Speed, handing, sound, pick up, but something weird happened when up shifting
Having owned a couple of TTS's, my first impressions when I finally got to jump into the driver's seat of the 5.2 litre R8 (which for some reason had the longest queue), was a little disappointing to see, starring back at me, the same steering wheel that I had recently thickened and replaced the leather in my car. But hey ho, I wasn't there to evaluate the smooth worn leather. On the track the R8 was great. Point it where you want and click! It handled the road and its new driver very well. The acceleration was swift but not brutal. The handling was firm but not jarring. The instructor, who was great, made sure I made the most of the track, the car and the laps, pushing me to push the car through the corners and hard down the straights. The breaks were shape and sure despite being kick all day long by the longest of the queues. 5 laps disappeared quickly and I enjoyed every moment of it...Almost! This would be right up there with the high fliers in not for one very annoying issue. The gearbox! I don't know whether this was a problem with this R8 or an issue with the R8 gearbox in general, but when pushing down the straight, I would hear "up a gear" from the instructor and I would click up. All good! But on up shift the power would get completely sucked out of the engine, my instructor would lung forward like the dash was made of ice-cream on a hot day, before the power would kick back in, throw the instructor back like he got a Bruce Lee 1 inch punch, and surge us forwards. It was very odd and very disrupting for the drive. Luckily we were not actually racing or timing otherwise I feel like I would have lost precious seconds on the up shift. Aside from this niggly bit, It was a great and fun car to drive, and I think could quick easily be a daily driver!
If I wasn't being kicked around by the up shifting, vacuum gearbox, I would say that this is a great car and would recommend from a daily drive and track day perspective. There are more accomplished cars (such as the 458 and Huracan), but these tend to sit in the hyper car sections and offer something even more special. But for now, the R8 is good and I will drive one again to verity the vacuum cleaner issue.