PUSHING THE LIMITS
British company, Push Performance, has engineered a new drive-in-drive out twin turbo package for the R8 V10. We went for a blast in it – alongside, a supercharged R8 GT…
style=”flat” size=”4″]It’s a chilly autumnal morning and I’m sat at an airfield just outside Swindon – where they film the UK bits of the Grand Tour. Still groggy from a stupidly early start, I could really use a coffee. No time for that though. I glance to my left and there’s a blue R8 GT revving its V10 provocatively – it sounds amazing. The howl of the 5.2 is soon joined by another, altogether meaner sounding V10, sat just behind my head. I look to my right, as the driver, Ricky Elder, gives me a nod, then the radio crackles into life with a curt “Go!” And we’re off.
There’s the briefest moment of calm before all hell breaks loose… Even with a transmission friendly ‘soft’ launch, the speed with which this R8 gets off the line is incredible. The back end steps out slightly as the AD08R semi-slicks fight for grip, but once into its stride, it is savage. Ricky fires through the gears as we get wheelspin in third, accompanied by a crescendo of whooshes and snorts as the twin turbos get busy. Pinned to the back of my seat, I strain to look left and can see the supercharged GT sticking with us. We’re ahead, but not by much. Suddenly we’re approaching the end of this short airfield road, and as Ricky jumps on the brakes, I get a close up of the quattro badge on the dash. Phew. I no longer need a coffee. I’m pretty sure I do need the toilet though.
The UK may have lost much of its manufacturing base, but British engineering is still widely regarded as some of the best in the world. You need only look at the number of Formula One teams based in the UK (RedBull, McLaren, etc) to see the influence we have at the very highest level of motorsport. The Brits get it done and done right (all fuelled by copious amounts of tea).
It’s this pride in UK engineering that led business partners, Ricky Elder and James Cox, to set up Push Performance – and in so doing develop their own twin turbo package for the R8 V10.
Ricky runs RE Performance, a well-respected tuning outfit, specialising in high end Audis and Lamborghinis. He’s worked on many of the UK’s highest profile Audis and has brought one of his finest efforts along today. The blue R8 GT is a customer’s car fitted with a VF supercharger kit and capable of 800bhp. It’s one of the best all round R8s in the world and will make a great comparison with the twin turbo R8. James co-owns Swindon Karting Arena with his brother and has been building cars for many years. “Ricky and I used to race motorbikes, so we’ve always been ultra competitive and are used to egging each other on,” smiles James. It was this attitude that led to Push Performance being set up.
“James said he wanted to buy a Nissan GT-R, but I told him he’d be better off getting an R8 instead,” says Ricky. He even went as far as finding his best bud a suitable car – an immaculate, white V10 with low miles. James continues: “I bought the car and went straight out to get a £4k exhaust for it. The R8 was great, but you know what it’s like, you soon get used to the power of a car and want more,” he chuckles. The tipping point came one night when he encountered a tuned VW. “James’s £65k supercar was left for dead by his brother’s Mk5 Golf,” laughs Ricky. To be fair it was a 500bhp track-spec GTI, but even so, the banter was unbearable, so the guys began researching turbo kits.
“We looked at Underground Racing in the USA, but they won’t sell you a kit – it has to be fitted by them,” explains Ricky. “We also looked at Hefner and AMS Performance, but we worked out that by the time we’d factored in the rubbish exchange rate, and paid import duty, we’d be looking at about £40k.”
No way that was happening. James continues: “So I said to Ricky – how hard can it be to build a turbo kit? With our combined skills and experience, surely we can do it for under £20k?” At this point James had a vision: “I decided it would be great to see if we could build an R8 that would challenge a hyper car, but do it all for under £100k – including buying the car and tuning it.” The kit would be a Push Performance branded package, but it would be supplied and fitted, exclusively, by Ricky at RE Performance. Challenge accepted – the guys set to work.
The first step was to find a suitable turbocharger. “I called Owen Developments and told them what I was after,” says Ricky, “They revealed they’d just built their own new turbo and would love to get involved.” The turbo itself is the brand new GTB frame. It includes a Tial housing and wastegate and is rated to 700bhp. Two of these beauties were duly produced and despatched to RE Performance’s HQ in Swindon.
