Attacking the Track with Diesel Power

Attacking the Track with Diesel Power

I am quickly ascending to the world famous turn two at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (aka CTMP, aka Mosport). Our lead instructor, noted road and rally racing ace Frank Sprongl, lines us up for the blind double apex corner that drops quicker than an intoxicated college student’s will power on spring break.

We crest the hill, I hold my steering arch, the car gets light as it slightly carries to the right, gravity replants the vehicle as it aims for the second apex and we exit corner two. No drama, no issues, no sweat. But this is not a race car we are in. Heck, it’s not even a sports car; we are driving the 2014 Audi A6 TDI.

Audi-Driving-Experience-14.JPGAudi produces some seriously sporting machines like the R8, TT-RS and RS 5. But the brand likes to think a bit of sport is put into every vehicle adorned with the four rings. To prove this, it created the “Audi Driving Experience,” a comprehensive classroom-to-track driving school offered in several countries around the world. Audi brings together top instructors along with the latest and greatest Quattro equipped cars to world famous racetracks for consumers and enthusiast alike to experience what these cars can do.

THE AUDI DRIVING EXPERIENCE

Audi USA offers the course, called the Audi Sportscar Experience, at Sonoma Raceway in California and allows students to partake in a variety of sessions, including one exclusively for R8s. The course we are attending is the Canadian version which consists of a roadshow stopping in four different Canadian cites during the fall. Our stop is outside of Toronto at the aforementioned Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. Running the program is a group highly skilled and highly accomplished road racers; Scott Goodyear Richard Spenard and Frank Sprongl.

Audi-Driving-Experience-02.JPG

The day begins with Goodyear sitting us down and running through the premise of the school. It is designed for all skill levels, from experienced track users to novice drivers. The key techniques focused on are being smooth, confident and expanding forward vision. Of course, Audi wants people to experience the driving feel, acceleration, braking and handling of the brand’s latest products; the point of school isn’t just to make people better drivers, but to also sell Audis by showcasing what they can do.

See Also: 2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus Review – Video

Audi-Driving-Experience-05.JPGClassroom topics include the importance of setting the steering wheel and head rest to the proper heights as well as understanding a few basics of car behaviour and control. Goodyear has the students push the car so they can experience understeer and oversteer as well as feel how much the electronic systems are in play managing the cars direction and tire contact patches. Modern cars have so much technology built in that they compensate for a lack of drivers skill and allow faster and more comfortable driving. This can be both good and bad, so the school wants it’s students to feel the limits of adhesion to understand what happens if they are passed.

TT-S AUTOCROSS

From the classroom, it is out to the steering and braking courses which we skip since we are on a tight timeline during this abbreviated day. After that, it is time to put the recently learned skills to the test at the autocross courses. Here two identical courses are laid out in the track’s paddock that pits driver against driver, as well as against the clock. Audi’s weapon of choice for this course is the TT-S equipped with the S tronic automatic transmission.

Audi-Driving-Experience-22.JPG

Having spent days upon days pounding through this tight pylon-lined course, the front tires on the TT-S are more worn out than a “yo momma” joke and look ready to show their cords at any moment. This may explain why during my fist lap I blow through a tighter bend and introduced the TT-S to a few pylons. Audi-Driving-Experience-19.JPGAfter learning the course, a few of us are laying down what we think are impressive times, until they get obliterated by an ex-racer and a karting champion.

SEE ALSO: 2013 Audi RS5 Review – Video

From here, students head out in groups to learn some of CTMP’s trickier corners by repetitively running them over and over again. Once the instructors are assured the students have learned enough car control, it is time for some lapping session around the entire course.

TRACKING THE TDI

We begin in the A6 TDI; the most unlikely of track weapons. Powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine, the 4,178-lb car is claimed to be capable of launching from 0-60 mph in just 5.5 seconds. With only 240 hp on tap, it is the monstrous 428 lb-ft of torque that really gets this German sled going. CTMP is a track that rewards smoothness and momentum and after a few laps following the instructors, it is easy to forget we are piloting a big oil-burning German sedan and not a small sports coupe.

With minor body roll and ample tire grip, the A6 TDI inspires confidence and is easy to operate through quick corners well in excess of highway speeds. Not once during our lapping session does the stability control or traction control engage; exactly as it should be when driving a vehicle within its limits.

AND THEN IT WAS S5 TIME

Audi-Driving-Experience-13.JPG

The final session of the day for students is a repeat of the lapping they just partook in, but this time with Audi S5 coupes. Despite being down over 100 lb-ft of torque to the A6 TDI, the S5 weighs 300 lbs less, has nearly 100 more hp and features more sport orientated suspension calibrations. Our vehicles are optioned with the seven-speed dual clutch automatic which allows us to focus more on hitting our braking points and keeping on the preferred racing line. Speeds steadily increase during our session and by the end we are really moving and approaching my limits as a driver, but not necessarily those of the S5.

Audi-Driving-Experience-20.JPG

With the day winding to a close, we are all getting ready to leave, but Audi has one more treat for us; hot laps in Frank Sprongl’s Audi Quattro rally car. Yes, THAT five-cylinder, fire breathing Audi Quattro rally car. I slap on my helmet get strapped in as Sprongl brings the monster to life. It is hard to explain the speed and grip of this car as it is situated for any type of road surface. But even on street tires on a road course this car remains glued to the road as Sprongl bangs through the sequential gearbox. Upon exiting the slowest part of the course, turn 5B, the Quattro tops out before the back straight has even begun due to its immense power and short gearing.

Audi-Driving-Experience-16.JPG

REASONABLY PRICED

While not everyone will get a ride in the Iconic Quattro, every other aspect of this course is available to students. Best of all, pricing for the Canadian event is beyond reasonable at $380 CAD for the half day session and $795 CAD for the full day. Audi-Driving-Experience-09.JPGA lot of schools will charge that much and require you to bring your car to be thrashed throughout the day.

Although the school based in Sonoma will differ slightly, expect the same level of instruction and fun. For those living in Canada and the northern U.S., there is some bad news. All the events in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver are done for the year. But not to worry, the school will be back next year so keep checking their site for the 2014 schedule.

GALLERY: Audi Driving Experience

Audi-Driving-Experience-03.JPGAudi-Driving-Experience-06.JPGAudi-Driving-Experience-10.JPGAudi-Driving-Experience-15.JPGAudi-Driving-Experience-17.JPGAudi-Driving-Experience-18.JPGAudi-Driving-Experience-25.JPG

Discuss this story on our Audi Forum.

« Back
SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.

1. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. AGE/RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked