It's among the first days of spring and I'm a very lucky boy indeed.
That's because I've got Audi's, new for 2017, R8 and not just any R8 but the V10 Plus.
It's got 610 horsepower to the standard cars 540.
It's got carbon ceramic brakes and it makes one hell of a racket.
Now listen, everybody knows the R8 is the everyday supercar.
It's capable of being driven flat out on a race track but also quite sensibly it's got decent ergonomics.
It's got reasonable sound levels.
Rolls when you want it to.
And that's all true with this 2017 model.
But what it's added is layer of sophistication, not just to the in car electronic, but it's got keener turn in.
They've worked really hard at the front suspension and steering, and I think they've nailed it.
Now I've only had it on the mountain roads, but tomorrow I'm taking it to Daytona International Speedway, and we're gonna run it around on the road course.
[SOUND] The RH shares the same chassis as Lamborghini's new [INAUDIBLE] Which we already know from Tim Stevenson's drive is a brilliant car.
I haven't had the pleasure of driving that yet, but even so, I'm not sure I won't rather have this.
It's a little bit more accessible price wise.
I don't know.
It's got a little more distinct design statement to me.
Designed to disguise a little bit of extra wheelbase and the long tail.
[SOUND] One of the best things about this new R8 is it's got an updated version of the twin clutch transmission that That was featured in the mid cycle updates of the last [INAUDIBLE] It's incredibly quick.
120 millisecond shift times.
in fact, if you want that kind of old school swack in the back, where it pins your head against the seat and you bob back and forth, this car just doesn't do that.
So some people may say it's not [INAUDIBLE] enough, but It is certainly more effectively around the track and around a winding road like this one.
So the V10 sounds great.
I just wish we were a little bit more vocal even though the dual mode exhaust here, it is not quite assertive as something like Jag f type, let along the svr version.
One thing I do miss At least a little bit on a philosophical level is the availability of a six speed manual transmission.
The first generation car had a fantastic six speed lever right down here with a metal gate.
It's like an old school Ferrari, but it actually worked better.
It was more intuitive from gate to gate.
Apparently not enough of those sold, so [UNKNOWN] However, just leaving it in full automatic especially when you've got the settings all wrapped up.
Man, the transmission is brilliant.
Some people say this car is a little too clinical, a little too polished.
I have no idea what they are talking about.
It just does everything right.
So you probably wanna know how much.
This V10 plus is optioned to around 200k, which puts it in some really [INAUDIBLE] company.
But I think it holds up well.
I think it holds up brilliantly.
Customer R8's will spend an overwhelming majority of their time on the street, but that doesn't mean it's not important for them to perform on the track.
Especially the costlier V ten plus.
In this business, lucky schmucks like me, we get a fair amount of time on closed circuit, but getting the chance to rip around unchaperoned on a international temple of speed like Daytona?
It's not just rare.
It says a lot about Audi's confidence in this car.
At Daytona, there's not just enough room dog eat well into high triple digits.
There's corners and runoff to gain confidence in this car's handling.
On a public road, even if you've got your big boy pants on, you might not find a corner large or untrafficked enough to feel confident pitching it in sideways.
But out here on the road course, you can play, and you'll find your own limits well before you find those of the car.
It's crazy, crazy fun.
For a long time, it was possible to complain that Audis lacked for steering immediacy.
Even some RS models, well, they just didn't feel as adjustable in the corners as you'd want.
That was the all-wheel-drive.
It triggered a little too much front end plow, taking the steering feel along with it.
But that's not the case here.
If you drive the R8 conservatively, yes, you'll be met by predictable under-steer.
But grab it by the scruff.
On the power and you pitch it in, this car responds.
It likes it a little rough.
Credit the stiffer carbon fiber reinforced plastic bits in the chassis, and a completely ramped front end, including it's variable ratio steering rack.
It's out here that you can begin to feel the 50% part commonality with the GT three racecar that won the Rolex 24 here earlier this year.
Look, I've said it before and I'll say it again.
In 99% of situations, street cars, they don't need carbon ceramic brakes, it's overkill.
But if you track your ride, especially at a place like this that begs you to hit 160, 170, or well beyond, they're better than life insurance.
Okay, so Audi isn't completely nuts.
Despite letting us out here without pace cars, we've been limited to three laps at a time.
They started the morning with a [INAUDIBLE] and now we're running the big track in the afternoon.
but before you ask,it doesn't feel like it's because the cars engine or its brakes can't handle it.
It's because we as drivers, we're not used to the G forces of the high speeds of this.
It is way too easy to get punched around the speed.
In fact, on board track and street is is easy to get carried away with R8's extraordinary dynamics.
That is particularly true in plus size which has put a little day light between itself and the standard v10.
This new R8 is everything the old car was, beautiful, fast, and surprisingly livable.
But this type there's more layers and more personality to go with that perfection.
Well that makes all the difference in the world.