V10 plus

Had we known 034's 2850 lb 80 quattro had 750hp and perfect gearing in its 01E transmission for the half-mile, we might not have driven 120 miles and suffered the 97?F heat to be beaten repeatedly. Unaware, we lined up for the final run.

The 034 crew had been tinkering with their car and felt they'd found the sweet spot. I couldn't see Javad's confident grin under his helmet but could definitely sense it.

As we rolled across the start line at 30mph, the R8 didn't get its customary head start. The 80 quattro was neck-and-neck. I glanced across in bewilderment. Usually it disappeared over my shoulder and out of sight.

We pulled quickly through second and the R8 briefly gained a few feet with the change into third. But then the 80 built a head of steam as it revved to 9000rpm, and pulled ahead by a few car lengths. Again we clawed back another couple of feet with the next gear change, but were already three or four car lengths behind by halfway.

As I crossed the finish line at 146mph, the gap was huge and humiliating. The 80qt had reached 159.5mph, and my only recompense was seeing Javad struggle to stop with its stock 10" brakes. Since it was built for Bonneville, it never received an upgrade and we'd been warned to steer clear at the end of the run.

Stopping the R8 was a breeze. The V10 Plus gets carbon-ceramic brakes as standard, which were slightly snatchy at low speed but ridiculously powerful at high speed. Crossing the line at over 145mph and braking from about 155, I never once used the brakes fully. I'd simply apply light pressure and it would scrub speed instantly.

To be honest, I tried using them hard once and it hurt. The stopping power was violent, jarring my neck forward and then bashing my helmet into the seat, so I didn't try it again. Yet it was wonderfully reassuring to have them as I watched the 80qt squirming past the taxiway return road.

As well as the carbon-ceramic brakes, the V10 Plus gets carbon fiber side blades, front splitter, rear diffuser and spoiler. There's also a smaller fuel tank, less engine bay insulation (for which we were eternally grateful) and it should have manual alcantara-covered seats - somebody decided we should be pampered with powered leather seats, which may have undone all that good work, but we're not complaining.

The V10 Plus boasts an almost identical 550hp to the R8 GT model it replaces (leaving room for a 600hp GT in the future?). It also benefits from the new seven-speed S tronic double-clutch automatic transmission that provided the lightning fast changes. However, a six-speed manual is also available, which is glorious news. The manual car weighs 55 lb less but is 0.4sec slower to 60mph by virtue of the S tronic's shift speed. Somehow it's 1mph faster, giving 198mph top speed as opposed to 197mph for the S tronic.

So while we admit the 2014 R8 V10 Plus was slightly outgunned in our fun airfield race, it does highlight how far Audi has come in the last 25 years. The carmaker had nothing more potent than a turbocharged sedan two decades ago, yet Audi now competes for bedroom wall space with the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche.

Simply gauging public reaction, our matte blue R8 was photographed and videoed during our commute as much as the Aston Martin DB9. Thanks to a starring role in Iron Man, everybody recognizes the R8 and it universally gets a positive reaction.

At $170545 for the manual V10 plus (the R8 V8 starts at $115k), it costs a great deal of money but packs a massive punch. This is a genuine everyday supercar, able to quietly slip through freeway traffic, or snort and snarl through canyons with the Sport button pressed, bringing a more aggressive exhaust note and wild throttle blips to accompany automatic downshifts.

It's a car that can equally delight and impress both its occupants and passersby, while returning a respectable 22mpg on the freeway (16mpg combined, S tronic version). It certainly doesn't hurt that it looks as good as it goes, and even Javad had to admit that in this battle of Goliath vs a slightly older Goliath, he'd take home the R8 if he had to choose between them!

Omega Motorsport Events

With a 700hp 996 Porsche 911 turbo in the garage, avoiding speeding fines becomes a daily chore. So Tony Lopez, like many enthusiasts before him, decided to organize a track day. With enough interest from friends, his first Omega Motorsport event was held at Button Willow Raceway in 8/12.

At the start of this year, they decided to add an airfield speed event, working in cooperation with Minter Field in Shafter, CA (see sidebar). The entry fee was $200 and it sold out in advance, with a shortlist of drivers waiting for somebody to back out.

With one race taking place every 40sec or so, a BMW M5 owner stopped counting how many runs he had after 50 - Omega prides itself on running a well-oiled machine when it comes to track time. They even provided large cooling fans in the staging lanes to help cool the cars and drivers. With race fuel and food vendors on-hand, the participants had a great time.

Omega Motorsports plans to expand its operations throughout California and even take it to the East Coast. So, if you're looking for a track day or airfield event, make sure to checkout omegamotorsport.com or fb.com/omegamotor-sportsevents for the latest news and updates, including a forthcoming Buttonwillow track day and Minter field events.

