R8 and Pocono

I arrived at the track this morning at 8 a.m. and headed straight for the R8s. They had four of them - two Tiptronic and two manuals. Absolutely gorgeous! Lots of pictures that I hope to post an url to
later.
After a 30 minute classroom session talking about Quattro and driving dynamics, we piled into 11 A4s A6s, and A3s for steering exercise. Twenty two in the class, two students/car, switching places after a few "laps" of the parking lot. Not really exciting..... infact, down-right boring, but......
Second exercise was an emergency lane change without brakes using A6s. The class broke up into three sections. This exercise is a standard in most driving schools and not too challenging.
Next our team of 6 souls was off to the auto cross exercise. Three different cars: The A3 (best times), the A8L (very impressive handling for such a large car), and the Q7 with the 4.2L engine. We each got three runs with all three cars. Lots of fun.
Then, back to the front straightaway of Pocono for an emergency lane change *with* brakes driving A4s with the 3.2L engine. We could brake anytime after we got in "the box" (group of cones arranged on either side of a lane leading to an "accident" (cones laid on their side in the traffic lane). Again, this is a standard excercise at lots of different drivin schools, but it was fun to wait until the very last second to apply the brakes.
Off to get our helmets for the main track exercise with both the RS4 and the R8. I take an XXL wearing a ballaclava (head sock). Did I ever tell you I hate helmets. I know they are necessary and have a job to do, but I despise them.
The RS4 is a wonderful machine, not as quick as my RS6, but it would lose the RS6 in the twisties. This exercise was a lead and follow. The instructor was in an S5 (in Arrest-Me Red). We went through turn 1 at Pocono and then hard on the brakes, stay to the right next to the wall, down shift to 3rd and a sharp left onto the infield. There were two turns, but I made it into one sweeping one, on the gas, then quick braking and a 90 degree turn to the left, accelerate at the apex while still in 3rd, then hard on the brakes for a carousel type turn, hit the apex and hard on the gas to the turn-out, to the right for another left hand turn at speed, small straight-away, little braking, then hard on the gas back onto the Raceway and turn 1. All of this following the instructor very closely (3 car lengths!).
We started out going a max speed of about 60 on the raceway (4th gear), and ended up doing around 95. The instructor took us up to max speed gradually on each lap. I was very impressed with how easily the RS4 turned in after jumping on the brakes for the first turn into the infield. Great fun.
Then it was my partner's turn and I sat in the right seat cheering her on. She did well and it was also loads of fun sitting in the right seat.
The R8: What can I say? Absolutely beautiful to look at. Engine under glass. When you drive it you have a sense of its power looming behind you. Lots of room in the cabin (for two, of course), and four bags of groceries, or a set of golf clubs, or a wader bag and a couple of fly rod tubes behind the seats. No squwenching an adult sideways ala the Porsche 911.
Same exercise, only we started at about 80 on Turn 1 and worked our way up to about 115. Hard on the brakes for the first turn-in, close to the wall, downshift with the paddle (the engine blips to match the speed just like you *should* do with a manual). This car, the R8, is absolutely unbelievable in the twisties. I was amazed at how it handled, especially after driving the RS4 at speed. In the turn after the carousel turn I could get the car in a four wheel drift to the right by simply using the gas pedal. I should mention that we are doing this with only about 3 car lengths between me and the instructor I am following. I think I did five laps, but you could probably convince me I only did 3, or maybe 7. My mind was not on counting laps.
Back to the starting gate and switch drivers. I had picked up a new driver because I "scared" my female partner in the RS4 exercise. She didn't want to go that fast. d;o) Not a peep out of this new partner. Off we went again following the instructor at about 3 car lengths (imagine that at 115 mph!). When I was driving my senses were pre-occupied with driving. When sitting in the right seat going through Turn 1 (banked) at 115 mph, I suddenly became very aware of the Gs we were pulling. With the heavy helmet on, I gave into the Gs and let my head rest against the window. Hey, I'm an old man (70)!
After my partner did his five laps, we returned to the helmet shed, turned in the helmets, and proceeded back to the auto-cross area where a 3.2 L TT was waiting for us. We each got two laps of the course we were familiar with from the previous excercise with the A3, A8L, and Q7. but this time we would be times. I took the fastest lap of my six person group, beating out a young fellow by 1/100 of a sec. It was also the 2nd fasted time of all 22 drivers.
At 12:15 or so, we returned to the barn, parked the school cars, and went inside for a very nice lunch. All in all it was the best Audi driving experience I have been too (two Audi Hands On in the 80s, and a Driving Experience two years ago at Road Atlanta.) I was very impressed with the amount of cars Audi supplied for the exercises, and the amount of different models. A first class presentation. I couldn't have expected less from Audi.
The downer for the day was having to drive back to Massachusetts and face all the New York and Connecticut left lane bandits. At one point in NY, I passed fifteen cars who were in the go fast lane, all going at or about the speed limit. They reminded me of sheep going to slaughter.
My R8 should arrive in about a year. In the meantime, I have decided to go to the Audi Sports Car Experience at Infinity Raceway in Sonoma, California. One full day in the R8! I am sold!
Dave 03 RS6
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its a pity when they show these cars on the TV being evaluated, they are shown at their full potential but when we drive them on the roads its 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70 otherwise there goes the old licence............and then 100k sits on the drive or goes on ebay.
Its even more of a downer for most in the States cos the roads are soooooo straight.
Nice car though it was on our top gear during the week and old clarky just loved it...........and he takes some convincing.
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wrote:

