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2014 Audi R8 V10 vs. 1988 Audi 80 - Generation Gap

The Audi R8 V10 plus meets a distant relation - its grandfather's second cousin

Greg Emmerson
Oct 11, 2013 SHARE

The thing about drag racing is everybody knows how to react to a green light - we do it multiple times daily on the drive to work and there's little confusion. However, a Nascar-style rolling start requires a little more concentration, especially when the car next to you has shorter gearing and a vastly different powerband.

Get the car rolling, shift into second, sit at about 30mph, pass the start cone and mash the pedal. It's harder than it sounds because you don't want to get a jump on the other car, but you also don't want to be off the gas before the start either.

With the seven-speed S tronic transmission in auto and the Sport button activated, the 2014 R8 V10 Plus took off like the proverbial scalded cat - but without the whiff of burning fur or a trace of wheelspin.

The R8 was so composed, I simply had to ensure I missed the helicopter and didn't get blown off line by its rotor wash.

With the car capable of 0-60 in 3.3sec, and this "Plus" model being a substantial 132 lb lighter than the "regular" R8 V10, this is an incredibly quick car. And mated to the lightning fast dual-clutch transmission, the thrust was unrelenting and uninterrupted. It physically pinned you to the seat, my crash helmet bouncing off the leather head restraint.

2014 audi r8 v10 vs 1988 audi 80 quattro helicopter chase 02 Photo 2/16   |   2014 Audi R8 V10 vs. 1988 Audi 80 - Generation Gap

With nothing to do but flex my right leg and steer, I had time to observe my surroundings. I was craning my neck to find the car alongside me but the blindspot in the R8's mirrors is fairly substantial. However, I needn't have worried because at about 100mph I heard the telltale rush of pressurized air. It couldn't be me; the V10 was naturally aspirated...

The whoosh subsided briefly as another gear was grabbed. Just over my shoulder I heard the distinctive five-cylinder engine come under full load again and as the revs rose, the 1988 Audi 80 majestically sailed past me. It wasn't running away, but with my foot buried in the carpet, the R8 had nothing else to give. I crossed the line at 143mph in second place in a two-car race.

On the return road I saluted the driver with a single digit and returned to the impromptu pit area we'd established on the airport apron.

With our cameras reloaded, software checked and timing equipment reset, we returned to the bottom of the runway.

No Fly Zone

Airfield racing goes back to the dawn of the motorcar, when people were looking for places to compete. After creating purpose built facilities or converting airfields into racetracks in the middle of the last century, we now find ourselves returning to airports to get our speed thrills.

With relatively few quarter-mile tracks in Southern California, and many cars not getting into their stride over that distance, events like Shift-S3ctor's Airstrip Attack and Omega Motorsports' No Fly Zone have recently come to prominence.

2014 audi r8 v10 vs 1988 audi 80 quattro 10 Photo 3/16   |   2014 Audi R8 V10 vs. 1988 Audi 80 - Generation Gap

As more of a variation on the standing-mile races, such as the famous Texas Mile, these airfield events again make use of what's available, since almost every city has a small airport, with some willing to allow organized speed events to take place. What's more, the events are generally relaxed and informal, with likeminded owners choosing whom to race and setting their own parameters.

So we spoke to Tony Lopez from Omega Motorsports (see sidebar) who was happy to help us obtain access to Minter Field in Shafter, CA. This is where he ran two No Fly Zone events that are designed to allow supercars to stretch their legs.

If you enjoy the speed and sound of modern sports cars, you should check out some of these emerging events because you can get close to the action, and taking part is generally cheaper than a formal track day. You get to have fun, meet some new friends and have cool video to take home with you.

Manual Mode

For our next run in the R8, I'd put the S tronic into Manual mode and shift gears myself. That would surely make the difference and allow me to claw back the four or five car lengths I'd lost to the 034Motorsport 80 quattro!

Unfortunately, we weren't using a standing start because the R8's Launch Control function might have given it more of an advantage. So again, we rolled through the starting gate and punched it. The V10 lunged forward, punching through the air. In fact, it snapped through second gear so fast, it bounced off the rev limiter and lost precious time. I was cursing myself so badly I hit the limiter in the next gear as well, allowing the 25 year-old sedan to pass me again.

