Audi's R8 supercar may get a carbon-fibre chassis before the middle of this decade, with reports circulating that the next generation R8 will use a combination of carbon and aluminium in its construction instead of the present car's all-alloy frame.
Audi Chief Engineer Michael Dick is quoted as saying the 2014 Audi R8 will be around 100kg lighter than the current first-gen R8, yet will have up to 30 percent more torsional rigidity.
An easy way of dropping weight while retaining (or improving) rigidity is to use the increasingly popular material carbon fibre, which is already widely used in the automotive aftermarket, motorsports and aviation.
Audi's approach will reportedly use a combination of carbon fibre and aluminium.
The Lexus LFA utilises a similar carbon/alloy chassis(below), with its carbon fibre central structure bonded to alumium subframes at the front and rear.
The LFA also happens to weigh around 1500kg - roughly 100kg lighter than the V10-powered R8's 1620kg kerb weight, and just about right on Michael Dick's weight reduction target.
For the next R8 Audi can also tap into sister company Lamborghini's expertise with carbon fibre.
The recently launched Lamborghini Aventador is built around a carbon-fibre chassis, and with the current Audi R8 built around the Lamborghini Gallardo's aluminium chassis it's not hard to imagine further engineering tie-ins between the two companies.