Stepping on the gas a little too aboriginal for the avenue of Ascari’s ‘Petit Eau Rouge’ corner, the aback end of this Audi R8 ‘Performance’ break out. A quick appliance of adverse lock later, I’m absorption whether or not I’m absolutely activity to be able to authority this slide. But no matter: the ESP bliss in, and calmly nudges the car aback into a beeline line.
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It’s a admonition of why we like the R8 so much. It’s such an attainable supercar to jump beeline into and drive quickly. But that’s not to say it isn’t exciting, as a abounding burke run out of Laguna proves. The babble of that 5.2-litre V10 exploding abroad bald inches abaft my arch is one of the greatest of any car on auction appropriate now, and I’ll absence it aback it’s gone.
Then there’s the way the car handles the bound ‘Piff-Paff’ chicane. It aback appears as you’re heavily loaded up on the avenue of Sebring, and on this lap, I feel like I’ve appear in way too hot. But with two quick flicks of the wheel, this active R8 dances its way through, confidently shrugging off the affecting changes in direction.
As before, it’s, for the best part, a actual aloof activity car, with masses of anchor and absorption and a appropriately aciculate advanced end that’s a joy to constrict into the tighter corners here. For the facelift, Audi has tweaked the abeyance and recalibrated both the ‘Dynamic’ and accepted electro-mechanical council setups, so is it an improvement? It’s rather adamantine to tell.
Our analysis of the ambulatory R8 today is bound to this circuit. We won’t be active it on the road, and what’s more, instead of the standard-fit Michelin PS4 S boots – which alter the Continental Sport Contact 6s acclimated ahead – these cars all accept Pilot Sport Cup 2s. Yes, the accepted council does assume to accept a little added activity to it than afore – council accepting consistently been a gen-two R8 anemic point – but applicable semi-slicks is activity to do that. While additionally authoritative the car appreciably added able than it would be on the beneath focused rubber.
So, what we can’t accord you today is a absolute adjudication on the changes. I absolutely can’t feel the added 10bhp the Performance – aforetime accepted as the ‘Plus’ – develops, and anyone who claims they can is lying. The one aberration is the Dynamic council – which consistently varies the council arrangement – does feel hardly beneath unpredictable, but it’s still best abhorred for the standard, added natural-feeling setup.
Also, afterwards spending a lot of time gawping at this affair in the pits, I can address that the administration changes do attending a lot added acknowledged IRL than they did in the antecedent columnist images. I adulation the newfound assailment of the vent-festooned advanced end, with the Quattro-style slats actuality a nice finishing touch. I’m beneath ardent with the single, behemothic aperture at the rear, but I’m absolutely digging the acknowledgment to egg-shaped bankrupt pipes – a archetypal affection of the first-gen R8.
Today doesn’t serve as a acquirements experience. That’ll appear aback we’re aboriginal able to get the car on the road. No, this is added of a refresher of aggregate that makes us adulation the R8. And as the sun sets on Ascari, I’m accustomed addition few laps in the supercar to absorb up aggregate it has to action with the added claiming of a blurred circuit. Eek.
The full-throttle, acclivous run out of the pits to the dark acme afore The Screw causes an altercation in my brain, with one allotment agreeable to lift, and the added bent to accumulate my appropriate bottom active for as continued as possible. Illuminated by my headlights, the barrier abutting to my appropriate appears to beam accomplished alike faster than it did beforehand today. Breathe.
In the end, I lift a little too early, but there’s no time to dwell, as we’re already about about-face one and smashing through apparatus on the run to Copse. For the aboriginal time today, I booty it flat, after a distinct arrest beef from the tyres authoritative itself accepted and the R8’s agilely redesigned anatomy announcement almost the faintest bit of roll.
As ever, the agent dominates the experience, pinning me aback in my bench and ambitious about-face appropriate up by that near-9000rpm redline to accomplish abiding I feel the abounding 612bhp on offer. A turbocharged agent like the one in the Mercedes-AMG GTR ability feel quicker acknowledgment to its bold midrange, but I wouldn’t barter the high-revving theatrics of this V10 for anything.
For the abutting few corners, though, I’m a little sidetracked. Because I’m lost. Active with alone headlights (the actual acceptable Laser headlights are thankfully optioned on this accurate car) and the odd flood ablaze to adviser the way as a accomplished altered ballgame, but a few blowzy corners and absent apices aren’t abundant to agitation me. Nope, I’m in an R8, and it’s all in hand.
Pulling into the pits two and a bisected laps later, I relax. I’ve brought the car home safely, accessible for addition abroad to get abaft the caster and bang their way assimilate the ambit in addition nerve-wracking bold of play-the-endurance-racer.
Plenty of added supercars ability accept been added agreeable and ambitious out on this tricky, bouncing track, but I can’t anticipate of a distinct added agent that manages to alloy accessibility and adequacy while actual thoroughly blood-tingling absolutely as the R8 can.
Audi claims it doesn’t accept a absolute almsman planned for the R8, so this ability be the aftermost one to be powered by an centralized agitation engine. And we can say with near-certainty that there won’t be addition with a V10. What a way to bow out.
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