Audi R8 E-Tron caught lapping at the Nürburgring

Imagine you're a spy shooter at the Nürburgring. You've got your ancient Ford Scorpio parked nearby, but you've hoofed it up to the top of a hill in the hopes of getting the perfect angle on the track. Three heavy cameras are strung about your body like you're a contestant in The World's Strongest Man competition. It's early and you are tired. And cold. The morning temperature was in the single digits Celsius, and while you're not exactly sure what that translates to in the Fahrenheit scale, this certainly ain't Miami.

Your job is boring. Boy racers driving all manner of would-be performance cars squeal by, inexpertly holding a line that betrays their inexperience. "Go back to your video games, kids," you think as you nurse your cramped and sore legs. You shift your position and the wait resumes. Sport bikes zip by and the wail hurts your ears. You get up and stretch before resuming your regimen. A momentary break in the traffic causes you to do a mental rehearsal, double-checking your gear.

Then you hear it: The tires, disembodied from the roar of an engine, but creating their own telltale sound. You reach for the camera with the longest lens and barely get it up to your eye as the electric sports car whooshes towards you, followed by the loud rumble of something more internally combusted. The camera is now firing on all cylinders as you expertly track the car's pace for the few seconds it's in your field of vision. A Porsche enters the viewfinder and you exhale, lowering the camera and turning your back to the track.

The Audi R8 E-Tron will take just one lap of the Nürburgring that day, but you were there to capture it. It may not surface again before it goes on sale next year, but you don't care about that. You need to hustle back to the car to download the images, so the world can see what an R8 without exhaust pipes looks like, so the fanboys can obsess about the extra cooling vents in the hood for the batteries and the blacked-out rear window.

You will e-mail the photos across the Continent, across the ocean, back home. You'll get a few bucks deposited in your German bank for your trouble, but that won't happen for a while yet. By then you will have taken more photos and sent more e-mails.

And drank countless lagers. It is still early, but you think of the cliche about it being noon somewhere and head off home. Nobody will be in your favorite expat bar at this time, but you think there must be at least one bottle left in your refrigerator.