Audi’s R8 was a landmark car. The V10 variant was even good enough to make you think twice about that Gallardo, but we all knew it could have been wilder were it not for the internal politics that insist the Lamborghini stays on top of the pile. Tuners are there to make that all better.
Enter PPI, a relative newcomer to the tuning scene that has managed to make serious waves with its latest creation. With 800 hp courtesy of a twin-supercharger conversion from partner Novidem, this is a car that will thrust Dr. Benjamin Abraham’s company right into the limelight.
When you’re nestled in the carbon bucket driver seat, the Razor GTR 800 feels like home. It’s immaculately dressed in Alcantara, leather piping and a carbon pack so good that Audi took inspiration for its own.
The new bodywork helps cut 500 pounds from the R8’s curb weight, which is massive. Most tuners struggle to remove half that amount and at first it sounds optimistic, but the team weighed each and every part on a local recycling company’s scales and kept a spreadsheet to show the improvements. You can feel it in the car, too.
So all that weight stripped from the frame gives the Razor a power-to-weight ratio far in excess of the Lamborghini Gallardo, even the Aventador for that matter. Just look at the numbers and the Razor suddenly joins the elite of the hypercar world.
It’s a simple necessity, too, as the dual-clutch semi-automatic gearbox couldn’t handle the torque, but this car comes with the metal-gated manual six-speed, with strengthened First and Second gear ratios. Oh joy of joys!
I fire it up and the gravitas of this car hits home as the engine settles into a burbling, low-rolling thunder. I have to lift the front end to join the road, and then to pull off the road, pretty much everywhere to be honest. This high-downforce setup comes at the cost of practicality, but find a nice stretch of tarmac and such things cease to matter. Because given a healthy dose of throttle, this car is a bloody rocket.
Even with the manual ’box it blasts past 60 mph in 2.9 seconds. The slowest part of the car is the driver, as I slot each gear deliberately before unleashing the next wave. The ratios are strengthened to cope with the added power, but this is a one-off, company CEO and racing veteran Richard Helfer is watching, and I know how precious this car is to the firm. PPI is a small company; this car represents a massive gamble and an idiot journalist graunching the gears would just not be cool.
The torque is linear thanks to the twin centrifugal superchargers, but there’s just so damned much of it that it’s hard to keep the car in check and constant acceleration gradually tries to press my head through the holes in the seat. It’s supremely, scary fast, a borderline racing car for the road, and the throaty roar and supercharger whine screaming through that dual-inlet sport exhaust is even more intoxicating than that of the Gallardo V10 that always left R8s in the shade. It’ll do 350 km/h too—217 mph—although that’s borderline academic here in the real world.
The twin supercharger system is trick in the extreme and took four years to develop. The two centrifugal superchargers are driven by a magnetic clutch that disconnects during gentle town driving to keep the car under control. It won’t engage until the engine is properly warmed through. The forced induction even comes with a charge cooling system to cool the air leaving the supercharger, and the chargers are positioned on the side of the engine bay to prevent heat soak murdering the engine. They run at 0.9 bar of pressure.
Of course the internals needed some work and uprated piston rings, connecting rods and more are all part of the package. All this allowed PPI to actually lower the compression ratio to 9.2:1, from 12.5:1 for the stock V10.