You’ve got to feel a tad sorry for the second generation Audi R8 – it certainly had one heck of a tough act to follow! That the V10-powered Mk2 has wasted little time in once again re-writing the supercar rule book says a great deal about the abilities of its maker, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for improvement via the aftermarket, it just takes a suitably capable outfit to undertake the work. Step forward Litchfield, the UK’s foremost supercar tuner and a firm with more knowledge than most about what’s required to make both the Standard and Plus variants of the R8 go faster than even Audi deemed possible.
Audi’s offers the latest R8 in both Standard and Plus variants, the former with a stock power figure of 540PS/528bhp and the latter with 610PS/602bhp. The fact that the 5.2l V10 at the heart of the R8 is mechanically identical (bar a few ancillaries) in both versions means that there’s huge scope for Litchfield to work its mapping magic, and the firm can actually convince both to make a whopping 630PS/622bhp when coupled with a free-flowing, high quality exhaust system. Of course it goes without saying that said power gains are most spectacular on the Standard, non-Plus R8, with Litchfield’s own development car having been shown to jump from 516bhp to well over 600bhp, and all on 99 octane pump fuel.
The Litchfield tuning range opens with a Stage 1 mapping option, one that’s suitable for both iterations of Audi’s Ferrari-basher. Like all Litchfield tuning schemes its Stage 1 option has been developed with the clear ambition of enhancing the driving experience offered by the R8, and therefore 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.”
OBD programming through the on-board diagnostic port enables Litchfield to easily tune or revert the ECUs back to standard, without having to remove them from the vehicle.
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 either Remus or Akrapovic, both of which utilise Audi’s on-board electronics to vacuum control the integrated valves. Litchfield then follow this up with a custom remap which makes full use of the improved gas flow properties of the exhaust, in turn allowing the Standard R8 to make a thumping 630PS and 622bhp.
The law of diminishing returns means that there’s less power to be extracted from the already incredibly potent R8 Plus, not forgetting the fact that the range topping version already has a high-flow exhaust system as standard. That being said, the noise generated by the R8’s bellowing V10 will be significantly enhanced, so it’s still well worth considering.
The Remus or Akrapovic exhaust are available as a mail order items and, due to the complexity of the R8, take 12 hours to fit.
Litchfield’s Stage 1 and Stage 2 mapping options for the Audi R8 have the potential to enhance the manner in which this already supremely capable supercar drives, sounds and performs, and they come backed up by one of the industry’s leading names. Anyone interested in improving their R8 should get in touch using the details below.
Stage 1 Remap – £1000.00 (ex. VAT)
Stage 2 Package (Remus Sports Label Racing) – £3563.00 (ex. VAT)
Stage 2 Package (Akrapovic Slip-on Line) – £7300.00 (ex. VAT)