So what was happening?
Audi makes a range of cars available for a wide spectrum of buyers. However at the very premium end of things, Audi also makes some fantastic sportscars that are every enthusiasts dream and some lucky owner’s pride and joy. So for those lucky few who own or are considering to own these exotic beauties, Audi conducts the Sportscar Experience at the racetrack. Now in its 7th year, the experience has over 2000 happy participants. The Sportscar Experience showcased Audi’s entire performance range which included the S5 Sportback, RS5 Coupe, RS6 Avant, RS7 Performance and the ballistic R8 V10 plus.
And it’s not just driving fast around the track, the Audi Sportscar Experience also includes dynamic training modules with internationally acclaimed instructors where one can actually learn to handle the powerful machines in ideal racing conditions. Apart from the Buddh circuit in India, the experience also happens internationally at race tracks in Barcelona, the famed Nurburgring, EuroSpeedway Lausitz, Salzburgring, Dubai and Spa, Belgium.
Carwale was invited to be a part of the program that was recently conducted at the Buddh International Circuit and boy were we in for a treat.
The beasts unleashed…
We immediately began by taking the cars for some quick laps. First up we got into the brilliant new RS5 which we recently reviewed and you can read about it here. Standing next to the astonishing R8, the RS5 might look a little mundane, but on its own there is no denying its sportscar pedigree be it the looks or the performance. Thanks to the 450bhp, 2.9-litre V6 bi-turbo TFSI motor and a humongous 600Nm of torque, there is absolutely no dearth of power even for a long and wide race track like the Buddh International Circuit.
The first lap was a sighting lap, where we were shown the braking and turning points and where we get accustomed to the car. The next lap is where you can kind of experience what the car is really capable of. The lead car in the front sort of limits how much you can explore but then it’s a necessary dampener to avoid other drivers of going into the gravel or the wall. Set in Dynamic mode, the RS5 is simply explosive as you mash the throttle coming out of the corner.
This is also one of the few very very fast cars where one can turn off the traction control because it comes with ‘quattro’ as your guardian angel. While most all-wheel drives are under-steery in nature, the RS5 is not shy to get its tail out as you hustle it through the corners. The power distribution though immediately sends power to the front wheels stabilizing the car in a jiffy. A very accurate steering, tons of grip and plenty of power to play with, the RS5 is the perfect combo luxury and goose-bump inducing performance.
With the RS5 done, getting into the R8 feels more like getting into the cockpit of a fighter jet. Tightly hugging seats and extremely low slung, one needs to be fit to get in and out of this hyper-car. But once in, you fit in so well that the car literally feels like an extension of your body. Fire up the R8, and the 10-cylinder bark immediately tells you this isn’t your average sportscar. There was still a quarter tank showing the fuel gauge, but Audi India’s instructor and race driver Aditya Patel still asked us to keep an eye out even though we were just going to be out for two laps, such is the viciousness of this 10-cylinder engine to guzzle fuel.
610 PS, 560 Nm and a top speed in excess of 330 kmph, the R8 simply overwhelms you with its power and grip. Everything happens so quickly that it’s just a blur. Mashing the throttle, the R8 digs in and shoves you hard into the seat. With the speedo showing north of 250 kmph, it’s time to drop the anchors but such is the ferocity of the brakes that you slow down in no time at all and you realise you could have braked much much later. While the RS5 being way less brutal is relatively easier to take to the limits, the R8 is way more focused and a very serious piece of kit that you simply ‘cannot’ play around with.
The R8 grips like a leech around corners and by the time you are done, your body internals feel like they have been shuffled. The instructor in the lead car kept instructing on the radio in a bid to improve the racing lines, however two laps are way too short to really make a big improvement. That aside, just experiencing the R8 in all its glory makes sure you are grinning ear to ear once you are done.
Slalom and Handling
The other experience involved a very short slalom and handling course set up with a bunch of cones. While the track was extremely tight and compact, the cars we were driving were anything but. The RS6 Avant and the RS7 Performance not only offer mind-boggling performance but are also massively big cars and to drive them around this tight course was going to be a task.
Going with the Estate first and the ESP switch off, the RS6 literally defies physics with the way it handles. A part of the track which had the U-turn was on concrete and that is where the car struggled for traction and we had to really baby it before flooring it for the slalom cones ahead. With a best time of the group in the first run, we were looking confident for the second run in the RS7, however, being a little over-enthusiastic we managed to knock off a few cones and got penalized for the same.
Summing it up
The Audi Sportscar Experience serves as an excellent base for customers to experience what their cars are capable off in a safe and fast environment. Not only that, but there is also a lot of learning to be done thanks to the expert level instructors available at hand. In fact we at Carwale loved it so much that we can’t wait to be a part of the next Sportscar experience.