There are certain things you experience in life that are quite difficult to put into words. For instance, driving a supercar around a racetrack. And I recently got a chance to do just that around the Buddh International Circuit at the helm of the new Audi R8 V10 Plus. That and a touch of some sideways action in an Audi RS6. You see, every now and then, Audi India, as part of the Audi Driving Experience, gathers all of its performance cars and gives media personnel and prospective customers a taste of what these machines are capable of. For the Audi R8 India test drive review, we went to the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida. Read on as I try to put my experience behind the wheels of these brilliant, slightly “off their hinges” Audis into words.
Kicking off proceedings was a small briefing by Audi LMS Cup Racer Aditya Patel explaining a few basics regarding on track driving. A small presentation and a couple of signatures later we were all set to head out onto the track. I spent the first three laps riding shotgun with a fellow auto journo. As he concentrated hard on nailing the lap, I made a mental note of the braking, turn in and acceleration points. Three quick laps and a mildly unsettling moment of fish tailing later it was finally my turn to get behind the wheel.
The Buddh International Circuit features a beautiful long straight that comes up a couple of corners after the start. Brake, turn in, exit the corner and give it the beans were the instructions. I found myself sinking deep into the seat as the R8 quickly sped up to 250 kmph+. The thing is, doing 250 in an arrow straight piece of tarmac doesn’t feel like it until the time you start braking for the next corner. You can sense the massive carbon ceramics working and the on board electronics fighting to keep the car straight as it squirms under braking. For the record, the Audi R8 V10 Plus is capable of doing 330 km/h!
A short straight leads up to what is probably my favourite bit of the track. A couple of chicanes followed by a beautiful curve that comprises turns 10, 11 and 12 at the south end of the track. Getting it right isn’t very easy, but I was satisfied with my attempts. The R8 corners flat and Audi’s brilliant Quattro all-wheel drive system ensures each wheel gets exactly the right amount of power. I would love for someone to teach me to hold a rubber burning slide through the curve, but that will have to wait.
The final two corners before the start finish straight are tricky ones. The second to last corner is a blind turn as it goes uphill, so getting the braking and turn in just right is imperative. The R8’s precise steering really comes into play as its wheels go exactly where you want them to. What makes the last corner a handful is the fact that you have to get the turn in spot-on so as to get the perfect drive out of the corner and onto the back finish straight. Once on the straight, I was instructed over the radio to let the car behind me through to give him/her a chance behind the lead car.
Watching a bright red Audi R8 and its V10 scream past you is truly a sight to behold. This car is properly pretty. I can go on and on about the beauty of the R8, but let’s get back to drive. The next lap gave me chance to put my learnings to the test. While I experienced a few hairy moments behind the wheel, the R8 never really made me or any of the other journalists pay for it. And that the thing about this car- although it does react to the mistakes you make, it doesn’t punish you severely. It lets you off with a stern rap on the knuckles. The immense grip, brilliant brakes, and the Quattro AWD system all come together perfectly to keep you smiling from ear to ear while ensuring you don’t end up in the wall.
A few quick laps later I was back in the pitlane as we allowed the cars to cool down before the were handed over to the next batch. We weren’t done yet, though! The good folks at Audi had more in store for us. What greeted us in the parking lot behind the paddock gave us a slight hint of what they had planned – a lineup of Audi RS6s and RS7s and traffic cones laid out in a very interesting order. Oh, and did I mention they had a tanker watering the surface? With the electronic nannies turned off, what ensued was a lot of squealing rubber and sideways action.
Rayo’s brief was simple – turn in, floor it and get off the gas when he instructs you to. I tried to do exactly that, but it didn’t quite turn out the way I had pictured it in my mind. At least not after the first couple of attempts. I sort of got one attempt right, but my other attempts were average at best. Although I’m glad I didn’t end up facing the wrong way unlike some. Thankfully, the only casualties in this entire exercise were a couple of traffic cones and of course, those tires. Before calling it a day, we snuck in a couple more laps of the BIC in the Audi R8 in an attempt to quench some of our insatiable thirst for this machine.
Like I said at the beginning, such experiences are difficult to put into words. The kind of engineering that goes into making these machines what they are is just phenomenal. Belting an Audi R8 around the track gave me a fair idea of that. While it is difficult to get enough of this car on this track, I’m rather glad I got a chance to do it. Majorly because these naturally aspirated monsters are a dying breed. With the industry moving towards downsizing and turbocharging in the hope of a better future, cars like the R8 could be the last of their kind. I’m not sure and I don’t quite know what the future holds for us. What I do know, however, is that I can drive and Audi R8 around the track over and over, all day long.
Thanks, Audi Driving Experience for letting me do that. Oh and a hat tip to Rayomand Banajee, Aditya Patel and the entire crew for planning it and guiding us so brilliantly.
What do you think of our Audi R8 India Test Drive Review? Do let us know via the comments section below.