Minter Field

Established in 1941 as a location to train fighter pilots on the P-51 Mustang, Minter Field became an important part of America's war effort and still houses a museum on the property to commemorate its history (minterfieldairmuseum.com).

Now a privately owned airport used by local pilots and crop dusters, it has a unique triangular runway configuration that makes it ideal for events like Omega Motorsport's No Fly Zone speed trials.

In addition, Minter Field also organizes its own annual two-day airshow "Madness Over Minter" that showcases the best in aerobatics, warplane preservation and, of course, the local flyboys strut their stuff. Tickets are from $15 in advance at minterairshow.com and the next one will be around October 2014.

Situated off Route 99 and close to I-5 freeway, Minter Field is easy to access, and the flat farmland provides excellent viewing opportunities.

If you want to hold a speed trial at Minter Field, contact Omega Motorsport through the Facebook page above, or join one of their organized events.

We heard the airfield, which has a smooth surface already, may soon be extended and resurfaced, allowing bigger planes to land but also meaning higher speeds should be attainable.

2014 Audi R8 {Second Opinion}

It's a surprising drive. The R8 V10 Plus feels almost like an entirely new model when compared to the regular V8 and V10. It feels almost aftermarket tuned in its persona, making the Plus a truly remarkable supercar. We're not very easy to impress but Audi has a new hero car.

The 2014 R8 V8 felt like a nice daily driver with solid handling thanks to its lighter curb weight and usable powerband. When fitted with a traditional six-speed gated shifter, it's beautiful. However, behind the wheel, we wanted a little more power; it lacked eagerness and enthusiasm.

Finally, after settling into the R8 V10 Spyder, our ears were met with the stunning sound of the satanic 5.0-liter V10 that echoed off any nearby surface. The brakes were bigger, too, but the car suffered from body roll, understeer and a numbness we couldn't fall in love with in Latigo Canyon.

As a weekend cruiser, with the top down, the Spyder offered a unique experience. But we weren't after romance; we wanted brute power.

Fortunately, the V10 Plus answered all our prayers. It has the stout quattro drive system rid of the loathed understeer, a responsive 550hp V10, brakes that could stop an Airbus A380, and a transmission that shifts faster than anything else on the market.

It sprints to 60mph in 3.3sec, knocking off shifts in the blink of an eye, passing the quarter-mile in 11sec and change. And while the acceleration was addictive, it was the composure that impressed us most.

In the canyons, the place I was once convinced the Porsche Boxster was the greatest carver ever made, the R8 was a tarmac destroyer.

It ate up every turn, sweeper or hairpin. The torque was always there to pull me out and I was barely aware the front wheels were driven at all.

The mid-engine layout has always been perfect, but with the fixed sport suspension and rear-biased drivetrain, the Plus will kick out its rear tires but balance itself like a slightly inebriated ballerina: great moves but skittish enough to have a good laugh. This is the R8 we always wanted.
- Alex Bernstein

1988 Audi 80 quattro

Javad Shadzi
Fremont, CA
Owner, 034 Motorsport

Engine Audi 2.34L 7A 20v block, 83mm JE pistons, 150mm Carrillo rods, 034 coated rod and main bearings, O-ringed head, 034 Copper Composite gasket, 034 stage five head porting, Supertech oversized valves, 034EFI HD valve springs, 034 solid lifter conversion, custom CAT cams, Autotech cam vernier, 034EFI Stage IIC engine management with wideband controller, 034 boost control valve, 034EFI wiring harness and high output coil kit, 034EFI stainless steel tubular header with 60mm Tial wastegate, Precision CEA 6466 turbocharger, 3.5" downpipe with exhaust dump, 50mm Tial blow-off valve, custom front-mount intercooler with 3" piping, Wagner HO intake manifold with 034 big-bore throttle body, 034 Fluidampr crank pulley with serpentine belt conversion, 034EFI aluminum radiator, RS2 fan and shroud

Drivetrain Audi 01E five-speed transmission, Spec triple-sintered iron clutch, 034 12 lb flywheel, JHM 5:1 high-bias center diff, lockable rear diff, 034 weighted shift knob, motorsport shifter and custom linkage, RS2-style custom Drive Shaft Shop axles, 034 motorsport diff, engine and trans mounts

Brakes stock, with Hawk Blue pads

Suspension 034 coilovers with Koni adjustable shocks, spherical strut mounts, custom sway bars, 034 delrin control arm bushings, Audi RS2 strut bar

Wheels & Tires 15x7" OZ Ultraleggera wheels, 225/50 R15 BFGoodrich drag radial tires

Exterior Audi RS2 hood, Kamei front grille, color-matched bumpers and mirrors

Interior Cobra Racing driver's seat, five-point harnesses, FIA-spec rollcage, AIM Pista Sports race dash with GPS and datalogging, Audi S2 steering wheel, carpet and rear seat removed, fire extinguisher system

Contact 034motorsport.com

By , Ezekiel Wheeler
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