Wouldn’t you love to know what it feels like to race around the track in a vehicle that boasts a 5.2 liter, 525 hp engine, controlled by hydraulically assisted rack and pinion steering, that’ll do 0-60 in 3.7 seconds? Such an experience used to be reserved for those who could afford to drop $150,000 on said vehicle. For those of us with more limited bank accounts, Audi has done us a major favor and created the Audi R8 Experience.
The R8 Experience is a program Audi has engineered to allow car enthusiasts, like myself, to take to the classroom and track to learn how to drive the R8 in the manner it was intended to be driven. The Experience takes place at world renowned Sonoma, CA Infineon Raceway, providing the perfect track environment in which to test the car’s capabilities. Participants in the program are the given the opportunity to learn driving skills from top race car drivers, and then immediately apply those skills to the track from the cockpit of the R8.
One and two day courses, as well as an advanced one day course, are available for anywhere from $1895-$3495, which is significantly more affordable than the car itself.
Still can’t afford the price tag or the trip to Sonoma? No problem. Audi has also taken the experience viral. Posted on the R8 Experience website are six videos which take viewers through several different track experiences. One video shows what the Experience looks like directly from inside the cock-pit. Others provide views of the Infineon Raceway course from the front and back of the car and testimonials from R8 Experience participants. All videos provide play by play audio commentary of how the driver handles each turn, how he applies acceleration and brakes, and where the car is positioned at each point on the track for maximum performance on turns and straightaways.
All in all, a fantastic way to showcase Audi’s super car and generate buzz. There is also a place to connect to social media sights, such as Facebook and Twitter. These features allow users to join Audi R8 Experience discussion boards and connect with other R8 enthusiasts.
While I definitely enjoyed watching each video, it doesn’t satisfy my need for speed. The videos do come with a warning, which I am passing on and urge you to consider prior to watching: “Caution-May cause increased heart rate and an uncontrollable urge to drive seriously fast.” Indeed it does. My hat is off to the marketing geniuses at Audi. I am now saving every last penny so I can head to Sonoma and “Experience” the real deal for myself.
*Since this article was originally published in 2010, Audi now has a similar experience available, the Audi Sportscar Experience. See the website provided above for details.