2014 audi r8 v10 vs 1988 audi 80 quattro 03 Photo 4/16   |   2014 Audi R8 V10 Vs 1988 Audi 80 Quattro 03

This was getting embarrassing. The script said that our $195000 supercar (as tested) would win the race. The next run would be better!

Sure enough, I nailed the gear shifts on the third run, flexing my fingers with perfect timing as the tacho needle approached its 8700rpm rev limit. Third and then fourth gears were selected in milliseconds and we raced for the stars. This time I wouldn't be beaten.

The howl of the V10 engine over my shoulder, heightened by less engine bay insulation to save weight on the "Plus" model, assured me that the 3660 lb sports car was going to take this win. We couldn't be stopped. The R8's distant relative would learn a harsh lesson in technological advancement.

With its awesome traction, stabilizing aerodynamics and gear shifts that are ten-times quicker than a manual change, I had little doubt about the outcome of this race. And then the red car passed me again before we crossed the half-mile marker...

This was getting stupid. It was time to pull over and put some sugar in his fuel tank.

034 80

To be fair to our supercar, the Audi 80 wasn't exactly outgunned. 034 Motorsport was aware of the challenge and brought a Desert Eagle .50 to our gentlemen's duel.

Based in Fremont, CA and led by Javad Shadzi, the company has been building some of the most powerful quattros in the world, and is the go-to resource for older Audi performance, particularly the five-cylinder 20v motor in this car.

Established in 2003, 034 can trace its roots directly back to Javad's purchase of this 1988 Audi 80 in 1998. It was his search for more power and frustration at the lack of suitable tuning parts that would eventually lead him to form his own company.

Back in 1998, a spotty-faced Shadzi had just graduated, got his first job in the VW/Audi aftermarket and was looking for a quattro platform to perform an engine swap. The Audi 80 was hugely unappreciated and he bought this car for a song, since performance enthusiasts were more interested in the C4 Audi S4, which would usually fit European RS2 upgrades.

2014 audi r8 v10 vs 1988 audi 80 quattro starting line 06 Photo 5/16   |   2014 Audi R8 V10 vs. 1988 Audi 80 - Generation Gap

Fitted with a naturally aspirated 2.3-liter five-cylinder 10v motor, Javad decided to fit a 20v engine from the Coupe quattro. He would port the head, fit forged internals and eventually turbocharge it until he met his goal of around 350hp at the crank.

With the internet blossoming in its early days, news about his engine swap and subsequent power hikes caused some interest, with people approaching Shadzi for parts and advice. The hobby became a business in 2003 and would become a fulltime job in '05.

The following year, he and customer-turned-employee and racecar-driver, Christian Miller, decided to run the Audi 80qt at Bonneville, both to publicize the business and to challenge themselves further.

The interior was stripped, rollcage fitted, exhaust removed, bigger turbo installed and 640hp found. They would pass tech inspection, sit on the Salt Flats but never race. Rain washed-out the event and 034 would never return to Bonneville.

The car's subsequent history has been inexorably tied to us: entering eurotuner Magazine's Tuner GP later in 2006, where it placed second overall with 750hp, and representing eurotuner in the Castrol Top Shop Challenge in 2007 with 848hp.

2014 audi r8 v10 vs 1988 audi 80 quattro starting line 08 Photo 6/16   |   2014 Audi R8 V10 Vs 1988 Audi 80 Quattro Starting Line 08

"The Castrol engine actually made 1000hp at the crank on 100-octane fuel," Shadzi admitted. "As a tuner we're always pushing ourselves to see what we can do and let the world know we're here. But it wasn't a one-tick pony. This car has competed on the dyno, drag strip and road course successfully."

Unfortunately, the 80 quattro would be sidelined by newer projects that included the company's legendary B5 Audi A4 and mid-engined Golf GTI, both of which won the eurotuner GP.

