip to the race track.

The Audi R8 GT, which Audi sells in Germany for A$276,500, still comes with an automatic climate control system and power windows, a navigation system with MMI operating logic and a powerful sound system.




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