Track Atack

Car India - - FEATURE -

Now for the ac­tual race­track. In the pace car would be Aditya Pa­tel, who is no stranger to fast Audis, es­pe­cially in the in­ter­na­tional GT3 scene. In our brief­ing ear­lier, he was very keen about ex­plain­ing, in highly ap­pre­ci­ated spe­cific de­tail, how the car feels when pushed and how to get the most out of it.

We started out in the RS 5 Coupé, a car we’d tested a cou­ple of months ago on a rainy day in Pune, where it helped the hills come alive. How­ever, with a dry track on a hot day, it was a dif­fer­ent an­i­mal al­to­gether. Al­though we were be­hind an S5 Sport­back pace car, it com­fort­ably got up to 200+ km/h with ease, the V6 try­ing to come on song as best it could. Get­ting out of the parabol­ica and into quick left­hander lead­ing to the next right, I felt the tail step out as I jabbed the throt­tle in angst and then felt quat­tro col­lect it again. Cer­tainly a lot of fun, this one.

Next was the big one. My first crack at the lim­ited-edi­tion pre­vi­ous-gen R8 LMX, #41 of 99 world­wide, dressed in car­bon, in­clud­ing a big car­bon-fi­bre rear wing. No push-but­ton, just a key to turn and start the big 5.2-litre nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V10. And no fancy leather gear-lever, just an alu­minium stick for a rally-

style se­quen­tial man­ual shift, should you en­joy tak­ing your hands off the wheel at speed to up- or down-shift. The pad­dles are there for the tak­ing, should you wish to in­dulge in a more hands-on ap­proach.

Turn the key and there’s a clash of thun­der 10 inches be­hind my head, that then set­tles into an au­rally bliss­ful rum­ble. I’d take the stick shifter, thanks: push for up, pull to drop one.

Off we went, a nat­u­rally as­pi­rated race-car-for-the-road with a V10 wait­ing to scream to over 8,000 rpm. I had to oblige. Sharp into turn two al­low­ing a gap to open to the pace car in front and then hot into turn three to carry as much speed on to the back straight as I could, al­low­ing the V10 to scream past 8,000 be­fore whack­ing the stick for­ward to get fourth, the firmer sus­pen­sion ev­i­dent, and then fifth, up to 220+ km/h, be­fore the hump ar­rived and a fa­mil­iar voice on the ra­dio cracked on to in­form of the brak­ing point. The next few sec­tions were taken in the R8 LMX’s stride, dart­ing from one apex to an­other, with a sort of nat­u­ral feel to it; an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence, in­deed.

Head­ing back to the pits reluc­tantly is al­ways a good sign. More fun could be had, but now it was time to leave it all be­hind. For now.

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