These ultra-lightweight, forged alloy wheels are shod with 245/30ZR20 and 325/25ZR20 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires, and the uprated MTM brakes feature 380mm cross-drilled and vented discs all round, clamped by eight-pot calipers.
For sheer quality, the beautifully made R8 cabin already leaves most of its rivals in the dust. With its bespoke trim, the MTM R8’s cabin is simply a wonderful place to be.
This is one of those cars you just want to sit in it on the occasions when you want to escape from the madness of real life. Of course if you do want to go somewhere, and quickly, then it is the focal point of some pure driving magic.
The MTM-tuned RS6 motor has two sides to its nature. It is so docile and tractable around town you would never guess it was anything but factory standard.
The V10 soundtrack is similar to the R8 V10 motor’s, but the turbochargers tend to muffle the induction roar and shrill aural peaks that owners of the naturally aspirated car are used to.
The freer breathing MTM exhaust partially makes up for this at the other end of the acoustic chain, but when this car is accelerating for all it is worth, the mechanical sounds behind your head will not be your main priority.
Drop the hammer on the open road, and the fury unleashed as the motor climbs through its wide working range, gives you religion the first time you experience it. This engine feels like it has big lungs, and breathes very deeply, hurtling the car down the road like a silver bullet as it exhales.
The bald performance numbers are as dazzling as the bodywork’s shine in bright sunlight. When the car ran at Nardo late last year in performance testing, it was clocked at 216 mph. Ironically, MTM’s slightly less powerful RS6 achieved 225 mph because it is aerodynamically more slippery and the R8 had some intercooler airflow issues at the time.
“This was the car’s first outing, and we had airflow problems with the intercooler,” Roland explained. “We initially thought that the vented Makrolon from the R8 GT3 race car rear window would draw in enough air for the intercooler, but when we did the wind tunnel testing afterwards, we found that there was over-pressure above the window.”
“We overcame this by changing the internal ducting so that ram air for the intercooler comes only from the two enlarged side intakes. Air is now drawn downwards through the top of the intercooler and out through the open rear grille. This has given a significant boost to top-end performance, and the car should now be able to achieve its calculated 224 mph Vmax.”
As this car is a prototype, many components were specially fabricated, and in many cases, each unique installation involved a steep learning curve. “If I did it all over again, I would use a water-cooled intercooler, which is more efficient in a mid- or rear-engined arrangement,” said Roland.
The MTM R8 V10 Biturbo tips the scales with a similar curb weight to the standard car since the turbochargers, intercooler and larger brakes are counterbalanced by the savings made in the carbon-fiber race seats, lighter coilover suspension, Makrolon rear window, exhaust manifolds and silencer.
Being significantly lighter than the RS6 Clubsport, the R8 Biturbo achieved some extremely impressive acceleration figures at Nardo. The 0-62 mph sprint took just 3.0 seconds, with 0-124 coming up in 9.37, and 0-186 in 19.42 sec. It was not that long ago when a car capable of reaching 100 mph in under 20 seconds was deemed quick.
Thank goodness then that the R8 has the gift of Quattro, especially when the road is a bit slippery. Even so, with this level of power, you can feel the four big rubber contact patches do their lively dance with the clever differentials and their electronic masters as you leave the line in a hurry. But it all hooks up in an instant, enabling this mercurial apparition to deploy all its horses and reel in the horizon with unerring stability.