Audi Sport customer racing in 2019 will contest two ambitious worldwide programs

Audi RS 3 LMS #22 (Audi Sport Team Comtoyou), Frédéric Vervisch; Audi RS 3 LMS #52 (Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team), Gordon Shedden; Audi RS 3 LMS #20 (Audi Sport Team Comtoyou), Denis Dupont

Audi Sport customer racing will continue two successful programs in 2019. The fourth consecutive year will see at least two Audi R8 LMS GT3 cars at each round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. In the manufacturers’ classification, Audi, after three victories in succession, will be challenged to successfully defend the title.

In the drivers’ classification, the coveted trophy is to return to Neuburg an der Donau in 2019. The worldwide racing series featuring one endurance race per continent will encompass five events for the first time in 2019. In addition to the previously known rounds at Bathurst (Australia), Laguna Seca (USA), Spa (Belgium) and Suzuka (Japan), South Africa will make its first appearance on the calendar.

In addition, Audi Sport customer racing has confirmed its participation in the Nürburgring 24 Hours. Audi Sport commits to the touring car category worldwide as well. In 2019, the Audi RS 3 LMS will again compete in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup that debuted this year as the highest-caliber international racing series for TCR touring cars. Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team, Audi Sport Team Comtoyou and Comtoyou Racing with Audi Sport drivers Gordon Shedden, Jean-Karl Vernay, Frédéric Vervisch and privateers Nathanaël Berthon, Denis Dupont and Aurélien Panis have clinched 15 podium finishes in the 2018 season to date, including four victories. Before the finale in Macau next weekend, all drivers combined have scored a total of 757 points in the Audi RS 3 LMS.

2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge calendar

02–03/02 12h Bathurst (Australia)

30–31/03 8h California, Laguna Seca (USA)

27–28/07 24h Spa (Belgium)

24–25/08 10h Suzuka (Japan)

02–03/11 9h Kyalami (South Africa)

California 8 Hours 2018

Audi R8 LMS GT3

First new-generation Audi R8 LMS delivered: The first customer to have received the evolution of the Audi R8 LMS is Team Attempto Racing. Team Principal Arkin Aka took over the most recent evolution of the successful GT3 race car from Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing, in Neuburg an der Donau. In its first season with Audi Sport customer racing, the outfit based in Hanover achieved third place in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup with Kelvin van der Linde/Steijn Schothorst in September.

Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup

Calendar for 2019 announced: Even before the 2018 season’s finale, the Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup has finalized all the key dates for 2019. The one-make cup that will continue to be open exclusively to privateers in season eight will contest ten sprint races spread across Australia, China, Japan and Malaysia. Like last year, the season will kick off on the street circuit of Adelaide that was visited most recently by more than 270,000 spectators. In Zhuhai and in Shanghai, the Cup will race in front of a Chinese audience. In Japan, the Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup will take place as part of the supporting program of the 10 Hours of Suzuka, a round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. For the finale, the one-make cup, like this year, will visit the circuit at Sepang in Malaysia. In addition to the existing generations of the Audi R8 LMS GT3 and the GT4 version of the race car, the new evolution will be on the grid as well. Prizes in 2019, besides an edition version of the Audi R8 for the overall winner, will include a cockpit for the three drivers in the 2020 event of the 10 Hours of Suzuka. The GT4 winner of the series will compete in 2020 in the SIC 888 endurance race at Shanghai. Additional prizes complete the attractive offering in which amateurs with guidance by pros are able to optimize their skills in the cockpit, in preparation and in data analysis.

2019 Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup calendar

02–03/03 Adelaide (Australia)

04–05/05 Zhuhai (China)

01–02/06 Shanghai (China)

23–24/08 Suzuka (Japan)

23–24/11 Sepang (Malaysia)

Audi R8 LMS GT4

Two podium finishes in Spain: Two Audi customers returned from the fifth and final round of the Campeonato de España de Resistencia at Barcelona with trophies. Daniel Díaz-Varela and Manel Cerqueda in an Audi R8 LMS GT4 achieved second place in the C3 class and position two in the overall classification. The driver duo from Baporo Motorsport had to admit defeat by only 0.304 seconds. Team SPV Racing in another Audi R8 LMS GT4 completed the podium: The Swedes Frederik Danner/Per Anderson finished third after two hours of racing.

