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VIDEO: Top Gear races the Audi R8 V10 vs Caterham 620S

Launching the Audi R8 V10 Plus is about as easy as using a Keurig coffee machine. You simply press a few buttons, wait but a moment and you’re at 60 mph. It’s actually sort of ridiculous, just how fast and easy the Audi R8 is to launch. The Caterham 620s? Not so easy.

If you don’t know what the Caterham 620S is, it’s basically a tiny little rocket. Caterham is a small British sports car company that makes extremely small, lightweight sports cars that have the look and feel of old, classic British sports cars like the Lotus 7. Well, the look and feel but not the speed, as the faster Caterhams are incredibly quick. With big power and extremely low weight, Caterhams sport better power/weight ratios than some supercars. But you really have to drive a Caterham, as they use manual transmissions, or sometimes sequential manuals, and power only their rear wheels. So to launch one, you need a good clutch foot and some proper skill.

So what happens when you race the fastest Caterham on the market, the 620S, against one of the fastest launching cars in the world, the Audi R8 V10 Plus? Top Gear finds out.

In a proper Germany vs Britain drag race, they pit Sabine Schmitz against Rory Reid, representing their respective countries. Sabine has the easy work of launching the incredibly high-tech, powerful and electronic Audi R8 V10 Plus. Rory has the difficult task of launching the Caterham 620S, which is like a tiny raging bull.

The Caterham 620S makes 310 hp from its 2.0 liter supercharged Ford Duratec engine and only weighs 610 kg (1,344 lbs), so it can scoot from 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds. That claimed time is faster than the R8’s, but that probably requires a race-prepped surface and many, many tries. Against the 610 hp V10-powered Audi R8, which can get from 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds as well (as tested by Motor Trend), the Caterham seems like a worthy adversary. However, in the real world, things are a bit different.

When the race starts, the Audi R8’s four-wheel traction helps it fire off the line with velocity the rear-wheel drive Caterham can’t match. It gains a lead almost immediately that it never reliquishes. While the Caterham 620S is fast and gets pretty close, the Audi R8 V10 Plus decidedly wins this race.

CategoriesR8 Video
Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.