MotoGP Legend Valentino Rossi Joins Team WRT for 2022

Valentino Rossi and Team WRT R8

Rossi retired from MotoGP at the end of the 2021 season, but made no secret of his desire to keep racing.

In the two-wheeled world, Valentino Rossi needs no introduction. During his legendary career, the Italian MotoGP superstar won an astonishing nine Grand Prix world championships, and ushered in a new era of motorcycle racing’s premier class. Rossi retired from two-wheeled competition at the end of the 2021 season, but he made no secret of his desire to keep racing, and now we know he’s headed to Team WRT, where he’ll pilot an Audi R8 in the GT World Challenge Europe. Here’s his full statement about the move:

I am delighted to join Team WRT for a full Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS programme. Everybody knows that I have always been a great car racing fan and that I have always been interested in racing on four wheels once my MotoGP career would come to an end. Now I am completely available to devote myself to a car racing program at a high level and with the right professional approach. Team WRT is the perfect fit I was looking for and I am anxious to start this new adventure in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS with them.     

Given his celebrated status in the world of motorsport, this is unquestionably a huge get for Team WRT, and as a longtime fan of Rossi, I’m excited to see how his skills translate after adding an additional pair of wheels.

As of last month, he was already testing the Audi R8 LMS GT3 which WRT will run this season, so announcement comes as little surprise. In a nod to his past success on the track, his car will bear the number 46, which he has sported his entire career. Interestingly, that number has not been retired from MotoGP — though it’d take one hell of set of stones to put it on a race bike.

Official test days for 2022 GT World Challenge Series Europe kick off March 8th at the Circuit Paul Ricard in France, and the first race is set for one month later, at Monza in Italy. How exactly how Rossi and his teammates — which will include factory Audi drivers — will fare this season remains to be seen. But “The Doctor’s” presence in the pits is sure to create some excitement for the series, particularly in his home country. Until then, check out the video below to watch some of the best moments from Rossi’s extraordinary MotoGP career!

Photos: ValentinoRossi.com

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Silver R8 V10 Adds a Touch of Luxury to the Open Road

2010 Audi R8 V10

Over a decade later, 2010 Audi R8 V10 still at the peak of its powers, includes new exhaust system, integrated radar detection.

Is there anything more timeless than the Audi R8? Over two generations spanning from the turn of the millennium to the New ’20s, the R8 and R8 V10 represent to this day the pinnacle of everything Ingolstadt has built.

Thus, this 2010 R8 V10 we happened upon on Bring a Trailer the other day should easily find a new home with plenty of roads to play upon, laying down all the luxury and performance it offers along the way.

2010 Audi R8 V10

This silver R8 V10 landed in Virginia before moving to Maryland, Florida, and its current home of Tennessee. Along the way – likely after leaving Virginia – it picked up an integrated radar detection system. Once in Tennessee with its current owner, a new sound was given to the Audi via a Fabspeed exhaust system. The forged 19-inch wheels will need some new rubber to replace the 2012 date code tires. Tires from 2019 and 2020 are on the Audi, too; those should be okay.

2010 Audi R8 V10

The R8 V10’s 5.2-liter V10 and six-speed manual logged over 52,000 miles in the 12 years it’s been on the road. Each mile, of course, felt all 525 horses and their combined 391 lb-ft of torque rumble over them, including more than a few spirited gallops down the highway. Whether they got to go 220 miles per hour – like the speedometer suggests – is a matter we’ll likely never know about.

2010 Audi R8 V10

Whether flying down the road or cruising on the street, though, the R8 V10’s black leather seats provide all the luxury and warmth anyone could ever want. The driver will definitely love rowing through the gated shifter for the six-speed. And all will love hearing their favorite songs coming out the Bang & Olufsen stereo system, too.

2010 Audi R8 V10

A 2022 R8 V10 performance with quattro starts at nearly $200,000. This one is nearly half that as of this post. One could say this is due to all the supply chain issues pumping up used vehicle prices through the roof. We would say it’s because an Audi like this is truly special.

