Having just bought a new Audi a few months ago, I was so excited to have gotten a $700 ticket to the Audi Driving Experience Fall 2012 Event. It was a full-day event on a closed course, with training provided by professional driving instructors. We would get to test the limits of the cars under different driving scenarios. For me, it was a chance to do everything I’ve always wanted to to an Audi, just not with my own. I got the dealer (OpenRoad Audi) to throw in a ticket with the purchase of my car, as my friend Lisa, who recently bought a 2013 Audi S5, had tipped me off to ask for it. Lisa and her husband Ray happened to be at this event as well. For me, it was the second time this year that I’ve been to the BC Driving Centre in Pitt Meadows. The first time, as you might recall, was back in October for the Ford Escape For A Day event.
I slept in and missed my alarm (D’oh!), but luckily I arrived just in time for the start of the event at 9am. Here you can see the lineup of S4′s queued up for the first slalom event. We spent about half an hour at each station, so we got tons of driving in. Most people were paired up, but I was by myself, so I squeezed in way more driving than most other people. By the end of the day, my hands were pretty sore from all the aggressive driving. Yup, definitely first world problems.
The second event was on the oval course, where we would learn how to corner. With a 2-way radio in each car, the instructors were able to give us realtime feedback on our driving. We learned about locating the apex of a corner, how to brake into it, and how to accelerate out of it. The apex of a corner is the point in the turn where the corner transitions from forcing the car into the turn to opening out to allow the car to complete the turning motion and resume a straight course. I excelled at this event, having played my fair share of driving games like Daytona USA and Gran Turismo. It really felt like a video game to me, well, minus the “TIME EXTENSION!” part.
The third event was the understeer exercise, in which we took the car at maximum throttle into a huge puddle of water, while turning, to create an understeer. The goal here was to control the understeer, recover from the skid, and complete the turn, while maintaining full control. With all the rain that we get in Vancouver, learning this skill may come in handy if I ever find myself tearing into a sharp corner while going 100 km/h in the rain. But seriously, it was during this exercise that the legendary Quattro all-wheel drive system really shone through. It took a little bit of practice to get the technique down, but I never really felt out of control in the car. This definitely gives me some peace of mind, knowing that my car is equipped with the same Quattro system.
I got to know my car #26 quite well. Not a whole lot different from my 2013 A4 2.0L. This 3.2L S4 is just the badder, fiercer, more fun version of my car.
After about 3 hours on the course, it was time to head into the tent to grab some lunch and mingle with some of the other attendees. Everybody I talked to seemed to be have a blast during the first half of the day. Many of us were just looking forward to hitting the course again. By now, the rain had started to come down, which was great, because now it meant that we had a slick track to play on. I was actually looking forward to it raining that day.
Inside the Audi tent, where we would eat and be briefed on the day’s event. Outside the Audi tent, it was like a S4 party.
Parked outside the Audi tent was this beautiful drool-worthy Audi R8 5.2L V10 (same engine as the Lamborghini Gallardo). We would get a taste of this at the end of the day.
After lunch, the rain came and a whole new set of dynamics were introduced. It was awesome ripping around the course in the rain. We did more training on the oval, and we also did an accident avoidance exercise in which we had to floor the car, and swerve around two brave men holding flags up. I didn’t do so well in this exercise, but luckily, only egos were hurt during this exercise.
The aggressive Audi R8 looks on as a lineup of Audi S4′s gets queued up for the wet slalom course.
Safety first! Now I know why they made us put these on before getting into the R8. I got tossed around like a rag doll inside that monster.
Behind the wheel of this beast of a machine. It was a ridiculous experience. I felt like I was living the life of Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear for some brief moments. The onboard cockpit camera captured some hair-raising moments of us going around the track.
Inside the sexy cockpit of the stunning R8 super car. I wish I recorded the sound from inside the cabin. It was truly mesmerizing.
I couldn’t have asked for a more fun day. As a big car fanatic, I’ve been a fan of Audi for awhile. They make amazing cars. The only way this event could’ve been better is if we were driving the all-new 2013 Audi RS4 Avant with its 450-hp 4.2-liter V8. THAT thing is a beast. Too bad it’s not available in Canada yet. But I’ll tease you anyway with a picture (below).