The Audi R8 is based on the Audi Le Mans Quattro concept car, so its aggressive sporty design is hardly surprising! Using the Audi trademark permanent all-wheel drive system and based on the Lamborghini Gallardo platform, the R8 literally screams ‘race me’! In fact, 24 Hours Le Mans winner, Jacky Ickx, declared it ‘the best handling road car today’. Little wonder then, that since its launch at the Paris Auto Show in September 2006, its popularity has gripped top spots as firmly as the quattro system grips the road!
In 2012, the R8 was given a facelift and some engineering modifications. The hand-welded aluminium space frame received a carbon fibre centre tunnel, firewall and B-pillars, which, along with a few other tweaks has stiffened the body structure by 40% over the previous version, whilst making it 15% lighter. In fact, the R8 PLUS shares half of its components with the R8 LMS racing car. The PLUS is distinguishable from the regular R8 by the carbon fibre rear fixed wing (rather than a pop-up aerofoil), along with matching carbon fibre door mirrors, side blades and diffuser and cross-drilled, ventilated carbon-fibre-reinforced composite ceramic brakes. Just as well, as with 610bhp delivered from a 5.2 litre naturally aspirated engine, the R8 sees 0-60 disappear in a mere 2.9 seconds!
This customers R8 arrived at UF’s Brands Hatch Detailing Studio for Paintwork Correction, complete with ‘Platinum’ sealant upgrade using Kamikaze Collection ENREI, a two stage state-of-the-art ceramic coating that delivers incredible gloss, inhibits contamination from adhering to surfaces and protects from industrial and environmental fallout. The owner also specified Alloy Wheel Protection, Leather Protection and for a glass sealant to be applied. In addition, the driver’s door had received a ‘public car park injury’ which required specialist attention.
Although the R8 is unquestionably a supercar, it is also designed to be driven regularly. As a result, protecting the paintwork and wheels from the build-up of potentially harmful contamination is essential in order to preserve the overall appearance and in turn, its potential resale value. ENREI provides a swirl-resistant, hydrophobic and oleophobic barrier that also protects from UV fade. As it’s virtually impervious to extremes of pH, ENREI also protects from acid rain etching and damaging chemicals picked up from wet and wintry roads. – Derek Ginger, Master Detailer, UF Detailing Studio
Prior to the paintwork being fully assessed, the R8 required thorough decontamination and cleaning to remove dirt, road grime, tree sap and bug remains along with some water spot residues and brake dust particles.
First, the R8 was treated for iron particles. These harmful elements are usually derived from brake pads and although the R8 has ceramic brakes, it could have collected this type of contamination from cars around it whilst driving. Left in place, iron particles will rapidly begin to oxidise and swell, potentially causing pitting in the lacquered surface. Bilt-Hamber Korrosol, a dedicated iron remover contains an active ingredient which shrinks the iron particles, causing them to break their bond and allowing them to be easily rinsed away.
The R8 was then degreased using a solution of Bilt-Hamber Surfex HD. Particular attention was paid to the bonnet, boot and door catches, natural traps for grease and dirt. The wheel arches were also cleaned using Surfex HD to ensure any road grime residues were removed. The 19″ matt titanium alloy wheels were cleaned using Wheel Woolies, long-handled wheel brushes with a variety of head sizes, the better for fitting through the intricate wheel design and reaching through to the back of the rim.
Ultimate Snow Foam was applied to the bodywork and wheels, the thick foam lifting larger particles of dirt and grit away from the surface of the vehicle. This helps to prevent incurring swirls in the paint finish when a wash mitt is used. The first application of foam was rinsed away before a second was applied and used as a lubricant for a clay mitt. These mitts shear stubbornly bonded contamination away from the surface of the paint to leave a silky smooth finish. After rinsing again, the R8 was washed using the Two Bucket Method, an Ulti-Mitt Double-Sided Merino Wool Wash Mitt and Nanolex Pure Shampoo. Once completely clean, the suds were rinsed away before the water spot marks were treated using Kamikaze Collection Water Spot Remover. This gently dissolves the deposits without affecting the integrity of the clear coat. Lastly, an Aqua Gleam De-ionising Water Filter was attached in-line with a hose to deliver a final, pure water rinse, preventing water spot marks recurring.
