I was warned, but still not quite prepared for it. Commandant Bidrawn told me that Stasis’ supercharged V10 R8 Spyder might’ve been the fastest car he’s ever been in. And after he said that, he went uncharacteristically quiet and stared off into the distance, like he was still trying to make sense of it.
A week later I got the call from Our Dear Great Leader Les Bidrawn Il-Sung. Call the guys at Stasis, he said. Set up a time and place to drive their cars. They’ll meet you anywhere. Anywhere?
The Nordschleife probably would’ve been too much to ask, as would’ve Suzuka or Spa Franchorchamps, so I settled for a favorite cluster of roads in SoCal. Think: coastal, canyons, rock slides, blind corners, no guardrails, sheer cliffs.
When the Stasis crew rolled the Spyder off the transporter, I couldn’t get over how right it looked. The R8 may just be one of the few cars that look better as a cabrio than it does with a tin top. Free of its long roofline, it looks shorter, wider, and sitting on shorter springs, its wheel wells stuffed with 20-inch wheels and wide Michelin PS2 goobers it looks built for one purpose: world domination.
You don’t notice the supercharger upon startup even though it’s inches behind your head. No intrusive whining or whirring of belts and pulleys. The Stasis 3-inch, stainless, cross-flow exhaust dominates the soundtrack by playing a solo that ranges from a deep, burbling idle to an insistent wail as revs climb. The system feels smoothly integrated with the engine, and the blower will happily stay dormant while you use the V10’s ample torque to tool around. Or it’ll let you know it’s there with a surge when you nudge the pedal just enough to get the supercharger to build boost.
And when you go all in, it’s like detonating a bomb. Response is instantaneous and the force is overwhelming. The g-forces push you into the seat as if you were being vacuum sealed to the backrest. Your neck strains to keep your head level so you can glance at the tach to make sure you don’t hit the limiter. You’re convinced the engine must be chugging liquefied plutonium because the power it generates seems beyond the limits of conventional combustion engine science.
But Henry Hsu, Stasis’ director of engineering, will tell you that he chose the Magnusson (housing) and Eaton (scrolls) roots-type blower specifically for that before-you-can-anticipate-it response instead of the linear build up of a compressor-type blower. The supercharger in their V10 kit puts out 2,300cc per revolution, up from the 1,900cc on the company’s V8 kit (Boosted Rockets, January ’11). The V10’s two extra cylinders required them to measure the amount of engine movement, but they managed to get their pulleys on there without hitting the firewall. They also managed to clear the Spyder’s low rear decklid without any modifications. Like the V8 kit, this V10 kit does not require any modifications or machining to the engine. It uses CNC-machined aluminum billets to form the intake plenum and intake manifold. A dual-pass air-to-water intercooler sits between the blower and the intake plenums. Max boost is 7.5 psi and peak power is 710 hp to the crank at 7000 rpm and 558 lb-ft of torque at 6050 rpm, an increase of 189 hp and 134 lb-ft over stock.
Pity the Michelin PS2s for having to manage 710 hp, but they and Audi’s ESP traction control do an admirable job of waging war on terra firma. Stasis Touring springs are paired with the stock magnetorheological shocks and the aforementioned 20-inch wheels to provide a ride that’s firm and controlled but never punishing. The larger but lighter Alcon rotors reduce unsprung weight by 4 pounds per corner, making the suspension’s job that much easier.
That afternoon, I would go on to carve those favorite canyon roads faster than I’d ever done before. And if it wasn’t the fastest ever, then it was never easier to go that fast. There was a fluidity to the Spyder’s movements as it annihilated the corners and switchbacks and hairpins. The feedback through the wheel was informative, the limits, though extremely high, were easy to approach. When a straight appeared, just a squeeze of the trigger had the Spyder ripping the fabric of space-time to shreds.
String Theory posits the existence of up to 11 dimensions, and within those dimensions, time and space behave in ways our senses haven’t learned to perceive. And while I’m no particle physicist, a blast in Stasis’ supercharged V10 R8 rearranged my sense of time and space, because now everything moves in slow-mo.
Longitudinal mid engine, all-wheel drive
5.2-liter V10, dohc, 40-valve. Stasis Challenge Extreme supercharger kit, Stasis crossflow 3-inch stainless steel exhaust
Six-speed R tronic automated manual
Audi Magnetic Ride active damping, Stasis Touring springs
Eight-piston calipers, Stasis-Alcon 15.4-inch rotors (f), four-piston calipers, Stasis-Alcon 14-inch rotors (r)
Wheels and Tires
Stasis forged alloys
9.5x20 (f), 12x20 (r), Michelin PS2, 255/30 (f), 325/25 (r)
The supercharged R8 V10 Spyder might be the star around which other cars in the Stasis lineup revolve, but the company built its reputation primarily on work with various iterations of the A4/S4 chassis.