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.