The crew at OEM Plus added several elegant touches including the carbon fiber trim packages for the engine bay and body. The mirrors are PPI-designed pods covered in carbon fiber caps. The cabin features four-point racing harnesses, Hexomat floor coverings and a PDR100 Chase Cam camera with a DM10 data acquisition system.
Beneath the spokes of the factory wheels we saw cross-drilled Brembo rotors gripped by Pagid yellow pads. Tires were the new Pirelli Trofeo measuring 245/35 in front and whopping 305/30 out back.
As an instructor in the Audi Club, Vogel drives his R8 the way nature intended-hard. A mile before he arrived at our canyon rendezvous point we heard the R8’s glorious engine riffs bouncing from the rock walls. Breathing through a high-performance Stasis exhaust, this Audi sounded more like a superbike than a street car.
It’s a pretty aggressive tone, Vogel says. I’ve been thinking about swapping it for something less vocal. But when I come up here it’s totally worth it.
A few minutes later, another R8 joined us. This Phantom Pearl Black Audi was decidedly quieter than its sibling and yet packed just as much punch. A pair of turbos will do that.
Heffner Motorsports, in Sarasota, Fla., used its years of turbocharging experience with cars like the Ford GT40, Dodge Viper and Lamborghini Gallardo, a car we tested in the Dec. 2007 issue. On the blistering hot streets of Willow Springs Raceway in the Mojave Desert, we drove the Heffner twin-turbo Gallardo for the better part of a 100-degree day with the A/C on full-blast. No hiccups, no burps, no spurting fluids, the Lambo survived our hi-temp mischief with power to spare. That night, we hit 205 mph on the access road and probably could have gone faster with a bit more pavement and a fresh set of tires. Suffice it to say, Heffner has forced induction down cold.
We’ve taken the R8 engine apart, Jason Heffner recalls. It’s a very solid V8, very robust. It’s a good candidate for forced induction.
For this setup, Heffner chose Garrett T28 dual ball bearing turbos with upgraded compressor wheels. The wastegates are 44mm TIAL units with APR diverter valves.
We could have gone either bigger or smaller with the turbo sizes, Heffner says. The T28s allow us to retain good low-end performance that extends to the upper reaches of the rpm band. We wanted the characteristics of a big engine-no turbo lag or peaky torque band.
All the extra piping, plumbing and exhaust works were designed and fabricated in-house, with an emphasis on OEM-level fit and compatibility. The ECU is the factory Bosch unit, re-programmed by the vaunted performance geeks at APR.
As for the intercooler itself, it’s a liquid-to-air cooled unit utilizing Garret/Honeywell cores. Heffner designed it to fit between the intake runners and the intake manifold. The R8 exhales through Heffner’s own thermally treated stainless steel exhaust. This car was fitted with one of its more sedate exhausts, a unit every bit as quiet as the factory system. Heffner has a more aggressive system if necessary. The rear clip of the car must be removed for installation, a procedure that takes some 40 hours of labor.
The extra power is routed through the more robust V10 clutch and flywheel, bits installed by OEM Plus.
Like the white car, OEM Plus did their thing to the R8 utilizing hard-to-find bits from Audi’s closet. This car wears the V10 R8 side skirts and carbon Sigma side blades. The taillamps are Euro spec units featuring amber blinkers. OEM Plus sourced a RNS-E unit for the LCD interface screen that provides quicker processing and graphics. The factory 19-in wheels were fully polished and shod in Pirelli P Zero rubber measuring 245/35-19 in front and 295/30-19 aft. The rotors were swapped for 380mm cross-drilled Brembo units.
I’d spent time in the supercharged R8, enough to realize the extra power moves the R8 into supercar status. Torque is everywhere and continues until the engine is wailing for a gear change. The tone is glorious, perhaps a bit on the raw side and similar to the Lamborghini Gallardo.