"The car sat for years until early 2013 when we had some time to dust it off. We always expected the five-cylinder business to start to fade away but it's actually got stronger as we've become a leader in 20v tuning and parts supply," explained Javad.

2014 audi r8 v10 vs 1988 audi 80 quattro 16 Photo 7/16   |   2014 Audi R8 V10 Vs 1988 Audi 80 Quattro 16

"We have everything from a 500hp bolt-on conversion for the C4 S4 up to 1000hp conversions for the Ur quattro. One of our customers even went to Bonneville with some of our parts and hit 270mph!" he said.

The first outing for the 80qt was No Fly Zone 2 at Minter Field, where it would beat all comers, only to succumb to a 1200hp Nissan GTR. "It was fun to get back behind the wheel," Javad smiled. "It was still in its Bonneville spec with the exhaust through the carbon fiber hood and covered in stickers, but we've made it more of a sleeper now. It was producing about 750hp on 120-octane fuel," he explained.

The car was also running a new Precision 6466 turbo that is newer and more efficient, spooling 2000rpm sooner and hitting 30psi full boost at 4500rpm, which wasn't possible a few years ago with the 2.3L engine.

V10 plus

Had we known 034's 2850 lb 80 quattro had 750hp and perfect gearing in its 01E transmission for the half-mile, we might not have driven 120 miles and suffered the 97?F heat to be beaten repeatedly. Unaware, we lined up for the final run.

The 034 crew had been tinkering with their car and felt they'd found the sweet spot. I couldn't see Javad's confident grin under his helmet but could definitely sense it.

As we rolled across the start line at 30mph, the R8 didn't get its customary head start. The 80 quattro was neck-and-neck. I glanced across in bewilderment. Usually it disappeared over my shoulder and out of sight.

2014 audi r8 v10 rear view 04 Photo 8/16   |   2014 Audi R8 V10 Rear View 04

We pulled quickly through second and the R8 briefly gained a few feet with the change into third. But then the 80 built a head of steam as it revved to 9000rpm, and pulled ahead by a few car lengths. Again we clawed back another couple of feet with the next gear change, but were already three or four car lengths behind by halfway.

As I crossed the finish line at 146mph, the gap was huge and humiliating. The 80qt had reached 159.5mph, and my only recompense was seeing Javad struggle to stop with its stock 10" brakes. Since it was built for Bonneville, it never received an upgrade and we'd been warned to steer clear at the end of the run.

Stopping the R8 was a breeze. The V10 Plus gets carbon-ceramic brakes as standard, which were slightly snatchy at low speed but ridiculously powerful at high speed. Crossing the line at over 145mph and braking from about 155, I never once used the brakes fully. I'd simply apply light pressure and it would scrub speed instantly.

To be honest, I tried using them hard once and it hurt. The stopping power was violent, jarring my neck forward and then bashing my helmet into the seat, so I didn't try it again. Yet it was wonderfully reassuring to have them as I watched the 80qt squirming past the taxiway return road.

2014 audi r8 v10 front fascia 05 Photo 9/16   |   2014 Audi R8 V10 Front Fascia 05

As well as the carbon-ceramic brakes, the V10 Plus gets carbon fiber side blades, front splitter, rear diffuser and spoiler. There's also a smaller fuel tank, less engine bay insulation (for which we were eternally grateful) and it should have manual alcantara-covered seats - somebody decided we should be pampered with powered leather seats, which may have undone all that good work, but we're not complaining.

The V10 Plus boasts an almost identical 550hp to the R8 GT model it replaces (leaving room for a 600hp GT in the future?). It also benefits from the new seven-speed S tronic double-clutch automatic transmission that provided the lightning fast changes. However, a six-speed manual is also available, which is glorious news. The manual car weighs 55 lb less but is 0.4sec slower to 60mph by virtue of the S tronic's shift speed. Somehow it's 1mph faster, giving 198mph top speed as opposed to 197mph for the S tronic.

So while we admit the 2014 R8 V10 Plus was slightly outgunned in our fun airfield race, it does highlight how far Audi has come in the last 25 years. The carmaker had nothing more potent than a turbocharged sedan two decades ago, yet Audi now competes for bedroom wall space with the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche.

