Sunday, December 9, 2007

R8 Hot Laps (ADE V)

As I was walking away from the RS4 and unbuckling my helmet, I got called back to the pit lane. Turns out that the prize for winning the autocross challenge was to get a few hot laps in the R8 alongside one of the instructors. I quickly stopped taking my helmet off and shoved it back on again before jumping into the passenger seat of an extremely cool looking black-on-black model as quickly as I could before someone changed their mind. (I was thinking more in terms of a t-shirt, which, having said that, would have been nice too!)

I noticed that the instructor turned off the ESP system, something they obviously stopped us from doing for 160,000-odd reasons, and poked a few other buttons I couldn't quite see. Anyway, off we went, heading up the hill with a lot more vigor than was used for the lead-follow session, but still well within the limits of the car. Indeed, despite the pace being upped more than one notch, to my mind we never got much beyond seven or eight tenths at most. Doubtless, this had a lot to do with the attendant costs of replacing tyres on the car as well as making doubly sure you don't injure the R8 or whoever happened to be inside at the time.

Coming out of the hairpin turn right after the pit entrance, I think even the instructor was getting a bit bored as I noticed the drift angle was increasing lap by lap. Seems with ESP off then you can get the tail out in quite a controlled fashion and without having to get all lurid with tyres smoking and watchers on the pit wall diving for cover. Would love to have the opportunity to test that behaviour myself but all I can say is that the benign and rock-solid characteristics I found on my laps seem to hold good right up to the limits of grip that can be squeezed from the massive rear tyres. Again, kudos to Audi for their chassis development work on this car.

And that was about it. A great half-day was had by all, and we even got breakfast & lunch thrown in for good measure. Sure, it wasn't cheap, but considering the machinery on offer then in terms of getting track access to the RS4 and the R8 then really it was good value in my book.

Now, Audi, about that V10 derivative, any chance I could get a go in that version too, just for comparisons sake of course?? No charge.

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