The supercharger conversion uses a variation of the highly efficient, Swedish-made Lysholm Technologies twin-screw compressor. Boosting at just 8 psi, this bolt-on conversion takes four days to fit, but doesn't require lowering the compression ratio. One of the benefits of this supercharger is the low mechanical drag it imposes on the engine. Both the sharp throttle response and free-revving character remain unsullied, its explosive power delivery simply enhanced.

The intercooler arrangements are similarly expeditious, with a Swedish-made Laminova intercooler providing the charge-air temperature control. This is a self-contained, water-cooled system built into the intake manifold between the supercharger and cylinder heads.

The advantage of this configuration is an extremely short-flow length, with no long pipes running around the engine, so the chances of pressure-drop and the loss of charge pressure are minimized. An additional oil cooler sits in the side of the engine bay, fed from the intake behind the decorative carbon blade.

Speaking of cooling, the stock rear window has given way to a plexiglass one, with a vent in it to help heat escape. This has the added advantage of saving 11 pounds in a critical area.

Outwardly, the elegant MTM alloys (9x20 and 11x20 with 245/30 and 315/25 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires) are the major visible clue that the R8 has been tweaked in any way. H&R springs drop ride height by 0.6 of an inch in front and 1.2 inches at the rear. This arrangement works fine with the factory magnetic ride dampers. Grip levels are now on a different plane thanks to the lower center of gravity and the sticky Cup tires.

A carbon front lip spoiler, side blades, rear underbody diffuser, and side skirts with intakes in front of the rear wheel arches might also give the game away. The side skirts are similar to the ones on the factory R8 V12 TDI concept car. The small red "R" after the R8 badge on the tailgate is admirably restrained. The sharp-eyed should also notice the big Brembo 15-inch front discs with eight-piston calipers. The rears are standard: 14-inch discs with four-piston calipers.

While the R8's interior is plush, the big, comfortable seats are also heavy and not totally supportive for track work. Mayer felt that just dropping in standard lightweight race Recaros would have been a cop-out, so he designed something a bit special to match the white exterior paintwork and carbon trim.

The resulting seats are based on lightweight carbon-fiber Recaros, but white leather-covered padding only appears where the body needs support. Aesthetically, the upshot is a cross between a panda and a Star Wars imperial stormtrooper, but it's unique and does the job perfectly in terms of comfort and location while driving fast.

Where the stock R8 rides with real suppleness, even at low speeds, the MTM car has a firmer edge, but pick up the pace and the more rounded that edge becomes. Importantly, at its worst, it never borders on uncomfortable-even over short, sharp bumps at town speeds where it is comparable to the latest Porsche GT3 RS. At its best, when going quickly, it's only slightly firmer than standard: impressive, considering the lower stance and bigger footwear. Avoid the suspension's sport setting though, unless you're on a racetrack.

The R8 has superb steering and the R8 R is even pointier, but the good thing is that the balance remains. It still has the same mild, stabilizing understeer that can be neutralized progressively and then turned into a gentle drift on the limit before it develops into benign oversteer, so long as steering and throttle inputs are delicate and linear, and that's with the ESP on.

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