Photos: Bring a Trailer

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Cameron Aubernon’s path to automotive journalism began in the early New ’10s. Back then, a friend of hers thought she was an independent fashion blogger.

Aubernon wasn’t, so she became one, covering fashion in her own way for the next few years.

From there, she’s written for: Louisville.com/Louisville Magazine, Insider Louisville, The Voice-Tribune/The Voice, TOPS Louisville, Jeffersontown Magazine, Dispatches Europe, The Truth About Cars, Automotive News, Yahoo Autos, RideApart, Hagerty, and Street Trucks.

Aubernon also served as the editor-in-chief of a short-lived online society publication in Louisville, Kentucky, interned at the city’s NPR affiliate, WFPL-FM, and was the de facto publicist-in-residence for a communal art space near the University of Louisville.

Aubernon is a member of the International Motor Press Association, and the Washington Automotive Press Association.

This 1500 HP Audi R8 Gets a Gated Manual & All-Wheel-Drive

This 1500 HP Audi R8 Gets a Gated Manual & All-Wheel-Drive

Underground Racing brings us a very special 1500 HP Audi R8 Decennium, which ditches its DCT for a six-speed gated manual transmission.

Audi aims to become a fully electric brand by the year 2033. The German car manufacturer also confirmed that the successor of its R8 supercar would get an electric-only powertrain. We reckon that it will be a while before Audi introduces another flagship supercar with a manual gearbox. Till then, good folks like Underground Racing are doing their best to ensure that enthusiasts can still experience the thrilling performance of the mid-engine Audi via a gated manual transmission.

The North Carolina outfit recently swapped out the dual-clutch automatic gearbox of an R8 Decennium with a six-speed gated MT. The car in question is a 2020 model year R8 which also gets a twin-turbo treatment. The R8 Decennium’s V10 motor could produce 620 HP of power and 427.8 lb-ft of torque in its factory tune.

For the uninitiated, this is also the same powerplant that propels Lamborghini Huracan. Underground Racing claims that with the help of its UR Twin Turbo system, the 5.2-liter motor of this R8 can now produce 1500 horsepower.

This 1500 HP Audi R8 Gets a Gated Manual & All-Wheel-Drive

The gated manual sends power to all four wheels, which retains its factory-like driveability according to UR.

The atelier also uses UR’s proprietary JRR engine management system to keep all that power in check. Thanks to the EMS, this 2020 R8 Decennium also gets a drift mode, Rolling Antilag on paddle, and launch control. Other drivetrain upgrades include a UR Street clutch and a UR billet intake which flaunts a polished finish.

The car also received a Performante Center-lock wheel conversion and now rides on a set of Performante wheels, which get a custom finish. Dallas, Texas resident Danny is the proud owner of this unique ride and also happens to be a long-time customer of Underground Racing. In addition to a Lamborghini Gallardo and a Huracan Performante, Danny gave his first-generation Audi R8 Underground Racing’s twin-turbo treatment.

So far, underground Racing has not disclosed any information regarding the cost of this conversion. Nevertheless, the tuner has confirmed via its official Facebook page that it will soon release a video of the build, probably sharing more information about the car. Underground Racing already has a plan in place for its next project.

In its Facebook post, Underground Racing writes, “If anyone is interested in building a manual 6 Speed Twin Turbo R8 or Huracan like this please don’t hesitate to call or email anytime.”

Image Source: Underground Racing

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MUST WATCH: Shop Employee Borrows R8 to Surprise Blind Child at Car Meet

Blind Kid in an Audi R8

In time for some holiday magic, one employee of Only Motorsports takes his boss’s Audi R8 to bring joy to a blind child’s heart.

Do you remember the first time you heard an Audi? Whether it was the turbocharged inline-five of the Ur-Quattro or the rumble of the R8 V10, Ingolstadt knows how to turn on the passion for the four rings of steel for fans of all ages.