That's what tracks are for. I have no problem exercising my RS6. But, it is true that unless you live in Germany, the full potential of the vehicle is never met.
Dave
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Though I can understand why people would think otherwise - driving in Germany is no more fun than in the UK - it can actually be less fun. At least where I live (around Cologne) the motorways are always clogged up and even if they are not they tend to have a speed limit. Ok - now and again you get lucky and you can go fast in a straight line - but that just means I know how fast my car can go flat out - not particularly clever or exciting though.
However - really nice driving usually happens on bendy roads anyway and for that the UK is soooo much better. In germany nearly everywhere off the motorway has speed limits of 30 or 50 kph - unless its completely straight in which case you might be allowed to go 70 or 100 (thats max 62mph). Whereas in the UK if you drive around in Sussex for example you will find no end of VERY bendy roads which can be pretty challenging at times and you are allowed to go 50mph on nearly all of them! It feels alot faster than anything you would be allowed to do in Germany on the same type of road (in Germany there would be warning signs all along the road and (30) everywhere)!
On the whole driving within the leagal limit in the UK feels alot quicker than it does in Germany.
JT
P.S. Anyone who wants to release the full potential of their car needs to use a race track anyway - you can't turn into tesco's with a powerslide.
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On Thu, 18 Oct 2007 09:51:13 +0200, "James Teaky"

Exactly! My RS6 gets it exercise on a closed circuit.
Dave
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wrote:

we aint all that lucky Dave................
after 40 years driving I got my first ticket this year doing 38 in a 30 limit.............cop was parked on double yellows while tracking and booking..............talk about one rule for us one for them.
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Hey Dave:
Just test-drove an 03 RS6 last Friday. The dealer let me have it for the afternoon. I have been looking for a good RS6 or S8 for about two years now.
Couldn't arrange a test track, but I was impressed with what the car could do on an open freeway. Easily got over 140, then had to back off for traffic. What is the RS6's top speed? Is it limited electronically to 155? The Brembos are fantastic!
Does the RS6 have the timing chain in the back of the engine like the RS4, or timing belt in the front like the S8? I can't remember what model year Audi made that change. My mechanic says the cost of maintenance on this car will be astronomical. What has been your experience?
I got to crawl all over the R8 American LeMans pace car at the Houston Grand Prix last March, but didn't get to drive it....I'm jealous!
--
Stephen Clark
89 Audi 100
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On Mon, 22 Oct 2007 17:38:14 -0500, "Stephen Clark"

In the front. Timing belt change is 35k miles and under warranty. I have 50k now on the car and except for a worn out left front carpet mat, the car is still a cherry. I have it chipped and dyno said 509 bhp. Believe it or not, the chip gives better gas mileage (which is about 21 on a trip and 16 around town ifn I don't play with it!)
Biggest expense (beside timing belt) would be brakes. I had mine done at 30K miles under warranty. Rotors are $500 apiece. After market would be the way to go - just as good, and less expensive. There are a number of speed shops in my area that can do it far cheaper. I have BBS LM 19 inch wheels on it, and they look terrific. A picture of it and my grandson's 2000 S4 (chipped) with BBSs is in this month's Audi Club magazine. I normally sell my used Audis to one of my sons in law, but I will use the RS6 as down-payment on my R8

Yeah, when I saw it at Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta earlier this month, I fell in love. When I got to drive it for several laps of a Turn 1/infield road course at Pocono, I was enthralled. I also drove the SR4 on the same course and found it very nimble in the twisties, but not as quick on acceleration as my RS6. Not knocking it; it was a joy to drive - it was Arrest Me Yellow, worse than the red one.
Dave
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Thanks for the info, Dave. Do you recommend an extended warranty? The car I'm looking at has 41,000 miles, but is out of the 4-year Audi warranty due to the in-service date. It seems to be in very good shape, and the dealer is willing to change the front rotors and pads. Two wheels have road rash, but they are willing to repair that too.
Stephen Clark
wrote:

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On Wed, 24 Oct 2007 16:17:51 -0500, "Stephen Clark"

Sounds ok. I used my car at a driving school to do demos. That's why the front brakes only lasted 35K miles. See what kind of a warranty they are willing to give you. BTW, an oil change costs about $200. Lots of labor involved. Of course if you are the wrench type, you could do it yourself. It takes a special synthetic oil available only at Audi/VW/Porsche dealers, surprisingly not *that* expensive.
Warning: Driving it will become addictive! d;o)
Dave
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with my friend in his '04 S4 at Brainard Intl Raceway but with much more variety in rides. Lot of fun.
Congrats on the track times.
TonyJ
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"Dave LaCourse" wrote

In the last episode of Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson took the R8 for a spin, and he loved it. Considering how picky he is about cars, that is in fact a huge complement for the Audi. Something about smearing honey on Keira Knightley... gotta watch the episode.
Pete
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