THE SHAPE SHIFTER - By Junaid Hamid
Audi - Vorsprung durch Technik, meaning "Advancement through Technology". A global brand known for their German quality, luxury and innovative design to their vehicles. Even though Audi has a rich motorsport heritage in rallying, touring cars and even Le Mans, the four circles never really played in the supercar space. But all that changed when the block buster movie i-Robot starring Will Smith was released in 2004 which featured a very futuristic looking Audi. It was the birth of the Audi R8 supercar!
Hopeful as we all were, concept car’s never end up looking very much like the road going production versions. Not to say we wanted the car to float around like it did in the movie, but at least some similarities would be great. When the car was finally released to the world in 2006, we were not disappointed at all. It was called the R8 and it had the same basic shape as the vehicle in the movie. It was something like we’ve never seen on our roads before and looked out of this world!
Rewind back to 1999 we have one of the biggest Audi fans around, Gerick Mouton. If Audi had a 5th circle, it would surely be Gerick hanging onto that badge. Gerick was the first person in South Africa to own a supercharged Audi RS4 called Mufassa… mwahahahaha! He’s current daily is a Q7… V12!!! ... And his wife naturally also drives an Audi, A1, with some APR software to give it some added flavour. So when Gerick was in the market for a supercar, it was the unmistakable choice of going with the R8.
The particular car which Gerick chose was a stock standard 2009 Audi R8 V10 5.2L R-tronic which was purchased from Audi Sandton. Stock standard in this case is far from boring but being the petrol head that he is, Gerick just had to put his own personal touch on it. The plan was simple - increase power, reduce body weight and create additional downforce. Creating more downforce just so happens to make the car look a whole damn lot cooler as well!
First up was increasing the already impressive power output from 386kW’s to 435kW’s (583HP) and 584Nm’s via some trick APR stage 1 software mapping. This improvement is clearly felt by Gerick and says it made a huge difference. The now extra added power was combined to an ear shattering 109Db Quicksilver Titanium SuperSport exhaust system which is also a whopping 27kg’s lighter than the standard OEM system. Gericks only disappointment is not with the car itself, but with APR not producing a supercharger kit for the car. He does however plan on sourcing one from a USA based company next year which should bump the power up to a healthy 700hp!
The standard wheels were thrown aside to make way for a better handling car with a chunkier set of Ace Alloy Convex 20” rims all in black which is wrapped in Yokahama Advan Sport tyres with 245/30/20 section on the front and 305/25/20 sections at the rear. Improving the downforce at the back was helped by a Rieger carbon fiber spoiler and Prior design rear bumper and diffuser. It also sees a set of Prior design side skirts adding to that already aggressive side view stance.
While a custom front bumper and grill with extra air intake slots finishes off the car nicely giving it that “get out of my way now” look from the front. Gerick is withholding information on where exactly he obtained this bumper as he says he is currently the only one in SA to have it. Unless he bought it from an Italian supercar dealership in Joburg then he is in for a surprise and better suck it up.
Jumping into Gericks place of work aka the cabin, my bottom was sucked into the firm grip of a sued Audi Racing Sparco bucket seat. The original heavy seats included seat warmers which were rather heavy. These new seats not only serve a purpose by reducing weight and giving you a better driving experience, they look amazing as well. Gerick says that only people with waists no bigger than a 34 will fit, so this is definitely no Kim Kardashian mobile.
The engine bay was not forgotten about either and full carbon fiber inlays were installed around the entire area making this R8 truly unique in every way. Wrapping up all the modifications together quite literally the car was wrapped in a custom electric matte blue and black combination. These images do not do this colour justice and it must be seen in person to appreciate its entire awesomeness. When I asked Gerick about what he likes most about the car he said it was undoubtedly the performance… and the handling… and the looks… and the noise… So in other words, EVERYTHING about the car! I don’t blame him, what’s NOT to like?!
The way it drives perhaps? No, as Gerick describes it as being the closest thing he’s been to a superbike. It bolts off the line thanks to Audi’s AWD Quattro system and the speedo just keeps on climbing making every road just not long enough. But Quattro’s have sometimes said to be dull with their understeery type of handling. This is quickly remedied on track by switching the ESP system off which completely changes the handling characteristics allowing you to play just the way you want to.
One thing about this supercar is that it could be used as a daily if need be. It could be said it’s a lady on the streets and a freak on the… track… when needed. I’m not sure what gender Gerick refers to his blue eyed baby but I don’t think I should call it a lady anymore, my bad! “It’s a very comfortable car.” says Gerick. He decided to go for a drive and ended up doing a 1200km round trip just for the fun of it.
Gerick would like to thank the following people for making his dream car a reality:
Sportech Cars in Johannesburg who did most of the work including the wrap – Chad Wentzel
Audi Centre Sandton – Patrick Rauch
Audi Centre Cape Town – Hennie Kriel
In my opinion this Audi is probably the most modified R8 in the country - which takes a lot of guts and determination to pull that off. Over the years it has changed shape into many different forms, from just another regular R8, to eventually what we see and love here today. It makes this R8 what Gerick likes to call… Shifter!