Las Vegas, NV – The convention center in Las Vegas is big. Really big. Forget what you think about the car culture and it proximity to sin city’s casinos, gentlemen’s clubs and the like. The fact of the matter is that the Las Vegas convention center is probably the only facility in the USA big enough to host a convention like the SEMA Show.
SEMA stands for Specialty Equipment Manufacturers of America and said like that it all sounds a little boring. Tell someone you’re going to a convention for specialty manufacturers and they may likely be asleep before you tell them anymore. Tell them that you’re going to SEMA though, and you’ll get a knowing smile… at least a smile from anybody with any sense of automotive awareness.
SEMA is mecca for the car aftermarket industry. You can call it a car show, but it’s not really. Unlike most auto shows, there are no press days, no days for the public… though this by no means suggest there is a lack of either on the floor of the show. The main point of SEMA is for manufacturers of parts and components within the industry to show off their latest wares for buyers and distributors of such goods. All that being said, this is the industry of the automotive aftermarket and as such, every booth, hallway, sidewalk, nook or cranny is populated by some of the coolest custom built cars you’ll ever see. Whole projects, like our sister website’s VWvortex Project Super Beetle, are built with this show in mind. Other highly visible cars from every existing segment also come out. Whole show halls are dedicated to wheels and tires, electronics or trucks and offroad.
Consider Audi’s place in the general automotive market and aftermarket and you can take a guess as to the presence of its cars at SEMA. With so many built muscle cars, hot rods, trucks, imports, low riders and more, you’ll have to search out the Audis… but when you do you’ll be blown away by what you find. We did and here are a few highlights.
034 Motorsport Audi TT SP4T VLN Race Car
Last year, Audi Sport customer racing branched out from its production of solely the R8 LMS with the addition of the TT RS-based car to race in the SP4T class at the Nurburgring and in the German VLN series. Thus far, none of these cars have made it over to the USA though that has now changed. California-based 034 Motorsport has now acquired one of these cars and plans to debut it in competition at next-month’s 25 Hours of Thunder Hill. Best of luck guys! > MORE INFORMATION
AccuAir Audi A4 Avant
One of the most interesting new Audis at SEMA was both new to the scene and new in general. The car you see here began life as a 2013 A4 allroad, though it’s been highly modified to say the least. Representing AccuAir air suspensions and Audison audio, the car looked more RS-car than allroad.
As you can see, the bodywork modification was extensive. Arch-flared fenders take on more of a B5 RS 4 look than the box flares of the current RS 4 in Europe, and they were reportedly made of steel and welded in! The chin and grille looked more like the current RS appearance, while at the rear the car had an S4 lower valance. Inside, installation of both the air suspension from AccuAir and the substantially upgraded audio from Audison made for a very complete package. < MORE HERE
AMF R8 Spyder
Another four-ringed star in the wheel and tire hall at SEMA was this red R8 Spyder on the stand of AMF Forged wheels. Fitted with a titanium split 5-spoke wheel, the car grabbed plenty of attention.
AWOL.tv Audi RS 4 Avant
Another RS 4 to benefit from a recent color change is this B5 RS 4 owned by AWOL.tv creator J.J. Larson. The car started life as a B5 S4 Avant, and has evolved from a project car on Fourtitude, to an often-changing demonstrator and show asset for AWOL.tv. Its latest iteration with Aston Martin burgundy metallic paint and BBS wheels make the car one very classic representative of the stanced air suspension sect.
CEC Audi S7
Audi’s latest round of new S-cars has just barely hit the market, so you might have expected at least one to show up at SEMA. Credit goes to CEC wheels who brought out this S7, fitted with the company’s 21-inch c882 forged wheels with anthracite and machined finish – a look that is decidedly OE+, bearing a strong resemblance to Audi’s own latest RS wheel design.
To further tailor the appearance of their S7 display car, CEC blacked out elements like the car’s aluminum brightwork and roof panel, and also wrapped the rest of the car in a matte white finish for a stunning look. < MORE HERE
Concept One Audi A7
California-based wheel seller Concept One included the Audi A7 as part of their display in SEMA’s wheel and tire hall. The silver Sportback featured the company’s CS-10.0 Executive Edition wheel in matte silver machined finish.
