As the bright sun skips over the horizon to eclipse the skies at the Madras Motor Racing Track, a dazzling yellow Audi R8 V10 shines brightly at the pits. Yes, we at CarWale's annual track day event are going to set the racing lines on fire to check out the lap-time this track oriented supercar clocks.
What makes it special?
Apart from the “sell-all- your-assets- to-buy” looks, the R8 V10 shares Lamborghini Huracan’s carbon/aluminium framework, a prodigious naturally aspirated 5.2-litre mid-ship mounted V10, twin clutch seven-speed gearbox and the acclaimed Quattro all-wheel- drive system. Plus, it’s decked up with a large carbon-fibre rear wing, lots of carbon inserts inside-out, and carbon-ceramic brake rotors. When it came to us for a review way back in 2016, we terrorized the highways and surprisingly got away with not being arrested. Not to forget that we returned to the CarWale headquarters with a smile plastered so wide, that brushing our teeth wasn’t a chore for the following week.
From the driver’s seat, exquisite tools centric to the driver, such as changing the driving dynamics, motor start-up and engine sound can be accessed from the steering wheel. And talking about start- up, the large red ‘start’ button cranks the giant V10 motor with a psychotic rev that instantly wakes up the entire locality.
What I think it can do?
With so much power and leech-like gripping capability, we know that the R8 will be a real stonker. With close to 610 horses on a tight leash, there’s more than enough grunt to propel it to ridiculous speeds, while the Quattro, ceramic brakes and fat Michelins allow it to shoot around bends. I clearly remember the telepathic manner in which the steering behaved in my last experience, so I expect it to live up to that trait to deliver the nimble behaviour required of a supercar. While nailing the racing line, of course.
The track test
Rayomand Banajee set out in this extreme machine and came back to the pit lane with a huge grin. He stated that the bunch of electronics on this car allows it to stick to the intended line around bends with minimal slack. This inadvertently gives the driver immense confidence to push the limits and extract some quick lap times. We pulled out the data from our VBox and it confirmed that Rayomand lapped the MMRT in 1:54.42 seconds, the fastest lap time recorded at the 2018 CarWale track day.
Time for me to feel the R8’s wrath now. I cannoned into C2 off the pit lane like Thor struck his hammer, and winded up doing the corner like it was a joke. This of course gave me the strength (and adrenaline) to go faster around C3 which was also conquered relatively easily. However, it kept ringing in the back of my head, and will sound crazy to you, that the ride quality was so much plusher than the brutal Ameo cup car. Yes, despite being a thorough race-track bred car.
While at it, the R8 gripped the road like it had some adhesive prank up its sleeve and much of that credit goes to the trick Quattro AWD which shoves more torque to the rear when the front-end begins to break free. As I floored the throttle while exiting C3 and thundered down the long stretch that leads into C4, my lifelong achievements flashed in my brain-ware threatening to end abruptly.
And almost instantaneously, I braked more than required in an effort to regain psychic strength. Now, with less pace than intended carried into the bend, I ended up understeering through C4 and C5! Yes, you heard it right. But I devilishly smiled at myself. “So it’s geared to understeer when taken easy and oversteer when pushed to the limit”, I told myself. Knowing what to do next, I immediately weaved my right foot to attack the long C6 and C7 so that I can swiftly apply what I just absorbed. “Be more aggressive”, I told myself all throughout the long curve as I accelerated briskly thanks to the confidence I gathered.
And by now, my pride-swollen chest was so large I could give a bouncer a run for his money. But I hadn’t much time to revel over this, and before I knew it, I was shuttling towards C8 which I knew was tricky curve since it gets tighter real quick towards the exit. Despite my heart pounding away, I mustered some courage to gas it and the R8 immediately obliged with a tinge of extra tyre squeal before clearing C9 in a hurry on to the straight once again.
As I approach my most challenging C10 “the bowl”, my conscience makes an evil plot. With so much grip, AWD traction and a steering that performs best when pushed, why not stick to the inner apex and not go wide? So, I gather whatever’s left of my guts from who-knows- where, and throw the R8 on the inside of the entire C10. It turns, turns, grips, turns, grips, and then suddenly, what I never expected happened. The rear broke free! Of course, in a split second the electronics reeled it back into formation, but it was a revelation while it lasted. If you think we headed to the pits after this, you’re wrong!
I instinctively relayed to our shutter bug Kapil Angane that we again should go around the C10 for a clearer shot, and Kapil gladly obliged. Both of us enjoyed going about our so-called jobs, getting drenched in our own adrenaline, and listening to the V10 singing away in the background. Big boss Vikrant Singh sniffed out the ongoing high-decibel drama from the pit-lane and eventually showed up to find out what we were up to. But by then, we were just about done. Or were we?
After giving a thumbs-up to Kapil for the extravagant shots, I had another go at the entire track. Just so that I could flap the paddles to drop the gears, and watch the V10 redline at a fabulous 8500rpm through the virtual cockpit with that glorious soundtrack. I think I’m addicted, and by far ecstatic. Hope you enjoyed reading this track review, and do relish the shots.
Pictures by Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi