Send it Sunday - Audi Track Day
The true potenital of a performance machine is best discovered on a race track, because that’s where it comes into its element. That’s where you can exploit its true capabilities, push it to its limits in safety and experience the ultimate Thrill of Driving. This was exactly the plan for the 25 customers Audi India invited to go full-send at the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore, for the Audi Experience x Club Rewards Drive. And team evo India was tasked with putting the event together.
Below: Registration for the track day; the editor briefing the customers. Facing page, clockwise from top: Our support car lineup; hot laps equals big smiles; instructors delivering the safety briefing before hitting the track
Audi Club Rewards is an exclusive loyalty programme that provides Audi customers an array of exclusive and fascinating experiences that enable them to Live Luxury. Experiences such as luxury hospitality, golfing, travelling and even gifting; experiences which are apt for the discerning customer that chooses to buy and drive an Audi. The brand goes one step further and organises bespoke experiences for members who have high- performance Audis, for them to explore the true potential of their cars, in a safe environment.
The Audi Experience x Club Rewards Drive track day unfolded on a beautiful Sunday morning in Coimbatore. It had rained just a day before, so the Kari Motor Speedway was gleaming, all set for some high-speed action. The Audis started rolling in and they were a sight for sore eyes. That’s because the lineup consisted of S5s, RS5s, an RS7, an RSQ8 and even an R8 wearing some very gorgeous colours along with a brace of e-trons. Shades of red, blue and green, all brightening up the day just as it began. The customers registered and made their way to the briefing room, where editor, Sirish Chandran along with driving instructors Prithveen Rajan and Deepak Paul Chinappa, briefed them on the day's activities, ran through mandatory safety checks, held a driving master class and it was off to the track for a group shot before grabbing helmets and buckling up for driving activities.
The first activity was a slalom, where cars had to weave in and out of a set of cones. It might seem simple, but it sure is trickier than it sounds. It involves an understanding of complex concepts such as throttle control, precise steering and weight transfer – there are a lot of things at play in a slalom. It was a perfect warm up session for the customers, before getting on the track for their fast laps. Vikram Damodaran, an RS5 Sportback owner, told us, “It helped me understand the dynamics of the car and what it can really do.” But what makes these high-performance Audis so good out on a race track? Their sophisticated ‘quattro’ all-wheel-drive system! Created in the late ’80s, quattro was originally conceived for rally cars and it helped Audi steamroll the world rally championship . But it soon made its way to all the new production models and has made all the S and RS cars the track champs that they are.
After the slalom, the customers were let loose on the track for 10 fast laps. They were guided by the instructors in lead cars and got to learn the basics of track driving, taking the right lines, finding the perfect braking points and this helped them get faster. “I wasn’t feeling confident when I first got out on the track, but after a few laps my confidence reached new heights, allowing me to push harder,” claimed Praveen Balaji K, owner of a very beautiful Ascari Blue S5 Sportback. Rishika Gudipati, who came with her father Ramakrishna in their Turbo Blue S5 Sportback told us,“It was really nice putting the theory to practise. When we bought the car, they told us how fast you can go in it, but actually getting to try it out on the track was so good.” The fun wasn’t limited just to the track though. Off track, the customers hopped into the sim cockpits that our friends at INRacing had set up, and experienced Audi race cars in the virtual world.
V Joy, who had driven down to Coimbatore from Thrissur with his son for this event said, “Although the Q8 is an SUV, it is very friendly and felt perfectly in control out on the racetrack.” His son Faisal added, “It was a really good experience, we had seen driving on a track only in videos, but now we got a chance to experience it.” After the fast laps and lunch at the Audi hospitality lounge setup at the tower, the customers were lined up on the drag strip. For the first time customers experienced drag racing in their own cars and our instructors were on hand to teach them the techniques to extract the best performance from their cars while also cutting down their reaction times. This of course prompted plenty of competitiveness amongst the owners, who just kept going on one run after another to see if they could improve their timings and beat the other drivers who had all become fast friends by now. Pranav Shukla, owner of a Stage 2-tuned S5 Sportback happily told us that, “It was mind-blowing to have something like this in India, in my hometown. I had a lot of fun pushing the car to its limits.” Meanwhile, Viswanathan told us, “The RS5 Sportback is my first sports car and I got to know a lot about it today. It’s really quick and fast. The drag race was really fun.”
The event also saw participation of an e-tron Sportback, which was brought by Rankaraj and his son who were thrilled with how their electric SUV performed out on the track.
Topping the charts on the drag race timing sheets was Ramesh Reddy, who was piloting a Java Green Metallic RSQ8. That shows you how the quattro all-wheel-drive system helps these high- horsepower Audis perform better. Yes, the RSQ8 had a horsepower advantage over everything else, but it was also a lot heavier than most. The Quattro system just feeds all the power, with no drama at all, to the ground and that helped Ramesh clock a very quick time of 8.6 seconds on the 250-metre in his super- SUV.
As dusk fell, the final job on the to-do list was to demonstrate the capabilities of Audi’s electric flagship, the RS e-tron GT. With customers in the passenger seat and one Sirish Chandran piloting the 637bhp electric rocket, we took our guests out for hot laps. And to say that they were blown away by the RS e-tron GT’s performance is a huge understatement, because they were left
speechless. “It’s a rocket ship,” said Ramakrishna as he couldn’t stop laughing, after getting out of the RS e-tron GT. Going by the customer’s reactions, it’s safe to say that they are ready to embrace the electric future that awaits the automobile industry and the Audi family.
The Audi Experience x Club Rewards Drive track day was an eye opener for these customers. Not only did it allow them to push the limits of their cars and SUVs and become better drivers, but it also made them fall even more in love with their fast Audis.