It says much about the latest Audi R8 that it was able to take over the baton from its illustrious predecessor so smoothly, and all without ruffling so much as a single, solitary purist feather. Both the R8 Standard and Plus variants are incredibly capable performance cars by anyone’s standards, but as anyone who’s been around the contemporary supercar industry knows, there’s always scope for improvement – it just takes the right tuner with the right mind-set, and the correct tools.
Still 'hands on' - despite 20 years in the business, Iain Litchfield still signs off personally on all tuning
It makes sense to start with the ECU upgrades, easily the tuning aspect which Litchfield is best known for. Its Stage 1 mapping option, one that's suitable for both iterations of Audi's Ferrari-basher thanks to the shared V10 power plant, provides owners with a significant upswing in performance without forcing them to sacrifice drivability or the V10's smooth nature. In practice this means that the Standard R8 jumps from 540PS/533bhp to 610PS and 600bhp, with more available for the range topping variant.
“We're still evaluating a number of different bespoke tuning options for R8 Plus,” explains Iain Litchfield. “It has a different exhaust and a larger intake which we obviously need to take into account, but we would expect another 15-20bhp over the Standard model with improved torque throughout the rev range.”
As you would expect, Stage 2 is a more involved process and one which requires a number of hardware changes to take full advantage of Litchfield's advanced ECU tweaks, the main one being an aftermarket exhaust from a trusted manufacturer, and it’s here that the Remus system enters the picture. A suitably free-flowing system is required for Litchfield mapped cars to reach their full, 622bhp potential, and that’s just for the Standard R8 – Plus cars will make even more.
Only available via Litchfield and Remus itself, the latter’s new cat-back RACE system is a genuine performance upgrade, one made to OEM rivalling levels of fit and finish. One of its biggest selling points it its lightweight, and the whole system represents a massive 17.8kg weight saving over the standard equivalent, a significant figure, especially in a performance orientated car like the R8. Its finely honed, uncompromising construction isn't just feather light, it's been shown to offer dyno-proven performance benefits – as much as 1.3bhp and 8.1NM of torque! Those figures will of course jump when the system is fitted to a car sporting Litchfield ECU tweaks, but it’s a measure of the quality of the Remus system that it’s able to make such a significant difference when installed as a single, standalone part.
The mechanical makeup of the Remus system is also worth looking at in greater detail, as is it really is a work of art. The cat-back offering is manufactured from a high grade stainless steel a full 3in (76mm) in diameter, one that's the result of an intensive research and development phase. The upshot is a silencer with truly excellent gas flow properties, and a note that manages to strike the correct balance between everyday usability and out-and-out aggression.
The system also boasts integrated valves which make full use of the sophisticated battery of trick electronics already in place, and which therefore give the driver complete control over the volume of the exhaust. Want it suitably raucous for a sunny, Sunday afternoon blast? Easy, just flick the switch and bury the throttle – hey presto! Need to make a quiet, stealthy getaway in the early hours of the morning, or for the Monday morning commute? Again, it's the work of seconds and the flick of a switch.
Vorsteiner Aero Range
The ECU tweaks and exhaust offerings covered above have the potential to bring about significant improvements in both power and noise, but how about appearances? If there’s one criticism you could perhaps lay at the foot of the second generation R8, it’s that its ever so slightly too restrained looking, certainly when compared to rival offerings from the likes of Lamborghini and Ferrari. The good news is that Litchfield has this aspect of R8 ownership well covered through its association with Vorsteiner, purveyors of extreme bodywork additions for all manner of supercars, the Mk2 R8 included.
Vorsteiner’s offerings for the second generation Audi R8 are particularly special, and they also suit the low-key looking Audi to the ground, making the firm’s kits ideal for those R8 owners looking to make a statement. The parts in question form part of Vorsteiner’s Aero range and can therefore be counted upon to both look and perform brilliantly, while also being built to an incredibly high standard. The full range of Vorsteiner components for the R8 includes a VRS Aero rear wing, VRS Aero rear diffuser and VRS Aero front spoiler, available separately or, for the full effect, as a complete, show-stopping package. If you plump for the latter then you’ll end up with an R8 not dissimilar to the be-winged creations campaigned in various GT2 series throughout the globe, which means you’re bound to make a splash on the public road.
The Aero components covered above are all manufactured from high grade, autoclaved and pre-impregnated carbon fibre. Vorsteiner carbon fibre provides superior stiffness, aerospace strength and durability compared to traditional hand laid carbon fibre composites, meaning it can be counted upon both to perform and look jaw-dropping for many years and countless miles.
The above should make it clear that Litchfield is far more than ‘just another tuner.’ The firm has earned its respected place within the UK’s tuning landscape by offering tuning solutions which offer performance without compromising engine life, meaning that there really is no finer outfit to entrust your pride and joy to. Best of all, the Litchfield’s close relationship with Remus and Vorsteiner means that it’s able to offer a full range of modification options, which effectively means that R8 owners have never had it so good.
Stage 1 Remap - £1000.00 (ex. VAT)
Stage 2 Package (Remus Sports Label Racing) - £3,563.00 exc. VAT
3in/76mm Cat-back Valvetronic RACE system - £1,485.00 exc. VAT
VRS Aero front spoiler carbon fibre PP 2x2 glossy – VUD2120 - £2,807.00 exc. VAT
VRS Aero rear diffuser carbon fibre PP 2x2 glossy – VUD2150 - £3,432.00 exc. VAT
VRS Aero rear wing carbon fibre PP 2x2 glossy – VUD2170 - £3,016.00 exc. VAT