Simply gauging public reaction, our matte blue R8 was photographed and videoed during our commute as much as the Aston Martin DB9. Thanks to a starring role in Iron Man, everybody recognizes the R8 and it universally gets a positive reaction.

2014 audi r8 v10 engine bay 07 Photo 10/16   |   2014 Audi R8 V10 vs. 1988 Audi 80 - Generation Gap

At $170545 for the manual V10 plus (the R8 V8 starts at $115k), it costs a great deal of money but packs a massive punch. This is a genuine everyday supercar, able to quietly slip through freeway traffic, or snort and snarl through canyons with the Sport button pressed, bringing a more aggressive exhaust note and wild throttle blips to accompany automatic downshifts.

It's a car that can equally delight and impress both its occupants and passersby, while returning a respectable 22mpg on the freeway (16mpg combined, S tronic version). It certainly doesn't hurt that it looks as good as it goes, and even Javad had to admit that in this battle of Goliath vs a slightly older Goliath, he'd take home the R8 if he had to choose between them!

Omega Motorsport Events

2014 audi r8 v10 vs 1988 audi 80 quattro omega motorsports park 09 Photo 11/16   |   2014 Audi R8 V10 Vs 1988 Audi 80 Quattro Omega Motorsports Park 09

With a 700hp 996 Porsche 911 turbo in the garage, avoiding speeding fines becomes a daily chore. So Tony Lopez, like many enthusiasts before him, decided to organize a track day. With enough interest from friends, his first Omega Motorsport event was held at Button Willow Raceway in 8/12.

At the start of this year, they decided to add an airfield speed event, working in cooperation with Minter Field in Shafter, CA (see sidebar). The entry fee was $200 and it sold out in advance, with a shortlist of drivers waiting for somebody to back out.

With one race taking place every 40sec or so, a BMW M5 owner stopped counting how many runs he had after 50 - Omega prides itself on running a well-oiled machine when it comes to track time. They even provided large cooling fans in the staging lanes to help cool the cars and drivers. With race fuel and food vendors on-hand, the participants had a great time.

Omega Motorsports plans to expand its operations throughout California and even take it to the East Coast. So, if you're looking for a track day or airfield event, make sure to checkout omegamotorsport.com or fb.com/omegamotor-sportsevents for the latest news and updates, including a forthcoming Buttonwillow track day and Minter field events.

Minter Field

2014 audi r8 v10 vs 1988 audi 80 quattro minter field 11 Photo 12/16   |   2014 Audi R8 V10 vs. 1988 Audi 80 - Generation Gap

Established in 1941 as a location to train fighter pilots on the P-51 Mustang, Minter Field became an important part of America's war effort and still houses a museum on the property to commemorate its history (minterfieldairmuseum.com).

Now a privately owned airport used by local pilots and crop dusters, it has a unique triangular runway configuration that makes it ideal for events like Omega Motorsport's No Fly Zone speed trials.

In addition, Minter Field also organizes its own annual two-day airshow "Madness Over Minter" that showcases the best in aerobatics, warplane preservation and, of course, the local flyboys strut their stuff. Tickets are from $15 in advance at minterairshow.com and the next one will be around October 2014.

Situated off Route 99 and close to I-5 freeway, Minter Field is easy to access, and the flat farmland provides excellent viewing opportunities.

If you want to hold a speed trial at Minter Field, contact Omega Motorsport through the Facebook page above, or join one of their organized events.

We heard the airfield, which has a smooth surface already, may soon be extended and resurfaced, allowing bigger planes to land but also meaning higher speeds should be attainable.

2014 Audi R8 {Second Opinion}

2014 audi r8 v10 vs 1988 audi 80 quattro 12 Photo 13/16   |   2014 Audi R8 V10 vs. 1988 Audi 80 - Generation Gap

It's a surprising drive. The R8 V10 Plus feels almost like an entirely new model when compared to the regular V8 and V10. It feels almost aftermarket tuned in its persona, making the Plus a truly remarkable supercar. We're not very easy to impress but Audi has a new hero car.