And it’s especially magic when a child experiences Audi for the first time. Zach, one of the employees running Only Motorsports’ YouTube channel recently brought that magic to a special car meet put together to give a blind child an experience he’ll never forget.

Shop Employee Borrows R8 to Surprise Blind Child at Car Meet

“It’s Christmas Eve,” he said. “I was at the shop working. I just found out that there is a car meet over at a dealership somewhere. It’s for this kid for Christmas – I think he’s nine or 10 or something – he’s completely blind […] They’re doing a car meet because he loves cars.”

To make things special for the kid, the employee drove his truck to his boss’s house to “borrow” the Audi R8 parked inside. And not just any R8, but an R8 V10. After all, if five cylinders are good, 10 are better.

Shop Employee Borrows R8 to Surprise Blind Child at Car Meet

The gathering at Ford of Murfreesboro in Murfreesboro, Tennessee is filled with all sorts of sensory goodness, mostly of the American V8 variety. Zach’s “gift” to Christian, though, is filled with plenty of Teutonic magic to stamp the four rings of steel upon his heart.

Shop Employee Borrows R8 to Surprise Blind Child at Car Meet

“I’ve never seen an Audi in my life!” said Christian. “That’s loud! Why’s it so loud?”

Christian also noted how the chimes sounded exactly like those on his mom’s Volkswagen. Witnessing the sheer joy from his spirit pop from his time behind the wheel of the R8, though, is exactly why all of us became Audi fans. Being able to share such magic and wonder with a child like Christian is its own reward. In fact, it’s better to just watch the video below than for us to try to put his joy into words. Nothing like witnessing the birth of a new Audi fan.

Click HERE to join the AudiWorld forums!

Cameron Aubernon’s path to automotive journalism began in the early New ’10s. Back then, a friend of hers thought she was an independent fashion blogger.

Aubernon wasn’t, so she became one, covering fashion in her own way for the next few years.

From there, she’s written for: Louisville.com/Louisville Magazine, Insider Louisville, The Voice-Tribune/The Voice, TOPS Louisville, Jeffersontown Magazine, Dispatches Europe, The Truth About Cars, Automotive News, Yahoo Autos, RideApart, Hagerty, and Street Trucks.

Aubernon also served as the editor-in-chief of a short-lived online society publication in Louisville, Kentucky, interned at the city’s NPR affiliate, WFPL-FM, and was the de facto publicist-in-residence for a communal art space near the University of Louisville.

Aubernon is a member of the International Motor Press Association, and the Washington Automotive Press Association.

Audi R8 History: Building a Poster Car

Audi R8 V10 RWD Coupé

A glimpse into the history of the Audi R8 flagship supercar. This article explores its origins and influences leading up to its production.

A common ritualistic practice of every budding enthusiast in their early years is the purchase of a car poster. You know the ones. You go to the school book fair and sort through the big cardboard bins, hoping to catch a glimpse of a poster with a tantalizing photo of your dream car. And you say to yourself as you proudly display it center-stage on your bedroom wall, “One day, I’m gonna own that car.” Well, by the late ‘90s, not a lot of Audis were in those collections anymore. In fact, Audi’s production models, while unquestionably rapid, were also missing something important. 

The early 2000s included peppy, sporty models like the TT as well as luxury super saloons like the S4 Quattro. But the centerpiece was missing, the flagship poster car. A car which combined the fun-factor of the go-kart handling TT with the animalistic power of the S4. Naturally, Audi was perfectly happy to oblige.

Repeating History

Firstly, a bit of backstory. As previously discussed here, Audi has a motorsport lineage dating back over a hundred years. After the retirement of the factory-backed Quattro from rally, Audi vehicles would once again prove themselves on tarmac. This kicked off in 1989 with the debut of the Audi 90 in IMSA’s GTO category. Their Quattro-equipped vehicle dominated its rear-wheel-drive counterparts with ease. By the following year, they’d return to Germany, successfully competing in Group A with the V8. Using knowledge gained from the successes of such vehicles, Audi would in-turn adapt their motorsport knowledge to their road cars. The debut of the S2 in 1991 marked the beginning of the respected S and RS lineups.

