Claws Out: The Audi R8 1:1 Time Attack Monster

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I absolutely love time attack.

Forget the intense competition and driver focus – just look at the wild cars that get built in the pursuit of lap times. Sami Sivonen and the Audi R8 1:1 Professional Amateurs crew are a prime example of a team pushing the rulebook (and physics) to the limit, all in the name of speed.


The R8 1:1 is no stranger to these pages, having been featured six years ago in much tamer guise to the car you see now. “We’ve almost changed the whole car since 2017. The frame around the driver is the same, but pretty much everything else is modified or completely rebuilt,” says Sami.


The most significant upgrades are the in-house-designed and built front and rear subframes, allowing for custom suspension geometry including an active third damper. This in essence connects the suspension at both sides of the car and ‘pushes back’ against forces which act equally on the independent suspension.


Sami’s R8 is setup to handle vast amounts of downforce and dive forces with little compromise to ‘low speed’ handling characteristics, as the independent Öhlins coilover suspension does not need to be too stiff to counter the Dynamic Aero Solutions-developed aero package.


Oh, and when I say downforce…


… I mean lots of downforce.


Lots, and lots, and lots of downforce.


“We were gaining so much pace [since 2017] that the stock suspension components did not want to deal with the loads,” Sami explains. “We basically had two options: improve on what we had around the stock chassis or go all in and fully build the car around WTAC rules.”


Sami and his team have really pushed the rulebook with the Audi’s custom aero package; the rear wing being 2,400mm wide and the front around 2,800mm end to end (WTAC-spec). “It makes our R8 possibly the widest race car in the world,” says Sami.


“With European regulations the overhang is bit more limited, so the front wing is around 2,650mm wide, using modified foot plates.”

The result is 4.8 tons of downforce at 280km/h. At 300km/h there would be six tons, but that sort of load would be a big problem for the wheels and tires.


With all of the extra performance potential in the chassis, attention was then directed to the Audi’s V10 powerplant for more outright speed.


“The base engine is the same, but we’ve made the change to water-to-air inter-cooling and lower compression to aid efficiency,” says Sami.


In 2017 the team were using Garrett GTX3576 turbochargers, but now the engine bay is home to a pair of Precision PT6870s with plans to go bigger still. “The main goal for all the improvements has been thermal efficiency but we have gained a lot of driveability as well as torque and power.”


The team has seen a max torque figure of 1,280Nm at the hubs, whilst power has jumped from around 960kW in 2017 and is now 1,016kW at the hubs too. That’s a smidge over 1,362hp in old money. “Torque exceeds 1,000Nm at around 4,000rpm and continues all the way to redline, which is at 8,700rpm,” Sami added.


And yet with a power figure as ridiculous as that, the livery is still the main talking point of the R8 in its current guise.


WTAC Australia was the inception of the idea, when Sami’s Audi was involved in a game of cat and mouse with Rob Nguyen’s Mighty Mouse Honda CR-X.


It was apparent early on that the big old Audi was the faster car between the two that weekend, and the spectators jokingly named the R8 the cat, being the only car that could catch Mighty Mouse. Unfortunately, some unrepairable damage to one of the Audi’s wings knocked it out of contention and it came second to the CR-X.


Mr. Nguyen decided to pop down to Sami’s garage and crack a joke along the lines of ‘the fat cat ought to lose some weight…’


… igniting the idea that the Audi – which is actually rather light all things considered – would bear a mobster-inspired cartoon cat toying with a little mouse in between its claws.


Sami and ‘The Fat Cat’ crew have set official track records at the Porsche Ring, Pärnu in Estonia and Motopark, Virtasalmi Finland, as well as GT-car based records at Mantorp Park in Sweden, TT-Circuit Assen and Botniaring, Finland as well as an unofficial track record at the Alastaro Circuit, also in Finland.


They’re also planning on conquering one of my personal favourite circuits, the Nürburgring GP layout.


The Professional Amateurs are one of the most fun yet devastatingly competitive teams in time attack at the moment, and this image sums that up brilliantly. I can’t wait to see what else Sami, Henri, Riku, Mikko, Sanni and Märt can add to their record streak.

Mario Christou
Instagram: mcwpn

Photos by Alen Haseta
Instagram: hazetaa



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There's just something special about Scandinavian racing teams and tuners, so ridiculous in their projects, yet still so down to earth & understated in their presentation. Just "pretty much everything else is modified or completely rebuilt"


Sincere question: How does Time Attack differ from qualifying for a conventional roadrace?

Why not actually race the WTAC cars side-by-side? After all, everyone is constrained by the WTAC rules.
Interesting team, cool and innovative car, as well as great photography, BTW. :)


Building a car for a couple of laps is quite a bit different than building one to withstand several hours of racing. It’s no different than land speed cars, 1/4 mile cars etc. it’s a specialized form of autosport/racing.

Time Attack Fiend

It's funny people fuss about time attack. In racing this is summed up in one word: qualifying.

This is just the world qualifying championship. Zero wheel to wheel competition. One lap cars and then they park em. This isn't real racing. Put these guys in a 30 lap sprint race against each other and you have my interest, but in the format it exists in this is just a jerk off fest for techno nerds.


It's just a watered down form of motorsport. We aren't competing anymore in the true sense of the word. This whole industry is becoming a joke. WOAH HE GOT THE BEST TIME.

In real racing this just means he starts at the front. It's not a challenge to out spend and out innovate people. This s*** is for nerds who want to glorify "modifying" instead of racing.

Most formula ford drivers have more skill than these clowns when it comes to navigating actual racing craft.


RE: "One lap cars and then they park em."
In Top Fuel drag racing, they don't even take corners, and 440 yards is a very short 'lap'. But I guess it's just a watered down form of motorsport.


how about rally? because rallying is also the same. it's about who's the fastest across the trail.

and yet I don't see people said the same thing about rallying.

Time Attack Fiend

Rally is technically not racing in the true sense of the word and a lot of rally drivers would absolutely struggle with high level wheel to wheel racing. It's a totally different craft. Having said that rally takes a tremendous more amount of skill than Time Attack.

TA is for nerds and dorks who want to geek out on being the "top tuner" as opposed to really testing their skills agains the competition. Real racing has been dead for a couple decades now. Men are very uncomfortable with competition these days as a result of testosterone being lowered -- something that is evident by a lot of Speed hunters content and comment sections.


A race is a contest of speed, rally and time attack are included in that. It is funny that you speak about a lack of testosterone and competition while sitting behind a keyboard lol


and yet the pinnacle of motorsport is mostly boring to watch now except for a few occasions. even the exciting parts are mostly at the midfield instead of at the front.


Excellent point. Same with TT motorcycle racing on the Isle of Mann.
But those are roped-off public roads and in some cases, they're just a single lane wide.
Whereas purpose built race tracks are designed specifically to have multiple cars, side-by-side.
I'm not criticizing Time Attack per se, just trying to understand it in the greater context of motorsports.
But I'd still like to see this R8 race side-by-side with other similar cars. ;)


Man this R8 Time Attack car gives me GRID vibes love seeing it in action