Night drag races in the heart of Mumbai with Audi Experience x Club Rewards Drive

10,000bhp worth of Audis let loose on an empty airstrip smack dab in the middle of Mumbai. Organised by evo India, this edition of the Audi Experience x Club Rewards Drive was nothing short of epic!
We had Chronopulse timing the runs, so things got really competitive at the drags!
We had Chronopulse timing the runs, so things got really competitive at the drags!Rohit G Mane for evo India

An empty stretch of road and the freedom to drive flat out? That is proper automotive nirvana. In India, and especially in Mumbai, opportunities to do so are few and far between. Unless you own an Audi, that is. Last month, the Juhu Aerodrome lit up and played host to Ingoldstadt's finest cars as they went full send. The latest edition of the Audi Experience x Club Rewards Drive in Mumbai took place on the airstrip after operating hours, with drag races, autocross and off-road tracks running through the night, for an experience like no other.

The Audi Club Rewards is an exclusive loyalty programme that offers Audi owners an array of bespoke experiences such as luxury hospitality, golfing and travelling. The Audi loyalty programme goes hand in hand with luxury car ownership and is tailored to the taste of the Audi customer. The brand goes one step further and curates driving experiences for members to explore the true potential of their cars, in a safe and a controlled environment. Over 30 lucky customers from Mumbai drove to the Juhu Aerodrome on a bustling Wednesday evening with no idea of what lay ahead. And boy were they in for a big surprise!

They rolled in and parked next to a Cirrus aircraft and a Bell helicopter, outside our base — the main hangar of the Bombay Flying Club. The line-up included everything from an Audi A3 convertible, S cars, RS5s and even a smoking hot matte black RS7. After quick registration, the Ed took over and started the driver's briefing. He ran through the safety checks, held a driving master class and took the mandatory group picture. Over 35 Audis, including S, RS and Q cars lined up on the runway just as the sun was about to go down, it surely was a sight to behold. It was time for the action.

Over 150 people attended the Club Rewards Drive.
Over 150 people attended the Club Rewards Drive.Rohit G Mane for evo India

We began with drag racing over a quarter mile on the main runway. Going full send in a straight line might be the simplest definition of drag racing, but there's a lot more involved in this activity. Not only do you, as a driver, need to have quick reflexes, but your car also has to be capable of delivering power down to the ground as efficiently as possible for a quick getaway. When it comes to performance, these modern Audis are real straight line monsters straight off the showroom floor, demonstrating Vorsprung durch Technik, or progress through technology. Out on the drag strip, their famed quattro system comes into its element. Developed in the 1980s for rally cars, this all-wheel-drive system sends power to all four wheels and makes possible some incredibly fast launches, on any surface.

It's one of the main reasons why Audi’s RS cars dominate the quarter mile, when pitted against their opponents. The S and RS cars set the drag strip on fire, but even the normal Audis, a few of which were diesel powered, put on a good show. But when it came to outright performance, nothing could even come close to Audi’s flagship performance electric car — the mind blowingly fast Audi RS e-tron GT. With a 0-100kmph time of just 2.9 seconds, this four-door sports electric car is as quick as some hypercars.

We had Chronopulse timing the runs, so things got really competitive at the drags. Participants, a few of who were mind-boggled by the way their car performed when let off the leash, kept on lining one behind the other and had an absolute blast. Avish Shah, the owner of a Q5, told us that, “I've seen it so many times in movies and always wanted to do it and it was a really amazing experience.”

The main runway of the Aerodrome filled with a significant 
amount of horsepower from Ingolstadt.
The main runway of the Aerodrome filled with a significant amount of horsepower from Ingolstadt.Rohit G Mane for evo India

Deven Shah, the owner of a Stage 3 A6 laughed and said, “I was so greedy that I did six runs. It's a great way to showcase the ability of the car in a very safe environment and I thank Audi India for organising this very well.” Sandeep Kudva, who has rocked up in his B6 RS5, said “Getting a chance to stretch the legs of my RS5 is something which I often look forward to and belting it on the runway is something which I've always dreamed of, so this was really incredible.”

The second activity on the cards was the autocross, where drivers got to experience the nimble handling of their cars as they manoeuvered the Audis through a set of cones. The track, which was designed to be extremely technical, consisted of a few sharp turns and tight slaloms. In a situation like this, the quattro backs up these cars with real time torque vectoring, i.e. it senses and sends power to the wheels with the most traction which helps to keep the car stable and get you through the course quickly. The performance Audi’s also feature adaptive suspension which tightens up and reduces body roll. That helps to get a better control of the car when you're really gunning it. Amit Rahane, the owner of a Q5, said “I didn't know that my car was capable of performing so nicely on an autocross track. In regular city driving we don't get to see circumstances like these and that's why it was amazing.” Sia Jain, owner of another Q5 was equally surprised. She said “After driving in both the drag race and in the autocross, I was surprised to see the capabilities of the car and I will surely try it out in the real world.” Her brother Tanish Jain added that “Going full speed is a different kind of adrenaline rush.” The fastest time in the autocross was set up by Mikhail Merchant in his brother Imran Majid’s tuned, supercharged, Audi S4. Imran, who has owned various Audi’s over the years including one of the country's most powerful cars, a modified RS6 Avant, says that “I've always loved Audi as a brand because of what it offers, the perfect blend of luxury as well as performance. I've owned multiple Audi cars over the years and always keep turning back to the brand because of its incredible service.”

The Q cars were flexing their legs on inclines, declines and articulation obstacles.
The Q cars were flexing their legs on inclines, declines and articulation obstacles.Rohit G Mane for evo India

Lastly, at the off-road course, the participants were having a completely different kind of fun, the opposite to the first two in fact – going slow as opposed to fast. The course was a specially designed off-road track by our expert friends at Offroad Junkie. Here, the Q cars were flexing their legs on steep inclines, declines and axle articulation obstacles and showing how it's done when the going gets really tough. The quattro’s application in the entire Audi lineup shows you just how versatile this system really is. While it helps the sportscars set blisteringly quick times on the track, it also backs up the Audi SUVs in tricky conditions, giving drivers the confidence to take on harsh terrain without breaking a sweat. Plus, these SUVs also get good approach, breakover and departure angles ensuring their design doesn't hamper their off road ability.

Chetan Kothari, owner of an A6, who had never driven on an off-road course before was completely amazed by how the SUVs performed. He told us that “This was an experience which I will never forget. While it looked hard, it was so easy to drive. It was great for me to get an opportunity to experience this event.” Rajesh Kumar Goswami said, “Off-roading was beyond imagination, it was amazing. It was scary, but so cool.” On the event, overall, Vivan Bhathena, an actor and an owner of an S5 Sportback which he tastefully spec’d in ‘District Green Metallic’, said, “Something like this is always encouraging because it's fun to meet your friends and engage in healthy competition.”

To say that this edition of the Audi Experience x Club Rewards Drive was nothing short of incredible will be a huge understatement because it turned the dreams of many Audi owners into a reality. Racing in the moonlight with some good company from fellow enthusiasts, and the entire Audi India lineup to deliver the ultimate #ThrillOfDriving, this experience is something which will be etched into the minds of all those who were present for a very long time.

Vivan Bhathena, actor and an owner of an S5 Sportback which he tastefully specced in ‘District Green Metallic’.
Vivan Bhathena, actor and an owner of an S5 Sportback which he tastefully specced in ‘District Green Metallic’.Rohit G Mane for evo India

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