Small Car, Huge Potential

Audi was rekindling the magic again. But it requires even more radical thinking than that to really put themselves back on the map. In the same year, they released not one, but two striking concept cars: the Quattro Spyder and the Avus. The Avus, an homage to the Auto Unions of old, was a one-off prototype with a wooden-mockup 6.0L W12 engine. Named after the famous Avus-Rennen, its lines were unquestionably evocative of the early racers. While built as a mid-engine vehicle similar to the R8 we know today, it wasn’t nearly as influential in its predecessor, the Quattro Spyder concept.

The Quattro Spyder debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and it immediately struck a chord with its distinctive body style. The most distinctive feature was its mid-engine configuration, the first mid-engined Audi since the days of the Auto Union racers. With a 2.8L V6 and the ubiquitous Quattro drive system, the car would’ve been light, nimble, and very grippy. However, such a vehicle proved too expensive for Audi to commit, and it sadly never saw the light of day. Or, more accurately, it was put back in the oven to cook a little longer until it was just right.

Building a Racing Legend

During this interval, Audi was by no means sitting idly by. They remained highly active in motorsport throughout the 1990s. This culminated in the debut of the R8 (no, the other R8) in the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans. It would be their first foray into the famed event as a factory-backed team. This edition of the R8 would come in two flavors: open-top (LMP-class R8R) and closed-top (LMGTP-class R8C). They weren’t as fast as the BMW’s, but they were extremely durable and raced hard to a 3rd and 4th in the LMP-class that year. Ultimately, however, they would be the harbinger for the far more potent R8 to come.

Now simply the R8, this vehicle made its debut in 2000, and quickly made a habit of winning most of the races it entered. Since its debut at the 2000 12 Hours of Sebring until its retirement in 2006, the vehicle entered 79 races – and won 63 of them. That’s an incredible ratio, and would easily immortalize the vehicle into the history books. Its racing history is long and storied, so it won’t be elaborated upon more here.

Audi R8 LMP

…And Adapting that Legend for the Road

Audi, however, saw more potential with the R8 than just winning races. The car had almost single-handedly reinvigorated the brand’s worldwide image, with Le Mans the center-stage of the world’s finest racing vehicles. The public wanted some of what Audi was putting out. Enter a man named Frank Lamberty, who was only too happy to oblige. Frank designed a vehicle that effectively incorporated the nimble mid-engine layout of the Quattro Spyder with the savage power of the early 2000s RS models into one package. Initially referred to as the Le Mans Quattro, this new vehicle stunned the audience of the 2003 Frankfurt Auto Show. Initially, the vehicle was intended as an homage to Audi’s third successive win by the R8 at Le Mans. However, its reception was undeniable. Audi had finally found its poster car.

Audi Le Mans Concept

The R8 Green Light

The decision to put the Le Mans into production occurred almost immediately afterwards. In 2005, the vehicle’s designation was officially changed to the R8 in homage to the LMP car. Lamberty’s design team worked with renewed vigor – as the R8 race car continued its rampage on the track, this car would do the same on the road. Originally the vehicle was announced for the 2007 model year, but the expected retirement of the R8 LMP in 2006 would accelerate their plans. Not that it had much effect, since all the hard work was completed already. The revised production vehicle would subsequently be revealed to the world at the Paris Motor Show in January 2006, and orders immediately flooded in. 