Second place in America: In the Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore at Sebring that was held as a single event for the first time, GMG Racing scored a podium result in the GT4 class. Jason Bell/Andy Lally/James Sofronas shared an Audi R8 LMS GT4 in the four-hour race and crossed the finish line in Florida in second position.

Audi RS 3 LMS (TCR)

One-two in Florida: Two teams from Audi Sport customer racing celebrated a one-two result in the Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore event at Sebring. Mark Motors Racing won the TCR class in an Audi RS 3 LMS with Canadians Marco Cirone and Remo Ruscitti. Second place went to the Audi RS 3 LMS of JDC-Miller Motorsports shared by Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson.

Two victories at Vallelunga: In the 6 Hours of Rome, the team of Mariano Costamagna celebrated a class victory in an Audi RS 3 LMS. Marco and Mariano Costamagna, Gianluigi Ghione and Roberto Olivo won the Silver Cup at Vallelunga. The same event saw another victory of an Audi customer team in the Endurance 2.0 competition in which TCR race cars were exclusively eligible to compete. Enrico Bettera won the two-hour race with an advantage of 1m 36s in an Audi RS 3 LMS of Team Pit Lane Competizioni.

Coming up next week

16–18/11 Macau (MAC), FIA GT World Cup

16–18/11 Austin (USA), round 8, 24H GT Series

16–18/11 Austin (USA), round 7, 24H TCE Series

16–18/11 Winton (AUS), rounds 9 and 10, GT-1 Australia

17/11 Tarumã (BR), round 7, Campeonato Brasileiro de Endurance

17–18/11 Macau (MAC), rounds 28 to 30, WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup

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VIDEO: Joe Achilles drives the Audi RS4 Avant

If you’ve seen Joe Achilles’ self-named YouTube channel, you’d know that he’s typically a BMW fan. He owns a BMW M140i and is currently buying a BMW M2 Competition. So he’s big on Bavarians, just the other ones. Now, though, he’s been driving an Audi RS4 Avant for ten days and he seems to like it quite  a bit.

It’s actually sort of surprising to hear him speak so highly of it, as BMW drivers typically hate Audis. We obviously like our four-ringed cars here but there’s no denying that Audis have never been the most communicative cars on the road, especially modern Audis, which have rather numb steering, even if they steer very accurately. BMW’s have numb steering these days, too, to be honest, but the BMW brand has a long history of highly communicative cars.

Still, Achilles seems to really like the Audi RS4 Avant. In fact, he goes on to say that, as a complete package, the B9 Audi RS4 Avant is one of the best cars on sale in the UK (where he lives). He actually acknowledges that he’s normally known as a “BMW Man” but admits that the other Bavarians don’t make anything like the RS4 Avant. There isn’t a single BMW wagon that is as fast or as capable as the RS4, making it not only a great all around package but a relatively exclusive one (AMG makes a hot wagon in this segment as well).

With its 2.9 liter twin-turbocharged V6, making 450 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, the Audi RS4 Avant is more powerful than the BMW M3 Competition Package. It’s also faster, more luxurious and far, far more practical. It’s really hard to not love the RS4 as a daily driver. Are there more thrilling, better driver’s cars? Of course. But as an all-around package, the Audi RS4 Avant is really hard to beat. Now we just need to see it compared to the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Estate.

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VIDEO: Salvaged Audi R8 gets an un-recommended frame repair

A few days ago, we showed you a video of YouTuber Samcrac who recently purchased a salvaged Audi R8 in the hopes of repairing it. At first, the R8 didn’t seem too poorly damaged, as it only had a crack to its driver’s side strut-mount structure. While it’s technically considered part of the frame, which is why the car was totaled by the insurance company, the place where it cracked was actually just a structure to mount the front shock to. So Samcrac felt that it could be repaired and then the R8 would be on its way and working perfectly. And that’s sort of true.