“Floor the throttle and there’s a symphony of whooshes and snorts”
Next on the list of importance was cooling. “An air-to-air intercooler just wasn’t going to work for us,” says Ricky, it had to be a chargecooler system – but we couldn’t find anything suitable. Then he heard about a company making ’coolers for rear engine’d rallycross cars with similar packaging constraints to the R8. The specifications were sent over and the bespoke units were produced. They run on a separate water circuit to the turbos and wastegates, which allows the temps to be kept extremely low. “While other systems run at around 80-90 degrees, ours never gets above 30 degrees,” says Ricky. This focus on reliability and effectively ‘future proofing’ the set up is something that runs through everything these guys do. The package had to be fully developed and thoroughly tested before it could be made available to customers.
This almost obsessive approach continues with the rest of the car. The chassis features Push Performance adjustable rear toe arms, anti-roll bar links and three-way coilovers. “We’re actually having our own coilover setup developed,” states Ricky. “It’s from a manufacturer that we know from bike racing, so it’ll be totally our own spec and developed especially for the R8.”
As a company demo car, no expense was spared on the supporting upgrades, so you’ll find Syvecs management, plus a datalogging facility. This allows Ricky full control over the different parameters, as well as keeping a close eye on the health of the system. There’s over £2k worth of motorsport fittings and plenty of ceramic coating, too.
On the outside, you’ll find some very tasty carbon fibre additions including the front splitter, side canards and rear wing. The wheels are currently stock V10 items (painted gloss black), but James has just ordered a set of Dymag Boxstroms – in carbon fibre, of course. The graphics are not going to be to everyone’s taste, but this car is all about making an impression and standing out – to promote Swindon Karting, as well as Push Performance – and big yellow smiley faces tend to get you noticed.
So there we have it. Ricky and James have set out to solve an engineering problem; gone about it with typical British thoroughness and ingenuity and created a twin turbo package to be proud of. The next stage will be to get the power up over 1000bhp, which will involve a built engine and uprating the fuel system, but it will happen. In the meantime, Ricky already has another R8 GT booked in for the kit as well as a Gen 2. And James has just bought another R8 V10 as the new project. There’s a lot more come from these guys – watch this space…
Comparing the R8s
Being told how a car performs is one thing, but you can’t beat experiencing it for yourself. The R8 GT is a rare beast anyway, but this one is packing a supercharger and 800bhp. It also features a mouth-watering array of go-fast goodies. The active rear wing alone cost more than my car. There’s a set of carbon fibre bucket seats, pus a full retrim in Alcantara. You’ll also find carbon ceramics, plus KW Clubsports with HLS lift system and lots more.
As you’d expect from a supercharged engine, the GT feels like it has a larger engine. The power is delivered in a very linear fashion and there are no surprises. Make no mistake though, it’s very quick; and so well set up that I don’t think I’ve sat in a better handling Audi.
This is one of the most ‘together’ cars I’ve ever experienced. It feels totally dialled in to the road – nimble, responsive and you can sense what it’s doing. It’s no wonder then that the owner uses it to great effect on track. But not just on track, this rare GT cfinished second in the super GT class by just six thousanths of a second.
Bare in mind this was up against some of the UK’s most powerful aero-clad Japanese cars, and it was driven to the event, where it put down some ferociously quick laps, and was then driven home. Epic stuff. The GT is a different beast to the Push Performance R8 though. It’s a money no object build and the owner if fortunate to have a fleet of other fast cars at his disposal.
The Push Performance R8 is an altogether different beast. It was built to be a genuine rival to the mega-money hypercars, offering the same thrills and performance, for a lot less money. Ok, £100k is still a significant outlay, but I can’t think of anything out there that offers the same supercar looks and savage performance for this price point.
Floor the throttle and there’s a symphony of whooshes and snorts as the twin blowers come on boost. With the custom exhaust and screamer pipes, it makes an almighty sound – especially when you’re stood right behind it. It’s not as if the stock 5.2 V10 is exactly lacking in aural delight, but this thing takes it to the next level. But there’s more to the Push Performance R8 than a sweet sound.
With 800bhp available, there is epic acceleration available. A large capacity engine, plus twin turbo set up means that there’s no lag – just copious amounts of power. We try some rolling launches (this is no drag racer) and it is quite simply ferocious. The 30- 130mph times are where this R8 will excel and it’s geared to 206mph (although the gysv are working with a company to build them a 6th gear capable of 240mph). Ricky and James have their sights set on a V-Maxx event in 2017 and if they do compete, this is going to shake up some of the hyper car fraternity.
Let’s not forget though, the PP R8 is used as a daily driver. Indeed, the many miles James has done has all been part of the development process and allowed the team to iron out minor niggles and get it working 100%. James drives it from his Somerset home, to Swindon and back most days come rain or shine.
