The first Audi R8 sports car to be sold in the U.S. will be auctioned off at the 15th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation party to celebrate the Academy Awards. All proceeds will be donated to EJAF to support its work in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This marks the second year in a row Audi has teamed up with the EJAF to auction off a vehicle during the party. Two Audi Q7 models sold for a combined $280,000 last year.

Bidding for the first Audi R8 will start at $100,000. Bids can be placed live by attendees at the viewing party, over the telephone, by proxy, or at anytime between now and the end of the auction at eBay Live Auctions (www.ebayliveauctions.com). The live auction is being conducted that evening by Jamie Niven, Vice Chairman of Sotheby’s and is being hosted online by Julian’s Auctions based in West Hollywood. The winning bidder will take delivery in July and have the distinction of owning the first R8 sports car in North America, well before the planned launch in fall of this year. Final pricing for the R8 has not been set for North America, but the comprehensively equipped car being auctioned is expected to retail between $130,000-$150,000 (U.S.).

Audi recently concluded an auction on eBay for a one-day test drive of the all-new R8. The winning bid was for $12,601, all of which is donated to EJAF. On February 24th, the winner and one guest will get to experience the abilities of the R8 on the track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, then spend the rest of the day testing the R8 on public roads in the scenic Valley of Fire. They will then have the opportunity to attend the EJAF Academy Awards Viewing Party on February 25th.

The R8 is Audi’s first mid-engine sports car. It incorporates everything Audi knows about motorsport into a production vehicle. With a 420 hp 4.2-liter V8 engine and light weight Audi Space Frame (ASF®) technology, the R8 can accelerate from 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds. Power is delivered by Audi’s legendary quattro® all-wheel drive system through a six-speed manual transmission, or Audi’s new R tronic sequential gearbox. Even though the two-seat R8 is a highly capable sports car, it’s still an Audi. The passenger cabin is luxuriously appointed, spacious, quiet, and can even fit two golf bags behind the front seats. The R8 will be in dealerships starting in fall of 2007.

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