- AUDI R8 #V10 010 American Blend. This is the first Liberty Walk kitted R8 V10 in the world and we got the fappin’ exclusive!
SEMA SPECIAL: AUDI R8 / WORDS MIDGE / PHOTOGRAPHY CJM PHOTOGRAPHY
YOU CAN FORGET YOUR LUKEWARM AMERICANO. THIS ONE’S A DOUBLE ESPRESSO
It’s pretty hard to believe, but the owner of this amazing R8, Sean Der, has only been modifying cars for a couple of years. Now, I’m not saying this particular Baltimore-based real estate mogul hasn’t always been something of a petrol head. In fact, he’s owned some of the sweetest driver’s cars ever to hit the streets, including RX-7s, BMW M3s, a couple of Nissan GT-Rs, another R8 V10 and a whole collection of Honda NSXs. Apparently these standard motors were just for “driving pleasure”. But we all know that sooner or later getting the hammer down on a regular basis can lead to only one thing – tuning. And that’s exactly how he ended up at his first show in late 2013.
He had a properly tasty NSX at the time, his fourth one as it happens. Armed with a load of custom mechanical and turbo upgrades it made 539 horsepower at the wheels. But even Sean was surprised when it picked up its first of many Best in Show trophies. Understandably he wanted more and pretty soon he was to realise modifying cars is an addiction – once you pop, you just can’t stop.
As for the NSX, after a mental FXMD wide body conversion and a satin white wrap, it was actually the last car to be featured on the cover of Import Tuner Magazine before Sean sold the car to pursue a new project. He even made a profit, but he admits it was a big mistake. The problem was, he learned just days later that the car had been approved for SEMA #2014 . But it was too late to get it back.
Missing the event was to shape things to come though, and Sean was determined to build something extra special for the 2015 season. And that’s how we get to today. I guess the real point is, there’s only one thing to do when you’re a little late to the game – kick it up a notch. And Sean has certainly done that here, with massive supercar-shaped bells on.
Not only is this the first Liberty Walk-kitted R8 V10 on the planet, but it’s only the second car in the world to have the whole lot seam-blended into the bodywork. And before you go thinking there’s no prizes for second place, the first car to get this treatment happens to be Sean’s other project – a rather fruity multi-show-winning Nissan GT-R. Talk about bossing it!
It’s pretty obvious that there was a good reason Liberty Walk’s Kato-san chose Sean to showcase his brand new R8 kit at the world’s biggest automotive event. I’d imagine when a bloke like the crazy Japanese legend requests you get yourself an R8 and appear on his stand that’s exactly what you do – it’s not an opportunity you turn down.
Still, that’s not to say things were easy. Kato-san and Sean shook hands back in July when Sean’s GT-R was picked to lead the parade at the Liberty Walk Summer Bash in Miami. Suffice to say that doesn’t exactly leave a lot of time to build a full-on show car or to find a suitable German base car.
Luckily though Sean happens be to co-owner in #APAC (Auto Performance Aesthetics Center), the very customisation shop that put together his NSX. After being impressed by the impeccable workmanship of its owners Derrick Nowell and Sterling ‘Paco’ Duarte, and becoming firm friends, he decided to invest and use his expertise to expand the business.
As well as a huge new facility, this expansion included a lot of extra curricular activities. After 6pm Sean’s cars get the company’s full attention, and that goes some way to explain why he’s got not one, but two of the most revered motors to ever hit SEMA. It has to be said the Derrick and Paco have an unrivalled eye for detail and something of a magic touch when it comes to cars, not to mention some huge trouser potatoes to go chopping up both of Sean’s supercars. As Sean says himself, “Once you cut, you can’t go back”. And it’s even more apparent when you’ve got one of only 10 limited edition Imola Yellow R8 V10s in the whole of North America. But then again it only took an angle grinder and a stack of skill to make this a limited edition of one. Besides, there’s no other way of fitting a Liberty Walk kit, and that probably helps make them so exclusive.