However, in this newest video, he decides to botch the job. Now, we’re not trying to pick on anyone but we don’t want to be responsible for showing the previous videos and then having people think you can repair an Audi R8 this way. You can’t.

Let’s start with the first problem. To realign the cracked structure, he used a hydraulic puller tool and hooked it up to both the metal structure and the jack stand that was holding up the car. That just isn’t safe. Then, as he pulled it closer, he damaged the mounting hole where the strut is bolted to the frame. That’s obviously bad. After that, he hired a welder to come and weld everything back together, after having realigned the structure. Except for the fact that the Aluminum Space Frame Audi used on the R8 shouldn’t just be welded by anyone, nor should it be welded like that. Aluminum welding is very tricky and difficult to do while retaining the same structural rigidity. In fact, many welders don’t recommend even trying to weld-repair cracked aluminum, due to the heat weakening the surrounding metal.

After welding it back together, they then re-drilled the hole for where the strut is supposed to mount to. Except that the new hole didn’t seem like it was exactly in the same spot as it used to be. If that’s the case, then the strut is going to be misaligned and that could be even more dangerous, as it would be putting stress on the mounting structure in a way that it isn’t designed to and on a structure that doesn’t seem to be properly repaired.

Again, we’re not trying to slam Samcrac here but this seems highly ill-advised. We would not recommend driving this car and if anyone sees the car for sale, we’d advise against purchasing it. If an Audi R8 has cracks in the frame, it needs to be repaired by specialists who are capable of repairing an ASF (Audi Space Frame). Not some $300 mobile weld job.

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Audi TT will become a four-door coupe for next generation

The market for coupes/convertibles is dying. Customers are now less likely to buy something with two doors than ever before, especially with the advent of four-door coupes. Cars like the Audi A5 Sportback, BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and, the original, the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class have shown customers that you can have a stylish car and still have the practicality of four doors. Which is why the next-generation Audi TT will actually become a four-door coupe.

According to a recent report from Auto Express, the four-ringed brand had planned on adding a four-door coupe model to the TT lineup back in 2014. Then the diesel scandal erupted and cost cutting plans were put into place. In those plans, all unnecessary projects had to be squashed, the four-door TT included. Now that the diesel scandal is in the rear view mirror and Audi is doing very well, in terms of both sales and profits, it’s said that the Audi TT four-door coupe is back on.

Not only has a four-door Audi TT been green-lit by the board but it completely replaces the two-door coupe and convertible variants. So for the next generation of Audi TT, expect it to only be a four-door coupe. Even the design has been given the okay by the board, so Audi knows exactly what it’s going to look like.

Auto Express has some renderings, which make it look a bit like an Audi A7 mixed with a Volkswagen Arteon. Which might not actually be far off. Though, it’s said that this upcoming four-door Audi TT stays pretty true to the original, in terms of design and size.

So what’s the point of a four-door Audi TT over something like an A5 Sportback? Well, the Audi TT is going to be a lot smaller than the A5 Sportback and will also be built on Audi’s newest version of the MQB platform. So it will be about 290mm longer than the current TT, 60mm wider and have 120mm added to its wheelbase. That’s actually a decent increase in size but it still won’t be as large as the A5 Sportback.

Static photo,
Colour: Tango red

It’s also said that this upcoming Audi TT will get 48-volt mild-hybrid setups for its engines, allowing it to reduce turbo lag and keep its performance peppier. A plug-in hybrid model is even possible.

This is an interesting move and it shows that Audi is really trying to shake its model portfolio up to keep up with the times. It will be sad to see the two-door TT go, as we’ve had it for so long, but it will be exciting to see a new, four-door model.

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VIDEO: Audi Q8 reviewed by Carwow

We’ve already read and seen several reviews of the new Audi Q8, the brand’s newest flagship SUV. But Carwow’s reviews are always more thorough than most, so it’s always good to watch them, as they give more in-depth information than the average review. So let’s check Carwow’s latest Q8 review.

