THE AUDI SPORTSCAR EXPERIENCE PROVIDES MOTORING ENTHUSIASTS THE OPPORTUNITY TO SAMPLE SOME OF AUDI’S FINEST MODELS ON THE SONOMA RACEWAY.
Carved into the rolling hills of Sonoma County, it’s 2.5 miles of pristine asphalt and 12 twisty turns woven over the beautiful hills of Sonoma. It’s the same track used for NASCAR races. Classroom time is interspersed throughout the day between paddock and track sessions. And while the instructors are focused on providing an enjoyable time for participants, they are also there to make sure you take home a lesson. Whether it be by instilling more confidence behind the wheel or a focus on planning ahead on the road, the team at the Audi Sportscar Experience is out to make safer drivers.
Drivers begin in the classroom for a brief discussion before each of the four “challenges.” Audi Sportscar Experience instructors briefly discuss the four challenges and some basic car control theories. Within an hour, you’re out on the paddock and ready to apply the classroom knowledge behind the wheels of some amazing Audi machines.
CHALLENGE #1: SLALOM COURSE Before taking to the actual racetrack, the slalom course is the first challenge to conquer. The students take the TTS weaving through a series of cone-marked gates behind the track on the autocross course. Each student takes his/her turn, flying through the course at faster and faster speeds. The instructors use walkie-talkies to communicate to drivers, quickly and effectively, what they need to know before each turn.
CHALLENGE #2: TECHNIQUES OF A CURVE Applying the fundamentals from the classroom, includingthe importance of the proper driving path, brake application and steering through a 180-degree turn, it’s out to the autocross course. This is your first opportunity to pilot the gorgeous R8.
CHALLENGE #3: RS5 LAPS Back in the classroom, the instructors taught the 12 turns of the track, which includes four blind corners. The course is often described as organic. While many tracks are engineered on flat land, Sonoma was built in the 60s and the terrain dictated the course. After thorough practice of these skills and learning more about the car and track, it’s time for the track, where a V8-powered RS5 awaits. The first lap is slow as the instructor coaches the crew skillfully by walkie-talkie, leading them around the winding curves of Sonoma Raceway. Subsequent laps increase the speed, always under the watchful eye of expert instructors.
CHALLENGE #4: R8 LAPS The R8 laps start the same way as the earlier sessions in the RS5…slowly. The low-riding suspension, powerful engine and road gripping all-wheel-drive system aids navigation around the track. Gradually increasing speed each time, and reaching top speed – a blistering 104 mph!