After careful drying using ultra-soft microfibre towels, the R8 was brought into the studio for close inspection under high-intensity lighting.
Some of the paintwork defects, such as the dent in the door panel, were immediately obvious. There were some deep scratches that were also prominent. The lighting did reveal a myriad of swirls which otherwise would have been tricky to see and to assess fully. You really only want to use the least aggressive pad and compound combination possible to remove the defects, so being able to gauge how severe the damage, is absolutely essential. – Derek Ginger, Master Detailer, UF Detailing Studio
Before any machine polishing could be carried out, the ‘ding’ in the aluminium door required Paintless Dent Removal (PDR). The repair is carried out without the need for any filling or painting using a method that manipulates the dents out of the damaged surface, restoring the panel to ‘as new’.
After assessing the damage, the product selection for the correction was made taking into account the consistency of the paint. As is typical for many German automotive manufacturers, the paintwork on the Audi was relatively hard. The initial correction process was carried out using Menzerna Heavy Cut Compound 400. Menzerna is a German product range designed with scratch-resistant clear coats in mind and has proven highly effective at removing random deep scratches (RDS). The filler-free formulation means a true result is delivered, with minimal drop back and the diminishing abrasive particles break down to leave the surface ready for refining, eliminating the necessity for a polishing stage.
The scratches were significant – some I could eliminate using a FLEX Orange Heavy Cutting Pad, others were eliminated more quickly by using a Flexipad Microfibre Cutting Pad. I used a RUPES BigFoot Duetto to better concentrate the cutting action. The smaller throw of the Duetto also makes dealing with contoured surfaces easier than using a machine polisher with a larger throw. – Derek Ginger, Master Detailer, UF Detailing Studio
To refine the paintwork, a FLEX PE14-2-150 Rotary Machine Polisher was used with a 3M PERFECT-IT III Black Polishing Pad and SCHOLL Concepts S40 Anti-Swirl Compound. This left the Ara Blue crystal finish paintwork with a high gloss shine, ready for final protecting.
After misting the bodywork with a solution of Gtechniq Panel Wipe and carefully buffing off to remove any polish residues that might interfere with the sealant, ENREI No.1 Base Primer Coat was applied. This provides a uniform base for the top coat to adhere to, ensuring maximum protection and the highest possible gloss. After allowing the base coat to cure for around 2 hours the No.2 Top Surface Coat was applied.
The secret to the performance of ENREI is not only in its formulation, where it combines the most cutting edge German and Japanese technologies, but also in the application method. A specific suede applicator cloth is used, the short fibres better impart the coating onto the surface, rather than absorbing it into the material, helping to lay down an even layer. The procedure for applying the coating is quite specific and detailers have to be trained by Kamikaze Collection in order to offer ENREI as a service. The application method directly impacts the durability, swirl and pH resistance of the coating, so getting it right is imperative. Additionally, the ambient temperature and humidity must be controlled to ensure optimum curing and ultimately, optimum performance. – Derek Ginger, Master Detailer, UF Detailing Studio
Whilst ENREI was curing, the alloy wheels were protected using Kamikaze Collection Stance Rim Coat. Specifically formulated to withstand the unique challenges faced by wheels, Stance Rim Coat is virtually impervious to extremes of pH, is highly heat resistant so will not burn off when the wheels become hot. Water, oils, road grime, chemicals and salts are all inhibited from adhering to the hydrophobic, oleophobic surface, making treated wheels easier to keep clean.
To preserve the appearance of the leather interior, Colourlock Mild Leather Cleaner was used to remove dirt and oil residues which build up quickly. Once clean, the leather was protected using Colourlock Leather Shield. This provides a hydrophobic barrier, helping to protect against stains from accidental spillages, as well as abrasion and UV-induced colour fading. As the R8 is driven on a daily basis, Kamikaze Collection Intenso Window Coat was applied. This creates a hydrophobic barrier that encourages rainwater to roll into beads on contact, allowing them to be easily blown away whilst driving even at relatively low speeds. The slick formulation does not cause irritating wiper judder but allows the blades to slip easily over the treated surface.
Fully protected, the R8 looked absolutely stunning, and with its ENREI coating, the Ara Blue crystal finish paintwork really did sparkle!