Admittedly, it may get less use now that winter has its icy grip on the UK (800bhp R8s and track tyres can get hairy when it’s slippery), but with a full interior and a very civilised ‘off-boost’ character, it’s easy to drive. Of course, when you want the full-fat, lunatic mode, then it’s merely a squeeze of the throttle away.
SPECIFICATION Push Performance Audi R8 V10 Typ 42
Engine 5.2 FSI V10, Push Performance (PP) twin turbo kit consisting of: Owen Developments GBT turbos with PP spec wheels and housings, PP spec chargecooler, 2x Tial BOVs, 2x Tial 60mm external wastegates, PP 3in twin-exit exhaust, PP 2in wastegate screamers, Syvecs engine management with REPerformance engine calibration, REPerformance full motorsport spec data logging loom
Power 850bhp and 900Nm
Transmission Audi R-tronic, re-mapped by REPerformance
Brakes Stock R8 V10
Suspension Push Performance adjustable rear toe arms, PP adjustable anti-roll bar links, PP spec Bilstein 3-way coilovers
Wheels Stock R8 V10 alloys with Yokohama AD08R tyres
Interior Stock R8 V10 leather sports seats, Alcantara steering wheel
Exterior German Rush carbon fibre rear wing, PP side skirts, PP front canards, PP front splitter
SPECIFICATION Audi R8 V10 GT
Engine 5.2 FSI V10, VF Engineering Supercharger kit, REPerformance (REP) engine calibration, REP intake tubes, filters and breather mods, REP engine oil cooler upgrade, Akrapovic titanium exhaust with REP valve controller
Power 800bhp and 825Nm
Tansmission Audi R-tronic
Suspension KW Clubsport 3-way coilovers with HLS height lift, Push Performance spec rear anti-roll bar, Push Performance adjustable ARB links and adjustable rear toe arms
Brakes Carbon ceramics front and rear
Wheels Stock R8 GT alloys with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres Interior Voltphreaks lightweight battery with REP motorsport cut-off, GT half cage, Technocraft carbon fibre colour matched seats, Schroth harnesses, lightweight fire extinguisher, carbon fibre interior upgrade pack, custom carbon fibre and Alcantara steering wheel, long reach carbon paddle sifters
Exterior APR Performance front carbon splitter, APR Performance carbon side skirts, Aeromotion DRS rear wing with REP mounts, carbon door mirrors
Contacts and thanks Push Performance turbo kits are exclusively available from REPerformance – www.reperformance.co.uk 07786 170031. Find them both on Facebook
Top: A very good day at the office. Above: R8 GT has carbon seats. Top left: The business end of the Push Performance R8 Above: James wanted to retain the luxury interior and who can blame him? Top: One of the finest all round R8s out there. Above: The PP kit will be finished in crackle black for an OEM look on customer cars Facing page, left: The R8 GT’s VF supercharged. Left: Head to head Bottom: Carbon ceramics on the GT
SWINDON KARTING ARENA
Housed inside a former aircraft hanger, Swindon Karting Arena is a huge setup with a challenging track, perfect for all abilities. The expert team can cater for parties and corporate events, as well as groups of mates who just want to turn up and race – Arrive and Drive starts at just £20 per person. On top of this, you can race Endurance (4 hours), plus there’s minimotos on Sundays, and pit bikes on Monday evenings. Head to www. swindonkarting.co.uk to book your drive.
THE PUSH PERFORMANCE V10 KIT
The beauty of this setup is that it is a full bolt on affair. It can be fitted to any R8 V10 or Gallardo and work with the existing ECU and fuel system to deliver a solid 850bhp. This will cost £19,995 plus the VAT. But customers will be able to choose from a range of additional options, including the renowned Syvecs management, motorsport fittings and much more. With a built engine, plus associated upgrades, this package is designed and engineered to support over 1400bhp. The kit fits the Gen 1 R8 V10 and Lamborghini Gallardo, but with some changes to the fitting kit, it’ll also go on the Gen 2 R8 and Huracan. In fact a Gen 2 R8 is already booked in for the package, plus another R8 GT. The package has also been carefully designed so that it has an OEM look to it. The shiny polished items are purely for this development car, to showcase the turbo kit. Customer cars will feature a crackle black finish more in keeping with the character of an R8 (or indeed Lamborghini). Customer cars will of course run a rear bumper, too – James left his off for the shoot, so we could get full access to the turbo kit.