New Audi R8 GT: Hardcore Lightweight Special with 560HP V10

[Updated] Audi has lifted the covers off a more powerful, lighter and faster special edition version of its mid-engined supercar called the R8 GT. It will be produced in a strictly limited number of 333 units with prices in Germany set at €193,000, or about US$256,500 at today’s exchange rates.

The headline grabbing figures are a more potent version of the 5.2-liter V10 engine pumping 560HP, total weight savings of roughly 100kg or 220 lbs, a 0 to 100km/h (62mph) sprint time of 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 320 km/h or 199mph.

In detail and starting from the weight saving measures, Audi managed to shave a hefty 100 kg or 220 pounds off the standard R8 5.2 FSI with the R8 GT tipping the scales at 1,525 kg or 3,362 lbs.

So how did they pull it off? Well, let’s just say that Ingolstadt’s engineers had to literally take the supercar apart and either replace parts components with lighter components or ditch them altogether. If you want all the details, here’s Audi’s explanation:

“The windshield of the R8 GT is made of thinner glass; the bulkhead between the passenger cell and engine compartment, as well as the window in the rear hatch are made of strong, lightweight polycarbonate. These three modifications saved nine kilograms (19.84 lb). The fixed rear wing is good for an additional 1.2 kilograms (2.65 lb); thinner sheet metal and additional cutouts shaved 2.6 kilograms (5.73 lb) from the aluminum hatch over the 100 liter (3.53 cu ft) luggage compartment at the front of the car.

The long rear hatch is made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) – an advantage of 6.6 kilograms (14.55 lb). The rear bumper and the sideblades of this same material save an additional 5.2 and 1.5 kilograms (11.46 and 3.31 lb), respectively.

The engineers also fought to shave every possible gram of weight from the technical components of R8. They shaved one kilogram (2.20 lb) from the power brake system, four kilograms (8.82 lb) from the aluminum caps of the brake discs and 9.4 kilograms (20.72 lb) from the battery. The engineers also found 2.3 kilograms (5.07 lb) in the air intake module and 2.8 kilograms (6.17 lb) in the insulation of the engine compartment.

The interior also harbored substantial weight-savings potential. The new, lightweight carpeting accounts for 7.9 kilograms (17.42 lb); the bucket seats with a chassis of glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) account for 31.5 kilograms (69.45 lb). Numerous additional detailed measures targeted the interior, the exterior and the technology, such as higher-grade, lighter steel for the exhaust system’s tailpipes.”

Moving on the engine bay, changes to the V10s electronics added an extra 35HP and 10Nm or 7.4 lb-ft for a total output of 560 horsepower and 540Nm or 398.3 lb-ft of peak torque at 6,500 rpm.

Power is channeled to all four wheels through a 6-speed R tronic sequential manual transmission. Under normal driving conditions, the 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, and as much as 30 percent to the front wheels if necessary.

The R8 GT also gets a mechanical locking differential at the rear axle that provides up to 25 percent lockup when accelerating and up to 40 percent on the overrun.

The car gets a manually adjustable coilover suspension, which lowers the body by as much as 10 millimeters (0.39 in), fitted as standard, while Audi says that higher front and rear wheel camber rates make the handling “a tick more agile” than with the standard V10 model.

In addition, the GT gets a specially tuned ESP stabilization program that can be switched into a Sport mode at the push of a button to allow oversteer when accelerating out of a corner.

Braking power is provided by carbon fiber ceramic brakes that measure 380 millimeters (14.96 in) in diameter up front and 356 millimeters (14.02 in) at the rear, with red anodized aluminum calipers.

The wheels package for the GT includes 19-inch forged alloys wrapped in 235/35 tires up front and 295/30 at the back. Upon request, Audi can mount 305/30 tires together with optional wheels on the rear axle.

For those that want to use the GT on the track, Audi offers a special race package that 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. Furthermore, an optional front bar module for motorsports evens includes a rotary lock for the four-point seatbelt and turns the roll bar into a full cage.

In terms of design, the R8 GT is distinguished by the titanium colored frame of the grille which itself is painted matte black, the new front bumper with a carbon splitter and side blades, the LED headlamps, the matte carbon sideblades and exterior mirrors, the GT badges, the new alloys, the fixed rear wing finished in matte carbon and the new rear diffuser.

The R8 GT is offered in a choice of four body colors – Samoa Orange metallic, Suzuka Gray metallic, Ice Silver metallic and Phantom Black pearl effect.

As for the interior, the steering wheel, the headliner, the roof posts, the knee pad, the parking brake lever and the bucket seats are covered with Alcantara accented with contrasting stitching, while a synthetic sharkskin-look material is applied to the bulkhead, the door liners, the instrument cowl and the dashboard.

The GT also gets carbon fiber decorative trim and a newly designed selector lever made of CFRP.

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