From the outside, the Audi Q8 is the most stylish SUV the brand has but it’s by no means beautiful. It’s exciting and muscular looking but there are some very weird design elements, such as the new grille which Carwow’s Mat Watson equates to a dentist’s cheek retractor. He’s not wrong. Still, it’s an interesting looking car with elements of the original Audi Quattro, muscular fenders and cool dancing lights. So it’s not all bad.

On the inside, it’s also very nice. The front cabin is filled with rich materials and very slick technology. Some of that tech can be a bit annoying to use while driving, such as the new Touch Response MMI system and the touchscreen climate controls but their functionality is impressive and Audi’s new Virtual Cockpit is as brilliant as always. What really surprised us about the interior was its rear seat space. There’s a ton back there, which is shocking for an SUV with such an aggressively raked roofline. But there’s a lot of space for rear passengers, in terms of both knee and headroom. There’s even good room for three adults.

In terms of the way it rides and drives, the looks of the Audi Q8 belie its handling characteristics. While it looks sporty and muscular, it’s no sports car. That isn’t to say that it isn’t capable or fun to drive, relatively, but that it’s still more geared toward comfort and luxury. The ride is smooth and soft and the steering is light and easy to use. Still, its front end is sharp, there’s a ton of grip and it is more athletic than one might expect of such a large SUV. So while it’s not some sort of bonafide sports SUV, it’s sportier to drive than the Q7.

In the end, Watson recommends “Shortlisting” the Audi Q8, as it’s a very good car and one that looks more interesting than the Q7 but it’s a bit more money for less space. So you’ll have to way your practicality needs versus your styling needs.

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SPIED: Next-Gen Audi S3 Sportback caught with evolutionary styling

It seems as if the current-generation of Audi A3/S3/RS3 models just came out. The MQB architecture Audis still seem fresh and are still competitive in the segment. They also sell incredibly well, with the A3 dominating its segment in America. The Audi S3 (pictured above) is also a big seller and it’s also still a great car, one that’s fast enough to keep up with genuine sports cars but livable everyday and surprisingly affordable. Which is why we’re very excited about this new one that’s just been caught testing. (We don’t own the spy photos but you can see them here)

These photos show an Audi S3 Sportback test mule doing some around-town driving. No hot laps at the Nurburgring that day. The car in question is undoubtedly an Audi S3, as its styling is similar to the car that it replaces. It’s also obvious that it is, indeed, an S3 and not a standard A3, thanks to its quad exhaust pipes, an ‘S’ model staple.

Visually, it’s not all that different from the current car but there are some styling changes that do make it seem more modern. For instance, the body line in the lower portion of the door panels is new and it makes the car look more muscular. It also gets a more pronounced shoulder line, new taillights and just a whiff of the ‘Quattro Fender’ design that’s been so prominent on modern Audis.

Current Audi S3 Sportback

Up front, it’s very similar to all new, small Audis and you can tell that it’s going to share some of its face with the new Audi A1. Those headlights and the grille shape are similar to the A1’s and they’re both sportier and more aggressive than the current car’s.

Expect this Audi S3 to a handsome and faithful replacement for the current car but don’t expect any drastic styling changes. That is the Audi way after all — evolutionary styling, not revolutionary.

It should change quite a bit on the inside, though. Like the new Audi Q3 and A1, the Audi S3 is going to get the brand’s newest Touch Response MMI system and Virtual Cockpit, both of which will likely be as-standard options. It probably won’t get the touchscreen climate controls of the larger Audi models but that’s fine by us. Long live physical controls.

As far as engines go, we don’t have any official info. Expect some sort of 2.0 liter turbocharged four-pot making around 300 hp, give or take a few ponies. That should be enough to keep it competitive in the segment and more than enough to be fun. Though, it would be nice to see it sniff the 350 hp mark.

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Audi RS3 Sedan vs BMW M2 Competition — Auto Express Test

If you want a small, ballistic, incredibly fast little car good enough for everyday driving, it’s hard to look past these two. Both the Audi RS3 and BMW M2 Competition are astonishingly quick cars, capable of 0-60 mph times that I remember being reserved for Ferraris not too long ago. But both are also capable of seating four and have big trunks. How can you not love cars like that? But the real question is: Which one is better? Let’s hear it from Auto Express.