The major design alterations between the Le Mans and the first-production R8s were in the powertrain. While the Le Mans was equipped with a 5.0L twin-turbocharged V10, the production model scaled it back to a more modest (but undeniably savage-sounding) 4.2L V8. The initial models were equipped with a six-speed gated manual or automated manual gearbox, both produced by Graziano. They were designated in-house as Type 42’s, owing to the engine displacement. These vehicles saw performance comparable to the likes of mid-range Lamborghinis, Vipers, and Ferraris, with their vicious acceleration and tight turning radius by design.

Audi R8 Type 42

The Poster Car Returns

The car was immediately successful both domestically and abroad, making its appearance in popular media and video games alongside the likes of the aforementioned vehicles. Capitalizing on this popularity, Audi quickly followed up with a new engine in December 2008, the 5.2L V10, restoring the lost two cylinders from the Le Mans. Both models were produced side-by-side, although the V10 model would see other changes alongside the engine. For example, one notable alteration was the headlights, as this would be the first production car with all-LED headlights.

Of course, Audi wouldn’t be content with just building a poster-car for the road car fans. So in 2009, they debuted the R8 LMS for GT3 race regulations. Sporting a RWD layout to comply with restrictions, the LMS retained the V10, now pushing close to 570 horsepower without a restrictor plate, mated to a brand-new six-speed sequential gearbox. The first deliveries were made for the 2010 season, and the vehicle continues to be a highly competitive racer to this day in various classes of motorsport.

Audi R8 History: Building a Poster Car

Keeping the Ball Rolling

The R8 would continue being revised right up until the discontinuation of the original line in 2015. A spyder model was introduced in late 2009 for the 2010 model year, although the public was teased with its existence in the 2008 filming of the movie Iron Man 2. Of course, the most significant change was the 2012 facelift. This incorporated numerous changes such as a new bumper and grille, 7-speed DCT gearbox, standard adaptive damping, revised interior, and more. The gated six-speed and traditional headlights were subsequently dropped, and the new line introduced the R8 V10 Plus. Essentially a more racing-oriented R8, this model would see many minor cosmetic and functional variances to give it a meaner look and stiffer, more nimble feel.

Audi R8 Spyder

While the first car used essentially the same frame as the Lamborghini Gallardo, by 2015 that platform was coming to an end. Knowing this, Audi designed a completely new platform from the ground up for the R8 in late 2013. The new platform, called the Audi Space Frame, was an all-aluminum monocoque chassis and is internally referred to as the 4S. This second-generation model was unveiled at Geneva in 2015 and shared the underbody of the new Lamborghini Huracan. The car’s design was further accented with a more angular, aggressive general shape. Hard lines were used frequently, especially with the grille, lights, and side trim. The 5.2L V10 and 7-speed transmission were retained and power increased to just over 600 horsepower. A minor facelift in 2018 was all that was needed to keep the vehicle looking and sounding wonderful, and it remains in this configuration to this day.

2022 Audi RS lineup -- 2022 Audi R8

The Legacy of the R8

The design has proved itself time and again in popular media as well as on the road and track. Today, the R8 continues to enjoy this success with more than 40,000 units sold worldwide. The model’s even proven itself as a testbed for future Audi innovations. It’s been outfitted with a TDI V12, rear-wheel steer, two electric motors, and even the 2012 China Edition specially made for the Chinese market. But, far more crucially, the R8 put Audi back on the map as a car people aspire to own. Audi’s proven it can both talk the talk and walk the walk. And the company’s flagship finally returned to children’s walls for the first time since the S1 Quattro, and rightfully so.

Images from Wikimedia Commons and Audi MediaCenter

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Matt’s been an automotive aficionado since he was a toddler learning how to stand by leaning on his grandfather’s classic Porsche. Since then, he’s been thoroughly and utterly captivated by all things motoring. He’s also a novelist and short story author, and enjoys writing across many genres. His primary goal is to share some of his love of automotive and motorsport history through the medium of writing, as well as talk about this passion we all share in a thought-provoking way. He’s a true a sponge about vehicles, and enjoys learning about just about any aspect of motoring, especially historically significant and/or oddball stuff.