The 2014 R8 V8 felt like a nice daily driver with solid handling thanks to its lighter curb weight and usable powerband. When fitted with a traditional six-speed gated shifter, it's beautiful. However, behind the wheel, we wanted a little more power; it lacked eagerness and enthusiasm.

Finally, after settling into the R8 V10 Spyder, our ears were met with the stunning sound of the satanic 5.0-liter V10 that echoed off any nearby surface. The brakes were bigger, too, but the car suffered from body roll, understeer and a numbness we couldn't fall in love with in Latigo Canyon.

As a weekend cruiser, with the top down, the Spyder offered a unique experience. But we weren't after romance; we wanted brute power.

Fortunately, the V10 Plus answered all our prayers. It has the stout quattro drive system rid of the loathed understeer, a responsive 550hp V10, brakes that could stop an Airbus A380, and a transmission that shifts faster than anything else on the market.

It sprints to 60mph in 3.3sec, knocking off shifts in the blink of an eye, passing the quarter-mile in 11sec and change. And while the acceleration was addictive, it was the composure that impressed us most.

In the canyons, the place I was once convinced the Porsche Boxster was the greatest carver ever made, the R8 was a tarmac destroyer.

It ate up every turn, sweeper or hairpin. The torque was always there to pull me out and I was barely aware the front wheels were driven at all.

The mid-engine layout has always been perfect, but with the fixed sport suspension and rear-biased drivetrain, the Plus will kick out its rear tires but balance itself like a slightly inebriated ballerina: great moves but skittish enough to have a good laugh. This is the R8 we always wanted.
- Alex Bernstein

1988 Audi 80 quattro

1988 audi 80 quattro rear view 15 Photo 14/16   |   1988 Audi 80 Quattro Rear View 15

Javad Shadzi
Fremont, CA
Owner, 034 Motorsport

Engine Audi 2.34L 7A 20v block, 83mm JE pistons, 150mm Carrillo rods, 034 coated rod and main bearings, O-ringed head, 034 Copper Composite gasket, 034 stage five head porting, Supertech oversized valves, 034EFI HD valve springs, 034 solid lifter conversion, custom CAT cams, Autotech cam vernier, 034EFI Stage IIC engine management with wideband controller, 034 boost control valve, 034EFI wiring harness and high output coil kit, 034EFI stainless steel tubular header with 60mm Tial wastegate, Precision CEA 6466 turbocharger, 3.5" downpipe with exhaust dump, 50mm Tial blow-off valve, custom front-mount intercooler with 3" piping, Wagner HO intake manifold with 034 big-bore throttle body, 034 Fluidampr crank pulley with serpentine belt conversion, 034EFI aluminum radiator, RS2 fan and shroud

1988 audi 80 quattro 7A engine 13 Photo 15/16   |   2014 Audi R8 V10 vs. 1988 Audi 80 - Generation Gap

Drivetrain Audi 01E five-speed transmission, Spec triple-sintered iron clutch, 034 12 lb flywheel, JHM 5:1 high-bias center diff, lockable rear diff, 034 weighted shift knob, motorsport shifter and custom linkage, RS2-style custom Drive Shaft Shop axles, 034 motorsport diff, engine and trans mounts

Brakes stock, with Hawk Blue pads

Suspension 034 coilovers with Koni adjustable shocks, spherical strut mounts, custom sway bars, 034 delrin control arm bushings, Audi RS2 strut bar

Wheels & Tires 15x7" OZ Ultraleggera wheels, 225/50 R15 BFGoodrich drag radial tires

1988 audi 80 quattro cobra racing drivers seat 14 Photo 16/16   |   2014 Audi R8 V10 vs. 1988 Audi 80 - Generation Gap

Exterior Audi RS2 hood, Kamei front grille, color-matched bumpers and mirrors

Interior Cobra Racing driver's seat, five-point harnesses, FIA-spec rollcage, AIM Pista Sports race dash with GPS and datalogging, Audi S2 steering wheel, carpet and rear seat removed, fire extinguisher system

Contact 034motorsport.com

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By Greg Emmerson
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