First, though, let’s take a look at each car. The Audi RS3 Sedan is the older of the two cars. Sort of. The standard BMW M2 debuted first but the Competition variant is brand-new, and different enough to be considered a new model. Rather than the standard M2’s 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 engine, dubbed the “N55”, this new M2 Competition gets the same 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged I6 as the BMW M3, which is known as the “S55”.

That new engine gives it 405 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. That’s a lot in such a small car. The beauty of the M2 Competition is that it sends all of that power to just the rear wheels. In between the engine and the rear tires is either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch, the latter of which in this test.

As for the Audi RS3 Sedan, it’s quite a bit different. Not only is it a sedan, rather than a coupe like the M2, but it packs a very different power and drivertrain. Its engine is a 2.5 liter turbocharged inline-five with 400 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. That’s quite a bit less torque than the M2 Competition but it makes up for it with Quattro all-wheel drive, allowing all of that torque to actually make it to the pavement. It also gets a seven-speed dual-clutch.

One paper, the BMW M2 Competition should be the faster car. However, during Auto Express testing, it was only able to manage a 4.4 second 0-60 mph time. While the Audi RS3 was capable of a 3.8 second time in the same sprint. Thank all-wheel drive grip for that.


What the BMW M2 lacks in on-paper performance, though, it makes up for with hilarious road manners. It’s almost too powerful for a car of its size. However, BMW has tweaked the engine to deliver power more linearly, slowly building as the revs rise, rather than coming in like a sledgehammer, like the M3 does. So it’s willing to kick the tail out with ease but it’s nowhere near as sketchy as the M3 or M4 to drive at speed. It’s a neutral and predictable car once it starts to slide and is really a ton of fun.

The Audi RS3 Sedan is in direct contrast with the M2 Competition. It’s brutally quick on paper and in a straight line. It also has a ton of confidence-inspiring grip and can go through corners at almost absurd speed. However, it lacks some driver involvement to the Bimmer. Its steering is more numb and its chassis is less playful. It does make up for some of that with all-weather capability and better everyday usability but, as a pure sports car, the M2 Competition is the better car.

Which is why it wins Auto Express’ test. The Audi RS3 might very well be the best all-rounder on the road, with a superb engine, blistering speed, everyday practicality, better ride comfort and all-weather ability. However, as a driving instrument, the BMW M2 is the better car.

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VIDEO: 2019 Audi Q3 gets reviewed by

As surprising as it might sound, the Audi Q3 is one of the upcoming four-ringed cars we’re most excited about. In fact, we’re more excited about the Q3 than cars like the Audi SQ8 and RS7. Before you take our car enthusiast credentials away, let me explain.

The new Audi Q3 is drastically improved over the old car, with much better looks, a massively upgraded interior, brand-spanking new technology and upgraded driving dynamics. The old Q3 was about as exciting as a conference on embalming techniques. This new one, though, seems like a very interesting little car and it comes at a price most customers can afford. So how could we not be excited by it?

In this new video from, Ciro De Siena drives the new Audi Q3 in Italy to see how it stacks up against the old car and where it fits into the market.


After driving it through some unfortunately rain-soaked Italian countryside, he claims the Q3 to be massively upgraded over the car it replaces. It packs segment-leading technology, sportier and more muscular looks and an interior that’s really enjoyable to be in. It also gets a lot of as-standard equipment, such as Audi’s new Touch Response MMI system, a 10-inch Virtual Cockpit screen and even wireless charging for mobile phones. It’s really impressive.

Not, this video doesn’t touch on driving dynamics too much but he was also driving a 1.5 liter TFSI model, which is very slow and won’t be available here in America. Expect the 2.0 liter TFSI to be the only engine available in the US (which will unfortunately drive the base price up a bit). That engine will be paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox as-standard and will likely be offered in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

We haven’t driven the new Q3 but we’re very excited about it and can’t wait to get it on US soil.

