We check out the first, Liberty Walk-kitted Audi R8 V10 to hit the streets of the UK…
Our Japanese chums have a glorious heritage of creating extreme bodykits. In the early-’90s, the likes of VeilSide and Erebuni produced kits for everything from MR2s to Supras, transforming them from mild to wild. But in recent years, the dudes from the Land of the Rising Sun have raised the bar, yet again.
Ever since Wataru Kato burst onto the scene, our newsfeeds have been bombarded with a relentless flow of jaw-dropping cars. From Porsches, to Lamborghinis, Liberty Walk has stamped its mark on pretty much every high-end car you can imagine. Ferrari 488? Yep. Lamborghini Aventador? Of course. McLaren 650S? You betcha!
Characterised by wide, riveted-on over fenders, you can spot a Liberty Walk car from half-a-mile away. They make a big impact, which is why Down & Out Customs and TED Motorsport, decided to create the UK’s first, Liberty Walk R8 V10.
“There were three of us involved with the project, but my job was to organise the parts and build the car,” says Chris Hazell, owner of Down & Out.
The kit itself took six weeks to arrive from Japan, but once it landed it was relatively straightforward to fit. “It was perfect. But I have to admit, cutting away the original arches of a V10 R8 was a bit scary,” smiles Chris. “Mind you, that wasn’t the worst bit. Having to drill a hole in the £4,000 carbon fibre rear spoiler, to accommodate the reversing camera, isn’t something you want to do every day!”
The job took around 12 weeks to complete, which gave Chris and the crew plenty of time to consider what colour to paint it. “In the end, we decided to go all black, to be different to all the other Liberty Walk cars out there – it’s a bit more subtle without all the stickers.” Well, as subtle as a big, black, wide arch R8 V10 can ever be.
Lovingly cared for with the very best from the Auto Finesse range, this thing has huge road presence. There’s just so much of it, all muscular curves and wide arches, that you struggle to take it all in at first. “People walk past it, then suddenly stop and turn around when they realise it’s not a regular R8.” The fact it’s decked on an AirREX setup, simply adds to the wow factor. The plug-and-play system, favoured by Liberty Walk, is simplicity itself and comes with everything ready to plumb in.
Pop the bonnet and you’ll find a neat air tank in the custom enclosure, which was designed specifically to slot into the R8’s narrow luggage compartment. The air system can be controlled by smartphone, allowing the R8 to be dropped over its wheels at will.
Clearly, a project of this calibre required some extra special rims, and Chris knew just who to turn to. “3SDM created a custom set of forged, 3.01 wheels just for this car,” he says. Not surprisingly, they fi t to perfection, although getting some rubber to stretch over the gargantuan 12.5×20-inch rears was tough. “We needed 325/25x20s, which limited our choice somewhat, but fortunately we found some Continentals, which are bang on.”
The 3SDMs have been treated to matt black anodised centres with gloss-black lips and feature gold hardware. Tucked up in those cavernous arches, they look killer.
Keen-eyed readers may spot the different front bumper – it’s from a 4.2 V8 R8. “We swapped in a V8 bumper as, I think, the intakes look better than the V10 version,” explains Chris. With the gloss-black grille and evil looking front splitter, it gives the R8 a proper snarl.
Talking of snarl, there’s a 5.2-litre V10 in the back, which produces a trouser worrying, 525bhp. It also sounds the tits, even though it’s been left stock. As Chris says, “There’s not really any need to tune it when it’s already making over 500bhp,” a fair point indeed.
Having seen the amazing reaction this R8 gets at shows, including a top award at last year’s Gravity event, it’s safe to say that Chris and his team have nailed it.
“It’s funny, but there haven’t really been any haters, which I wasn’t expecting,” he admits. It seems there’s a lot of love around for a big, bad V10 Audi that’s dripping with carbon fibre.
So what’s next for Chris and Down & Out? “I’m finishing my Datsun 280Z, then it’s onto a 1970s 911 Turbo, followed by a Tesla-powered R32 Skyline drift car,” smiles Chris. If this killer R8 is anything to go by, we can’t wait to see what he produces next. Top work, fella!
TECH SPEC: AUDI R8 V10
Full LB Performance Liberty Walk aero kit; comprising wide FRP over fenders; carbon-fibre rear wing; carbon-fibre front splitter; carbon fibre rear diffuser; carbon-fibre side diffusers; cared for with Auto Finesse products.
3SDM forged 3.01 FR series wheels with matt black anodised centres, gloss-black lips and gold hardware, 9x20in (f), 12.5x20in (r); Continental Sport Contact tyres, 245/30×20 (f) and 325/25×20 (r); AirREX air-ride kit.
Stock R8 V10 with full carbon pack.
5.2 FSI V10; 525bhp and 530Nm. 0-62mph: 3.9secs. Top speed: 196mph.
Down & Out Customs; Ted Motorsport; Liberty Walk LB Performance; 3SDM; Auto Finesse; AirREX; Glenn at FC for sorting the feature.
Words and photos Davy Lewis