250- 265-270. I snatch my eyes away from the speedometer and search for the courage to keep my right foot pinned to the wall. The stands at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) in Delhi may well have been empty, but in my head, there were ten thousand people cheering me on.The soundtrack of an Audi V10 blaring in the foreground, belching out every single one of its 570 horses drowns the imaginary audience out. A small board with the numbers 150, goes by on my left, followed by another one that says 100. Time to brake. My right foot slams the brakes. I know now why they call it hitting a wall. The ceramic discs bring the Audi R8 LMX to more mortal speeds, my intestines, however, missed the memo and stretch for the steering. So much for the butterflies in my tummy. Hard right into T3, and make for the horizon again, the Audi starts almost as fast as it tried to stop. The V10 sound-track lights up like a Christmas tree again, as the instructor in his Audi S5 and the other Audi R8 LMX pull into my rear-view. For a fleeting second, I was the man my five-year-old self-envisioned, on one of the world's fastest Formula One tracks, in one of the best supercars on the planet, laying it down, because that’s what needed to be done. And that’s what the Audi Supercar Experience is all about. Understanding what a fast Audi is really capable of, on their terms, in their home ground.
On a cool day in November, the Audi Sportscar Experience had found me in the BIC. New Delhi’s noxious smog set the background to some brightly coloured Audi’s all of which had been fettled by Audi’s RS division. The day started with Mr Good guy of Indian motorsport Aditya Patel, a big smile plastered on his face as he tried to teach some auto-bugs, like me about racing lines and some such. Too bad, we were assimilating less than 50% of what he so patiently tried to teach because the R8’s were being warmed up outside, and the sound of a V10 echoing through the grandstands is very difficult to ignore. He could’ve been Sunny Leone in her hottest pair of swimwear and still, no one in that room would’ve been listening. Nonetheless, we all nodded our heads solemnly when he said whether we “got it” and eagerly made our way to the parking lot, where an RS6 Avant, an RS5 and Audi RS7 awaited us. This was the easier part of the day.
The first task, a short narrow slalom course. The objective? Get through as quick as possible, then make way for either the left of the right parking area (designated by some cones). The catch was the Aditya Patel in all his race villainy would wait until the last micro-second to tell in which one to park. The thing is this course was NARROW, and what really shone through was Audi’s surgically precise steering and the Quattro four-wheel drive system as we pushed triple digits through what was otherwise terrifying tight cone-lined lanes. Now that’s upside for the steering and the Quattro but when ze German engineers at Audi made the Quattro it was designed to get the maximum out of a corner, grip, traction et al. Serious things. Audi engineers are not ones for fun and frolic and what nothing to do with your fancy ideas of smoking tyres and donuts.
Which is why when we found ourselves at obstacle two, a drift track, which had been watered in the morning in the hopes that maybe, with the traction control turned off, that either the Avant or the RS7 might wag its tail a bit. Needless to say, despite our best efforts and a more than generous approach with the right foot neither car would step out of its line. We went looking for oversteer, but Audi’s unturnoffable traction control and Quattro refused to have any of it, we were granted some understeer and then some. Eventually, we decided to have mercy on the rubber and made our way to the track.
On the menu, the Audi R8 LMX, the newly launched Audi S5 and the Audi TT. Six laps a pop. Now for the first lap or so, we followed our instructor, keeping his tail warm as much as we possibly could. I’d driven the rest of the pack before but it was my first time in an S5. Now Audi have positioned it as a go-faster-road-car which is why it doesn’t get the signature RS badge. But on the track, despite being your everyday sedan even the TTs ( a sports coupe with about the same specs can’t get the better of it). Obviously, there was no time to review each one, we barely got a feel for them, and time was up. The experience is what counts, and the memories of being in an R8 chasing the big 3 double O on the back-straight of the Buddh International are memories I will take to my grave. The big 3 double O will have to wait some more time though.