A staple at the SEMA Show is the usual outside display by DUB. Always good for some of the most oppulent and often outrageous, the DUB zone also featured this tastefully built Audi A8. White exterior with black finished wheels is an aggressive look for the big A8, and well paired with gloss-black grille, blackened brightwork and the Hofele SR8 front fascia with distinctly OE RS-car look.
Eisenmann Spark Eight R8
The last R8 we found on display at SEMA was this two-tone silver coupe. Sporting Forgiato wheels, one of the most notable companies featured on the car was German exhaust manufacturer Eisenmann and their Spark 8 body kit with single exit exhaust. < MORE HERE
GMG Audi R8 Le Mans 780 Twin Turbo Wide Body
Global Motorsports Group caused a bit of confusion with this custom R8 displayed at the Hankook Tire booth. Though GMG currently owns and campaigns two Audi R8 LMS racers in the World Challenge series, this particular carbon-bodied R8 is not one of those.
What you see here is GMG’s own V10 Twin Turbo ‘Le Mans’ 780 development car. The name 780 designates 780 horsepower on 91 Octane fuel. Beyond that the car has a 4130 chromoly safety cage, dual Sparco racing seats and carbon fiber widened bodywork. The car also rolls on GMG WC-GT Monoblock alloys painted in eye-catching orange and fitted with Hankook Ventus V12 evo rubber.
GMG Audi RS 5 World Challenge Package
With a nod to their participation in the World Challenge racing series with two R8 LMS racers, Global Motorsports Group has introduced a tuning package for the RS 5 bearing the name of the series. The package includes springs and sway bars made for GMG exclusively by Eibach. This car also featured GMG 130R Monoblock alloys and Pirelli tires, naturally, as it was a feature car at the Pirelli stand. < MORE HERE
GMG Audi S4 Competition
This season Global Motorsports Group is campaigning two R8 LMS racers, and this car is an early predecessor. Now owned by GMG, this B5 S4 racer and its twin (now owned by Audi of America) were campaigned by Champion Racing years ago.
H&R Audi A7
German suspension manufacturer H&R is always a great place to start the SEMA Show. Located just inside the doors on the way into the main hall, you can bet the company will have something cleanly built and likely Euro starring on their stage. This A7 3.0 TFSI didn’t disappoint.
Modifications to the car were kept relatively subtle by SEMA standards, though we think they maybe just about perfect. The most obvious change was a lower stance thanks to installation of H&R’s own hardware to replace the stock suspension. The change became even more magnified with the addition of 21-inch rotor alloys that are now available in the States as an option on the S8. > MORE HERE
Rennen Forged R8
Yet another R8 on display for a wheel company was this red coupe from Rennen Forged. Fitted with a set of black M10 alloys, this R8 was parked outside the Las Vegas Convention Center and was also promoting Meisterschaft exhuasts.
Rotiform Audi RS 4 Sedan
On display in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s North Hall, this RS 4 belongs to Brian Henderson. It’s actually been seen before in gloss black representing Rotiform, the company that Henderson co-owns. For SEMA, the car took on a different look, complete with matte orange wrap and new Lamborghini Diablo-inspired Rotiform DIA wheels.
Underground Racing R8 GT Biturbo
As if the Audi R8 GT isn’t intense enough, North Carolina-based Underground Racing has taken the most extreme R8 ever made one or two steps further. The company’s matte red R8 GT coupe was on display at the Nitto Stand in Las Vegas. Of course the car wore Nitto Invo tires on HRE monoblock wheels, but the real news here was their Stage 3 biturbo application with 1200 hp available on pump fuel. > MORE HERE
Editor’s Note: Regarding SEMA, we’ve done our best to compile a comprehensive list of Audi-interest sights from this year’s SEMA Show. To compliment this, we’ve also run PR content from the various manufacturers who focused on Audi at this event. Note links, where applicable, under each car or check out our SEMA Show Section and SEMA Show Photo Gallery for more information.