|October 15, 2007
2009 Audi R8 V10 Resumes Testing at the Ring
Good news for Audi enthusiasts and privileged Audi R8 owners-to-be in that the automaker continues to develop the all-but-confirmed 2009 R8 V10. While a previous prototype version of the supercar caught fire and burned to the ground at the hallowed Nürburgring during testing last spring, photos have emerged of a new half million euro test vehicle on the same track.
Audi's quattro GmbH is taking no chances this time around and has installed an electronic fire suppressant system on board the new test mule. Note the two red buttons seen next to the driver's side rear view mirror - in case of a fire the driver could exit the car and activate the foam based extinguisher by pressing the buttons.
Assuming this R8 will not be struck by the same bad luck, the real excitement should be around the engine itself which comes from Audi corporate cousin Lamborghini. In order to not compete directly with the Gallardo there is talk that the engine will be de-tuned into the 500hp ranged, although that is still 80hp more than the current 420hp V8. And with the 522hp Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera now in the works it is still possible that the R8 will avoid any horsepower loss compared to the standard Gallardo.
These spy shots show a completely camouflage-free test vehicle, albeit in a drab flat black paint job. Distinguishing features include the now larger air intake tunnels behind the front doors and slightly modified rocker panel skirts. While these changes are subtle enough not to disturb the overall styling of the vehicle, they will tip off those in the know that this is no "standard" R8. Although difficult to tell from the photos, the car seems to be sporting larger brakes as well.
Onlookers at the ring describe the car as appearing well balanced and with an aggressive tone at speed.
One question remains: what naming convention will Audi adopt for this more powerful R8? Rumors include the R10, R8 S and RS8. Insiders we have spoken to generally rule out RS8 since it would create confusion with Audi's existing A8 and S8 lines. Similarly, R10 seems unlikely given the extensive branding that has already been done around the R8 name. This, then, points to R8 S or simply R8 (without any additional identifier) as likely names. The vehicle is expected in mid 2009.