Audi Sportscar Experience: Driving the R8 at Nurburgring
I have been at it for almost the whole day. But there's something about the Yokohama-S that leads into the Mercedes Arena that I am just not getting. It's almost a hairpin bend that drops downhill, but that's not the tricky part; it's the straight that veers right preceding it which has me running wayward. I have tried turning in late to get a better drive out of the corner; I have tried turning in early and have almost run completely wide and into the gravel while doing so; I have even tried oversteering into the bend, but I simply can't manage to get the eight line to carry any decent speed into, through or out of the Yokohama -S.
The Sportscar experience includes driving at the Nurburgring GP track, the Autodrome in Dubai, and even at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps
Thankfully, it does seem that I have in fact got the rest of the Nurburgring GP track under control. I was managing the fast uphill Schumacher-S, the flat out Advan-Bogen right and even the slippery NGK-Schikane reasonably well, only missing apexes and running wide on a few occasions. But, I was most pleased with the way I was tackling the sharp but quick left hander that precedes the Warsteiner-Kurve.
The Audi V10 gets an intelligent all wheel drive system that needs to be exploited correctly
This turn 10 - a 90 degree left- is one of those corners that lures you into it, and then tightens in a strangling sort of way. If you don't read it right, panic sets in easily and early. And if you are driving something that has a 5.2-litre mid-mounted V10 with 525PS on tap and a 0-100kmph time of just 3.6s, everything just flies at you with tremendous velocity, especially fear.
Welcome to the Audi R8 V10 part of Audi's Sportcar experience. The latter is an event that Audi runs for its existing and prospective customers that involves driving on some of the best race tracks in the world at the helm of fast Audis including the R8. This includes driving at the Nurburgring GP track, the Autodrome in Dubai, and even at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
With a 5.2-litre mid-mounted V10 with 525PS on tap and a 0-100kmph time of just 3.6s, everything just flies at you with tremendous velocity, especially fear
As for the R8, well... all I can say is even though the Nurburgring GP track is wide, and at 5.148km reasonably long, behind the wheel of the R8 V10 driven at full chat, it shrinks. You always find yourself running out of road and the laps go by in a blink. It can be overbearing.
But, driven right, the R8 at this track can be hugely rewarding too. It gets an intelligent all wheel drive system that needs to be exploited correctly. Try too hard and it all falls apart, but play it right and both under and oversteer can be dealt with, and enjoyed. If you find yourself understeering into a corner for instance, lifting off the throttle or getting on the brakes progressively gets the car back in line in a jiffy.
Driven right, the R8 at this track is hugely rewarding
And if you do manage to get the tail out exiting a sharp and slow corner by getting onto the throttle too early, the R8 won't snap at you leaving you facing the other way or plastered onto the wall; it will instead drift progressively giving you enough time to catch it, correct it or simply continue with the slide. And it isn't exactly too tiring or too demanding to drive either; at least at my pace it wasn't.
Now, the Sportscar Experience at international locales costs in lakhs. However, if you want to get a similar experience for almost one third the price, this event is also held at Buddh and MMST tracks in our own backyard. The cars are the same, the circuits nearly as good, but the Indian outing does miss out on history.
Take the Nurburgring experience - it is expensive, sure, but then apart from driving flat out for nearly a whole day, you also get to stay in a hotel that literally shares its compound wall with that of the the race track's. Moreover, the hotel has a race prepped Mustang as its centre piece, posters all across reminding you of the glory days of racing, and ambient sounds which are filled with loud, brawny exhaust notes flowing relentlessly from outside - from both boy racers and full-fledged race cars. It's an experience that's impossible to reproduce.
Play it right and both under and oversteer in the R8 can be dealt with, and enjoyed
And then when you step out into your room's balcony with your morning cup of coffee and witness a formally dressed young couple in a new Porsche Carrera exiting a roundabout fully sideways, you just know you are in a special place.
Starts Rs 2.55 Crore
- Mahindra XUV500 to be discontinued, could return as two-row XUV700
- 2021 Hyundai Alcazar unveiled, engine details revealed
- Upcoming Mahindra XUV500 replacement to be called XUV700
- 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Limousine launched, prices start from Rs 39.90 lakh
- Comparison review: Renault Kiger vs Nissan Magnite vs MS Vitara Brezza vs Kia Sonet