Like most performance car manufacturers these days, losing those extra kilos in their flagship coupe showcases their abilities to build a more serious out and out coupe than the base model, which has to cater to a wider audience and is still built to a certain budgeted cost. Manufacturers like Porsche have long known this and you can see in their 911 series of cars. You have the basic Carerra which becomes the Carerra S, which then morphs into the GT3, which then becomes the GT3 RS. Each model slightly more performance oriented than the one before up to a point where it goes pretty extreme and lots of weight loss is the key to increased performance.
So now Audi has created a lightweight version of their flagship coupe the R8 and are calling it the R8 GT. This car weighs 1525kgs compared to the R8 V8 4.2 which weighs in at 1625kgs. As if hearing about a 100kg weight loss in an a car already made from the already light aluminium alloy isn't enough Audi has mentioned that this car comes with the V10 engine used in the, very obviously named R8 V10. So we have extra power coupled to the weight loss.
Now for the weight loss details, which I find interesting. The R8 GT has a windshield made of thinner glass. The glass used between the cabin and the engine compartment as well as the rear hatch is replaced with polycarbonate plexiglass. All of the above took 9kgs off the car. The rear wing is now CFRP, removing 1.2kg. Thinner sheet aluminium and additional cutouts were made to the aluminium hatch for the luggage compartment up front saved 2.6kg.
The rear hatch for the engine is now replaced with carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) and removes a further 6.6kg at the rear. The rear bumper and sideblades (those R8 design features so clearly noticeable) is also CFRP and saves 5.2kg and 1.5kg respectively.
Being German, hence very efficient and close to the verge of suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder they also attacked the mechanical components of the R8. They shaved 1kg from the brake system, 4kg from the brake disc caps, 9.4kg from the battery, 2.3kg from the air intake system and 2.8kg from the engine bay insulation. The exhaust system also uses a lighter design and construction method.
They also tackled the interior and the carpet utilised in the R8 GT weighs a good 7.9kg lighter than previously. How do they make carpets so much lighter in such a small car? Was the base R8 using a really thick pile of carpets? They also threw out the normal electrically adjustable sports seats and used seats that were more race car like and lost a really substantial 31.5kgs.
The R8 GT comes with the 5.2liter V10 engine and Audi have messed about with it and it now produces 560bhp, up from 525bhp. Torque is bumped up by 10Nm to 540Nm and all of this makes 0-100km/h in 3.6seconds, 0-200km/h in 10.8seconds with a top speed of 320km/h (198.4mph).
The transmission used in the R8GT is the R-tronic sequential manual transmission. It is basically a manual gearbox with a solenoid effected electrohydraulic clutch and works through a flappy pedal gear shift. The gear changes at full song takes just 1/10th of a second. As usual in cars nowadays there is two modes in automatic and two modes in manual for the gear changes. Launch control is also added and all of these systems go through a transmission that basically channels 15% of the power to the front and 85% to the rear, making the R8 GT very rear biased. Of course, up to 30% of the power can be channeled to the front if required.
Other than that, Audi mounts lightweight internally ventilated, carbon fiber ceramic brake disks on the R8 GT. . Together they weigh 9kg less than their steel counterparts of the same size. They measure 380 millimeters (14.96 in) in diameter up front and 356 millimeters (14.02 in) at the rear.
The 19-inch forged wheels are 8.5 J x 19 up front and 11 J x 19 at the rear, and are shod with size 235/35 and 295/30 tires, respectively. Audi will mount 305/30 tires together with optional wheels on the rear axle upon request. Cup tires, which offer the ultimate in performance on dry roads, are available for racing enthusiasts.
Only 333 are available worldwide and Audi have not mentioned whether they will be produced in right hand drive for those of us that drive on this side of the road. I hope they do, as it is a meticulously engineered car that should be enjoyed by those of us driving on the "right" side of the road.