This car is the master link between what Audi does on the race track and sells on the road.
We’re attending the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Audi and we figured we’d make the world’s biggest endurance race even more interesting by driving from Munich to Le Mans in an R8. We’ve also had a brief chat with Audi driver Allan McNish, and if you haven’t already, check out all the multimedia ways to enjoy the next four days from the Circuit de la Sarthe, then read on.
The R8 we’ve been driving – a white, 430-horsepower V8 coupe with the S-tronic seven-speed gearbox – is a bag of tricks when it comes to making a road trip, some of those tricks sublime. The obvious reason to want to do a road trip to Le Mans in an R8 is because, ahem, it’s a road trip on occasionally unrestricted Autobahn in an R8. The next most obvious reason is that this car is, for the moment, the master link between what Audi does on the race track and sells on the road.
In truth, however, tied at number one is that we wanted to see if we could find a way to love the R8. Not appreciate it, not respect it, but love it – to want to rearrange our loins such that every meal passes through a long intestine shaped like The Four Rings and a short intestine that spells “R8.” We drove the V10 Spyder and considered it Supercars for Dummies, so farcically easy to drive fast that it destroys the grading curve for supercar driving ability and, as an aside, supercar thrills. Since you can apparently teach a python to open doors, as soon as they teach one how to drive it will be able to podium in SCCA races if it’s in an R8.
We’d been told the V8 was better balanced than the V10, yet it was more than balance we sought – we wanted soul. Ten days and 1,500 kilometers in (with another 770 kilometers to go before Le Mans), we’re still looking for it.
But what we can say is this: This car is so [insert expletive] good that we can’t honestly consider it a car.
It is, more accurately, tender violence.