As you’d imagine, the kit is perfectly installed around those massive custom-made RSV Forged dubs, which look like they weren’t exactly light on Sean’s wallet. The AirREX suspension package offers much the same premium-priced kudos. Admittedly tuning is limited to a Quicksilver exhaust and a spot of electronic wizardry from APR, but would you wanna race it? It is an R8 V10 with the same 540bhp engine you get in a Lamborghini after all.
Perhaps what’s most important to the story though isn’t that it cost over 100K or has been built at the request of Kato-san in just a few months of manic evenings. It’s not even the fact that it’s got the first kit on an R8 V10. No, it’s that they’ve chosen to expertly blend a kit that was probably never designed for that kind of stuff in the first place. We’re getting kind of used to seeing riveted overfenders from the likes of LB Performance, Rocket Bunny and RWB but here you get all the raw Liberty Walk flavour done in a, dare I say it, more finished and totally polished way. You could almost call it European in execution. True it’s not a subtle car – saying that would be ridiculous. But there’s no denying that the blending adds another level of finesse to the whole deal. And a raceinspired, mentalist kitted supercar with an ultimate feeling of luxury and finesse can’t be an easy trick to pull off.
TECH SPEC: #Audi-R8-V10 / #Audi-R8 / #Audi / #Audi-R8-Typ-42 / #Audi-R8-V10-Typ-42
TUNING: Quicksilver exhaust system; #APR-Tuned .
CHASSIS: 10 and 12x20in RSV #Forged RXV wheels with 245/30x20 and 325/25/20 Toyo Proxies and custom Toyo tyre stickers; #AirREX air ride system.
EXTERIOR: Moulded Liberty Walk R8 kit; Limited edition Audi Imola Yellow with Glasurit 90 Line paint; custom decals; window tints.
THANKS LB Performance; Derrick Nowell and Sterling ‘Paco’ Duarte at APAC; AirREX; Anthony Quang at RSV Forged; Leon Lee at Just Tint & Signs; Khris Uybengkee of KU Connection; Byron Mapp and Mo Nasir Iqbal.
“A race-inspired, mentalist kitted supercar with an ultimate feeling of luxury and finesse”
What makes it SEMA worthy?
NO RUBBER GASKETS
It might be the first R8 V10 kit on the streets, but instead of simply riveting it on Sean’s team have blended it perfectly into the bodywork. They still had to cut out more than a couple of inches of metalwork first though. Ouch. This kit is yours for the small matter of 15-grand. Double ouch. www.theperformance.co
RSV FORGED HOOPS
You can’t just slap on any old set of hoops for SEMA. Luckily these crazyspoked RSV Forged items were just the ticket to match the car’s awesome bodywork. These guys offer a whole collection of wicked designs available in just about any size or finish you can think of and they start at £790. If you’ve got a limited imagination they’ll even design ’em for you.
The perfectly slammed chassis here is down to a whole new system provided by the guys at AirREX. What’s clever about AirREX gear is that it all comes pre-assembled in a ready-made box so all you need to do is fit the struts, plumb in the airlines and hook up some power. They’ve just started distributing in the UK too. Go check ’em out. www.airrexuk.co.uk
My other car is…
If there’s one other love of Sean’s life it’s his 711whp Nissan GT-R. This one is the car that so impressed Kato-san at the Liberty Walk Summer Bash and kicked off what’s bound to be plenty of bonkers supercar builds in the future. You’ll be seeing a lot more of this monster in FC very soon.
If Bananaman was crossed with Batman, this would be his car.
So, why build one car when you can do two, yeah? “Well, to be honest, this car would have never happened if I hadn’t have met Kato-san in Miami. When we decided to make an R8 to debut the kit at SEMA I knew I wanted to take the GT-R with it. So we ended up re-painting that specially for the show too.”
Anything else up your sleeve? “Well I want to get back to my first tuning love, so I’ve started another NSX. I’m aiming for 1,000whp this time. I may have to ditch the R8 to fund it though.”
The GT-R, R8 and now another NSX? I can’t keep up… “Yeah mate, that’s the general idea!”
Carbon mirrors are standard on the V10!
This is the first Liberty Walkkitted R8 V10 on the planet. Two banks of 5 = V10.