Despite its late arrival on the supercar scene in 2006, the Audi R8 has succeeded in dominating the segment and establishing Audi as a complete premium global brand. The R8 is a product of decades of successful racing endeavors that stretch from the pre-war Grand Prix victories to the diverse racetracks of the modern era. The current Audi R8 flawlessly transfers this rich racing heritage to the streets of the world; making it one of the most important cars the automaker has ever produced.
As more than just an expensive showpiece, the Audi R8 requires an extreme degree of expertise when it comes to service, repair, high-performance modification (including turbo kits) and expert tuning. In the United States, there is no one better qualified to perform these repair services than Brenton Brown (a.k.a. the Exotic Car Doc) and his team of factory trained technicians at Forza Tuning and Performance in Clearwater, Florida. Serving the majestic Tampa, Tampa Bay, Clearwater and St. Petersburg areas of Florida’s Gulf Coast, Forza has earned a reputation as the premier exotic vehicle repair and modification facility in the nation.
Not surprisingly, the early beginnings of the Audi R8 can be traced back to several workhorse brands. A. Horch & Cie. and Audi Automobilwerke GmbH Zwickau were founded in 1899. These two brands later merged into Auto Union, which sprouted Wanderer and DKW. All these brands experienced success in many diverse forms of European racing. These cars set land speed records that would stand for decades. So vital to the current Audi lineage are these early models, that they are represented by the four-rings of the Audi logo.
After World War II, Audi began a slow journey back to the global stage. Flashy, performance cars were replaced with economical (two-stroke engine powered) family cars, produced under the DKW brand. When Volkswagen acquired Audi in 1964, it enabled them to begin producing larger, 2-stroke engines. This marked a truly pivotal point for the automaker.
In the early 1980s, Audi made its bones on the dirt courses of the rally racing world. Group B rules were introduced by the FIA, and rally racers (like the Audi Quattro) were allowed to pull out all the stops. Audi dominated many of these Group B events and put the planet on notice that Audi was a force with which to be
Again in 2000, Audi stunned the world when they dominated the most celebrated race in the world; the Le Mans. They would go on to win it 13 times from 2000 to 2014.
Even though Audi had experienced extraordinary success on the racetrack, the technical capacity and the financial wherewithal, they still lacked a high-performance street model to complete their global DNA. The automaker remained reluctant to build a supercar until 1998.
With Volkswagen’s acquisition of Lamborghini, Audi now felt they had sufficient tools to convert their success on the track to success on the street. The Lamborghini Gallardo would be used a base platform for the new Audi supercar. Even in its earliest stages, Audi’s mid-engine supercar would reach beyond the Gallardo base to establish itself as an object to be sought after by connoisseurs of elegance in a performance package.
By the turn of the century, Audi had developed a concept vehicle called the Rosemeyer. It was named after one of Audi’s most successful drivers, Bernd Rosemeyer. It also paid homage to the early days of the 16-cylinder Arrow. The Rosemeyer’s 8.0-liter (700hp) W16 engine would be utilized in the Bugatti Veyron. While innovative and powerful, the Rosemeyer was no Audi R8.
The first R8 silhouette would not be seen until 2003, when the RSQ was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show. This futuristic concept was designed exclusively for the movie “I, Robot”.
Later that year the Audi Le Mans Quattro Concept Car was introduced. It was built to celebrate Audi’s third consecutive Le Mans victory and featured a twin turbocharged V10 TFSI engine. The Le Mans Quattro would provide a template for the first production Audi R8.
The first Audi R8 would not be seen until 2005 and production versions wouldn’t be released until 2006. Quattro GmbH developed and assembled the initial units and continued production until 2016, when the name was changed to Audi Sport. Under the new name, the Audi R8 would see great success on the track, as well as the introduction of the Audi R8 S and RS street cars. The R8 moniker was taken from the Le Mans winning prototype. The use of thick, contrasting vertical panels made the appearance of the Audi R8 even more unique and innovative. A monocoque body, aluminum frame and carbon fiber body keep weight down while maintaining a high degree of rigidity.
Fast forward to today. The current version of the Audi R8 is among the most capable production supercars available. Offered as either a coupe or a convertible, the latest R8 shares a platform with the Lamborghini Huracan. A powerful 5.2-liter V10 engine, which can produce 540hp, is standard for the Audi R8. Consumers may also opt for the V10 Plus with 610hp and 413 lb.-ft. of torque.Whatever version you own, Forza Tuning and Performance can get you over the 1,000hp mark with twin turbo packages that are too good to ignore.
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