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The head of Audi Sport says he is “fighting” to keep the naturally aspirated V10 engine alive for the next-generation R8 after rumours suggested the supercar would switch to some sort of electric power.

Speaking to Autocar, Audi Sport managing director Oliver Hoffmann suggested a decision on the third-generation R8’s powertrain had yet to be made.

“The V10 is an icon and a USP within the segment. With the current R8, our customers love this car.

“We are fighting for the V10, but it’s more or less a question of ICE [internal combustion engine] or electrification, and which kind of engine is useful for it,” he said.

Hoffmann went on to point out Lamborghini – one of Audi’s sister brands in the Volkswagen Group – would also be keen to retain the free-breathing 5,2-litre V10 unit.

“Lamborghini has to have a naturally aspirated engine; no other brand stands for NA like Lamborghini.

“We are working very close with the guys from Sant’Agata. The only way to develop such kinds of cars is to share the cost for development work and to have a very, very tough platform strategy.

“The Lamborghini Huracán is based on the R8 platform, and this helps us – together with Lamborghini, with Porsche, with all the sporty brands in our group – to share the development costs.”

Interestingly, Hoffman added a “more extreme” version of the current-generation R8 was on the cards, saying “we have some good ideas”.

“We know the powerful exterior design of our racing car is amazing. People want to drive this on the street,” he said.

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