Insane R8 Rotiform’s star of Worthersee / ROTIFORM R8 Worthersee stunner. NO COMPROMISE / Words Davy Lewis Photography Jape Tiitinen / Location Grossglockner Alpine Pass, Austria
Over the top, in your face and just a little bit mad, the #Rotiform-R8
is loved and hated in equal measures…
Every year in May, the small town of Reifnitz, on the banks of the picturesque Lake Worthersee, is transformed into VW Audi nirvana. It’s the place to be seen in your tuned car, and it attracts every conceivable model, from the sublime to the ridiculous. If you get the opportunity, go – you will be blown away. Although it’s a chilled out event, competition is fierce, with companies and individuals from all over the world, aiming to make their car the most stand out, talked about of the year. This leads to some pretty insane builds. The fact that Audi and VW join in, creating some truly ‘out there’ cars especially for the show, just goes to demonstrate how much impact this event has. Which brings us to this rather lively looking R8…
On the face of it, sticking a wide arch kit, motorsport-inspired graphics and air-ride to the pinnacle of Audi’s line up is anathema to many. Yet, even those who don’t get it, accept that it makes a big impact. Which is what it was designed to do.
Created by Brian Henderson, the man behind the ubiquitous and forward thinking wheel outfit, Rotiform, this R8 is all about standing out. And like a Coco-Pop inside a bowl of Rice Krispies – it certainly fulfils the brief.
Think of it this way: if you were headed to the ultimate gathering of VWs and Audis in Europe and wanted to make a big impression, the kind of thing that’ll light up social media faster than a dancing cat, then you need to think outside the box. No good rocking up in something finished in a classy, but subtle colour.
For 33-year old Brian, a veteran of many big builds, the inspiration came from a rival German manufacturer. “I loved the old Hugo Boss BMW M1 race car,” he explains. For those who don’t know, this was one of the all time great racers. A true icon for BMW fans in the same way that the S1 E2 is for Audi guys.
The R8 was chosen as, in certain parts of Europe, at least, it’s an attainable proposition. In the UK, £40k will get you behind the wheel of an early V8; with a personal plate, most would think you were in a car that cost twice that. It also floated Brian’s boat because it’s an R8. Messing with an S4 or RS6 wouldn’t have had quite the same impact (though Jon Olsson may disagree!).
With a tight deadline to get the car ready for its Austrian adventure, Brian pulled out all the stops and worked fast. First up, the whole thing was disassembled. That’s right folks, with a Prior Design 850 wide arch kit ready to fit up, the OE panels had to come off. Can you imagine paying 40-grand for a top of the line Audi and then ripping it apart almost immediately? Not sure many people (myself included) could stomach that. But then Brian isn’t most people.
With the aggressive kit mated to the R8’s body, things began to take shape. The Prior kit is a high-end, very well made package, so there were no issues with fitment. Although the stock wheels now looked ridiculous set inboard with huge arches swallowing them up. But no matter; a set of Rotiform’s finest would soon be attached to each hub; a very special set indeed.
The wheels had to be something amazing and the CCV threepiece rims with forged step lip are simply stunning. They’re massive too – a girthy 9x20in up front with a whopping 13x20 at the rear. Custom made for the R8’s wide arch body, they are magnificent – the perfect showcase for Rotiform’s considerable talents.
With such a showy car, you may think that Brian took it easy, parking it up nice and carefully at the show. Not a bit of it. This thing was designed to be used and used it was. In fact, Brian didn’t bat an eyelid when we asked if we could take it up into the mountains to find a breathtaking backdrop to shoot it in front of. The now legendary Grossglockner Alpine road cost us 35€ in tolls to get to on this beautiful road. It was 26-degrees at the bottom and 3500 meters higher winds were blowing and weather was changing all the time from warm to cold, with lots of snow. Anyone that’s driven this route will know that it can be hairy, so a widened R8 with fat 13in rear wheels and stretched summer tyres probably wouldn’t be your first choice for such a trip. So massive respect to Brian, Jape and the rest of the guys for making the trip to get these stunning shots.
When it came to suspension, a static drop was never going to cut it. As a demo car for Rotiform, it had to be dropped as low as possible at shows to attract maximum attention. Brian is very much a fan of the high quality set-up that was fitted.
“It has the best suspension I’ve ever driven, and I’ve driven A LOT OF THEM. I chose to use HP Drivetech air suspension which is built off Bilstein Clubsport dampers. Then I went with the Accuair E-Level air management system,” he enthuses.
The exterior wrap is what you might term striking. It’s a homage to the legendary BMW M1 racers of the 80s and Rotiform’s twist on it certainly looks out of this world. Too much for most of us perhaps, but it’s only a wrap, and it shows what can be achieved with a little inspiration.
So, what’s next for this game changing R8? Well, not much as Brian sold it before he returned to the US. “I wish I could have kept it now,” he admits, “but it served its purpose.” Having done over 3000 miles in it while he was in Europe, he did his brand the world of good with this no compromise build.
SPECIFICATION #2012 #Audi-R8-4.2FSI-V8
Engine 4.2 FSI V8, performance exhaust and induction system
Transmission 6-speed R-tronic
Brakes Stock R8
air suspension which uses #Bilstein-Clubsport
dampers and #AccuAir
air management system
Wheels and Tyres 9x20 and 13x20in #Rotiform-CCV
forged step lip 3-piece wheels
Interior Cobra Imola bucket seats
PD GT850 widebody kit / #Prior-Design-PD-GT850
Tuning contacts #Rotiform
www.rotiform.com / Prior Design www.prior-design.de / #Bilstein
Top: Stunning scenery Above: Ready to rumble V8 style.
“First up, the whole thing was disassembled”
Right: R8 looks great in the Alps Below: Special order Cobra seats Bottom: This R8 is no trailer queen.
“The wheels themselves had to be something amazing”