America’s first Audi TT RS has found a home with a seasoned race car driver and long-time Audi enthusiast Don Istook. The model is the first RS sold in the States since the RS4 ended its short U.S. run in 2008 thanks to a successful Facebook petition campaigned by Audi of America.
In addition to being one of the fans that signed the Facebook petition earlier this year, Istook’s involvement with the Audi brand goes back to 1985, when he became one of the first Americans to race the original Quattro. From there, he went on to race S4s in the Motorola Cup, now the Grand-Am Continental Sports Car Challenge series. Most recently, Istook competed in the SSCA Continental Challenge and the SCCA World Challenge pro series in an Audi TT.
“Having raced at almost every major track in the U.S. and Canada, I’ve pushed the limits in many cars in my 34 years as a race car driver,” Istook said in a press release. “I like my street car to give me some of that thrill.”
The hotter TT RS’ thrill is made possible by a turbocharged, direct-injected 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine producing 360 hp and 343 lb-ft of torque, along with an RS-specific suspension and Quattro all-wheel drive. The road-going TT may not appear as aggressive as its racing counterpart, but the TT RS’ fixed rear wing, rear diffuser, and 19-inch alloy wheels give it a look that appeals to at least one race car driver.
Ringing up at $57,725, the 2012 Audi TT RS may not exactly be a bargain. But being a diehard Audi enthusiast, Istook made sure he was at the front of the line when it came time to reserve his RS. Istook has even agreed to keep the TT RS at the dealership, Fort Worth Audi in Texas, so that fans and customers can get a look at it before he takes his latest purchase home and puts it through its paces.
“It reminds me of the mid-‘80s when we raced the original five-cylinder turbo Audi Quattro,” Istook said of the TT RS’ performance. “What is great, though, is that I get all of that, yet I have the refinement, sophistication, and technology of a truly modern sports car.”
Audi doesn’t plan on ending the RS legacy with the TT, having pledged to follow up with an RS5 for U.S. consumption next year. If that car’s performance is held to the same standard as the TT RS, an RS5 should have no problem finding a fan base in the U.S.