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Audi R8 RWS vs BMW M4 CS — EVO Mag Test

When word first got out that Audi would be making a rear-wheel drive version of the R8, choirs sang, skies opened and hearts filled with joy. The idea of a tail-happy, more driver-focused Audi R8 was an unbelievably exciting one. But Audi isn’t the only one that’s now offering a more driver-focused, hardcore version of its fan-favorite sports car. The BMW M4 CS is here to play now as well. But which one is better? EVO Magazine had the incredibly lucky job of finding out.

Despite the massive hype, when the Audi R8 RWS, it was met with a sort of “That’s it?” attitude. Not that it’s bad, because it’s still an incredible car to drive, it’s just not that different feeling than the standard car. Again, not that that’s a bad thing but the standard R8 isn’t the purist of driver’s cars. Still, the standard R8 is awesome to drive and the RWS is just a touch better, a touch more thrilling.

The Audi R8 RWS is, essentially, a standard R8 V10 just without a front driveshaft or front axles. So it still has a 5.2 liter naturally-aspirated V10, making 532 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque. It has some suspension tuning tweaks, to adjust for the lighter weight and less front end mass. But that’s really it.

What about the BMW M4 CS, then? Well, it’s the most hardcore M4 you can buy. Its 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 engine makes 464 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque and it gets a steady diet of carbon fiber to keep weight down. It’s also rear-wheel drive.

Both cars have seven-speed dual-clutch gearboxes as their only options and both have clever rear differentials.

The Audi R8 RWS has the better engine of the two, no doubt. Its free-breathing V10 revs past 8,000 rpm and makes the most glorious, hair-raising noises. It’s also very approachable to drive fast, with immense front end grip and sharp, accurate steering. If there’s a complaint, it’s that it’s too easy to drive quickly and is too polished.

As for the M4 CS, it’s just as fast as the Audi, thanks to having torquey turbochargers, but it’s more of a handful. Its front end is ever sharper than the Audi’s but its rear end is easily overwhelmed by the engine’s torque, which is apparently able to break traction in fifth gear. It’s also a bit stiffer than the R8, giving it some unwanted wheel hop over rough bumps and making it more upset through mid-corner road imperfections. So the Audi R8 is smooth and fast while the BMW M4 CS is fast and violent.

But which one is a real driver’s car? According to EVO, neither of them, really. Both cars have some serious flaws to the way they drive, enough to rid them of their true driver’s car badges. Still, they’re both excellent to drive. It probably  just comes down to personal preference.

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Would you buy a salvaged Audi R8 and try to repair it?

I won’t lie, I’ve always had a fantasty of buying a salvaged or lightly crash supercar, then fixing it and driving it for a fraction of its original cost. Not only would that give me a supercar for far cheaper than new but it would be my little project, my baby. Something I brought back to life. Which is why I was immediately drawn to these videos from YouTuber Samcrac, who recently bought a salvaged Audi R8 and plans on rebuilding it.

The Audi R8 he bought is a 2010 V8 model with a gated six-speed manual. So the right Audi R8. It also only has 42,000 miles and he bought it for far less than the $80,000 suggested retail value for such a car. That’s because it’s a salvage title car due to “undercarriage damage”. So he bought it with the plans to fix that damage, hoping that it wasn’t too extensive.

Upon delivery, the only thing that seemed wrong with it was its dead battery. But after a jump, it started right up and drove, revved and shifted fine. There did seem to be some looseness in the front driver side of the suspension. Samcrac thought it might have been a bad Magnaride shock.

However, after taking out the entire frunk (front trunk) and replacing the battery, he noticed that one of the structural braces in the front end was cracked all the way through. Considering that front end frame crack was a real problem with all 2010 and earlier R8s, he decided to dig deeper and take the windshield wiper assembly off. Removing that revealed more frame crack as he had expected.

Aside from that, though, the R8 seems to be in good shape. Everything seems to work fine and all of its electronics seem to be in order. So after some frame welding, which is admittedly no easy or cheap fix, his Audi R8 should be in perfect shape again. Depending on how much he paid for the R8 and pays for the welding, this could be the steal of the century. I’m jealous.

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