Why would Audi need to test some bolt-on wings in a winter environment, you might ask? These parts appear to be very similar to those available for the R8 before the facelift. The front lip appears to be slightly different, but this could be due to design changes for the most recent version of the supercar. We can also tell you that there isn’t a single piece of camouflage on this vehicle. Audi isn’t trying to hide anything, so whatever is going on, it’s not being hidden.
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This is where things start to get interesting. A wire taped to the door pillar on the left side of the car can be seen if you look closely. On the right side, another wire can be seen, as well as an antenna on the side glass. The wires run throughout the vehicle, but our factual analysis ends there. It’s likely that some kind of telemetry is being collected. It could be something as simple as temperature, or something more complex.
Look closely at the rocker panels behind the front wheels while we’re at it. We’d expect a little snow to have built up there if this was an all-wheel-drive R8, as you can see at the back. Powered wheels will always throw a little more snow, especially on a car as powerful as the V10 R8, but those rockers are very clean. As a result, we believe this is a R8 with rear-wheel drive. Wearing a variety of aerodynamic upgrades. The car is equipped with wires and an antenna. In a very cold and snowy environment.
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When you add it all up, it’s clear that there’s more going on here than a simple cold-weather evaluation of performance parts. Audi is rumoured to be planning at least one special edition R8 before the current generation is phased out. Sebastian Grams, the head of Audi’s RS division, stated as much in December, but details remain a mystery. According to rumours, a track-focused last gasp – a final or ultimate edition – could be released, which would be a hardcore model with a RWD setup. And what do we have depicted in this image? A winged R8 that looks more like a race car than a street car, with only the rear wheels turning. So, yeah, this is fascinating.
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For now, we’ll just have to keep our eyes peeled for other test vehicles like this one. It could simply be monitoring the effect of cold weather on these parts. But it could also be something considerably more exciting than that.