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My first post here. Hello from the new guy.

Anybody here done the Audi R8 Experience in Sonoma California? I would be interested in hearing comments and reviews. What was the selection of R8s like? Did you get the opportunity to really find out if the car was worth purchasing?
 

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My first post here. Hello from the new guy.

Anybody here done the Audi R8 Experience in Sonoma California? I would be interested in hearing comments and reviews. What was the selection of R8s like? Did you get the opportunity to really find out if the car was worth purchasing?
Hi. I have done it as have several other regular posters on the forum. Do a search and you will find my review, the one from Desperado and others.
 

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I did the 2 day class in mid April this year. It was a great experience. There were ten students and two instructors. Students pair up and take turns driving. There were around 10 R8s in the parking lot for us to choose from, I'm sure they have more, but there was no need to pull out more of them. You could choose a manual or a r-tronic. The facilities are very nice and they do a great job of providing everything for each day.

Do a search on these forums and you should find some video links to a few laps from different people. Each student gets their own DVDs of their time behind the wheel.

I really had a great time and learned a lot. I enjoyed the car so much that I stopped by an Audi dealer on my way home and purchased my R8. I was pretty sure I wanted an R8 before the class, but it did help convince me. Before I drove to Sonoma, I looked online to see what all the different dealers had in stock. That way I knew of two dealers that had the exact car I wanted so I could stop by on my way home, if I really wanted one.

I highly recommend the class. I personally would wait for some time in the fall, so that it would not be real hot, or at least chack the weather ahead of time. They say the classes in the winter can be a lot of fun in the rain too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks. Sounds like it would definitely be worth my time and money to at least take the one day course before deciding to buy an R8.

Of course, Bentley gave me a free track day at Pocono Raceway to try the Continental GT Speed. On the other hand, the chief reason why I chose not to buy the Speed was how badly it performed on the track!:D
 

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You will NOT be disappointed in the R8 after driving it @ Infineon. I was already on the list at my local dealership when I took the course...with my 40 year old son who's been more of an Audi enthusiast over the years than I have. We both came away wanting more seat time...though we drove the wheels off it the whole time we were there. Infineon is a great drivers track and a wonderful place to track an R8.
 

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I have been invitet after I have received to R8 V10......in Imola......i listen to the instructions and looked how it has been done.......took an coffee and left one hour the event has started........for someone who has never been on the track.....nice........if they will sell a car like this.....I don't know.....most of the guys have been there don't even have a R8 and wouldn't buy one........it is well organized but.........

@ sleeothight.....if you would like to use the R8 as a trackcar ......still you can drive the car the way you would like ......ESP can't be switched of etc...... and if you still consider to take the car on the road....take the car for a day and drive it........
 

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I don't know how they do it at Imola, but I'd have to agree with Ti-Mike that an Audi "Sportscar Experience", at least with "follow the leader" supervision like they do at Infineon is NOTHING like solo driving on an open track.

But Ti-Mike, you have to remember that, if you are interested in a high perfromance car in the US, you very likely will own it before you can experience driving it AT ALL, or at least driving it over 50-60 odd mph.
Unlike what we hear about in the UK and elsewhere, there is NO SUCH THING as a "demo" for an R8, or any of the other cars we so often compare it to on this web site. Even when dealers have a used R8 for sale, if they will let you drive it at all, it will likely be a very tame, brief drive.

So if you like buying something just to find out what it's really like to drive, no need to go follow an instructor around a track, even a beautiful track like Infineon Raceway. But if owning a high performance car, per se, is not what you're after, but finding a car that's really a rewarding drive, then the Audi track sessions are very valuable in showing you a little of what the car can do. And I think from comments I've read on this website, in the US it has made, or confirmed more than a few R8 sales.

Once v10's are actually available in the US in any number and they have them in their training fleet, it would be a great way to find out if the trade up was going to be worth it to you.

Once you own the car, you'll have a lot more fun tracking it on your own. Though what I've read about the "Advanced R8 Course" at Infineon makes me think they might be able to hone your R8 skills pretty effectively even if you think you're pretty good. That course, I believe, is single car with instructor in the car, at least after the preliminaries. Anyone taken that yet?
 

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Hi Wily, i have never tested my old R8 as it has been one of the first ones delivered and couldn't test the R8 V10 as it has been 100% the first one in switzerland delivered to a client.....I had the car before the official launch.....

also I like to drive my own car....i hate to drive with other peoples cars.....if I damage, i damage my own property.....as my grandma used to say, WHAT YOU NOT WANT THAT PEOPLES DO TO YOU, YOU DON'T DO, TO OTHER PEOPLES, TOO ( i translated it from swiss, but still makes sense )

with this credo i worked all my life, and I feel good with it.......
 

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"you break it, you bought it" is a corollary of that Mike; I agree with you that it doesn't feel right to abuse someone else's car, even a big company's like Audi, but they are pretty careful at the Audi course to make sure you don't!

so I get your point: like making love with your mother watching! better to do it without the company watching! saludo!
 

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I took the 2-day course in early July and loved it. They were expecting to receive V10s to replace their current cars sometimes late July, which should make for an even greater experience!!!
 

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We just got back from the 2-day "Advanced" R8 course. We did the first one last year and you must have completed at least a one-day before doing the one we did. Biggest difference is that as the student, you get to lead with the instructor following directly behind you on the radio. They also allow you to take off the ASR (NOT the ESP however) which totally transforms the car.

Level 1 is a great expereince to get a feel for the car, but this 2nd level course gives you MUCH more. Final laps were hot laps with the instructors driving. Amazing how after 2 days I thought I was pushing the limits - they quickly show you how much more that car has.

We did the last course runing the V8's and are looking to go back as the entire fleet is being repalced with the V10s.
 

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Nice. It's funny to me now that I tried to sign up for the advanced course, thinking that one low level local course and 2 additional track days was enough experience for it. Fortunately they wouldn't let me. Infineon is pretty intimidating and to be honest I never really felt comfortable in turn one. Taking that uphill turn at something like 85mph (according to the instructors, I never looked down) had me gritting my teeth every time, and I was one of the faster guys in the group. Had I been leading I am sure I would have been much slower. If I take it again I am not sure I will take the advanced course, even with the 2 day Sportscar Experience under my belt.

Also, they said V10s would probably be there in the fall. For me, the V8 was plenty of car and really all I could handle. I would gladly jump at the chance to take the V10 around the track, but I doubt I would be any faster.

As far as the instructors, I have to agree. They are amazing. I rode with one for a few laps and they are so fast and smooth it's silly. It didn't even feel like we were pushing the car as the group struggled to keep up. Keep in mind he was driving with one hand, heel-toe shifting a manual, talking in the handheld radio, and spending most of his time watching the rear-view mirror. It was an amazing and humbling experience.
 

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I forget the #, but the big downhill sweeping left before the straight was the one that made my heart race a bit...more than turn 1 which I kind of liked!

Speaking of "heel & toe", since you mentioned it: Can you "heel and toe brake" an R8? I didn't try it at Infineon (only time I've driven an R8), but I thought I'd read some road tester say you couldn't blip the throttle while braking because the drive by wire throttle doesn't respond while brake pressure is being exerted (little protector against "unintended acceleration" perhaps", IF it's true?). But the R-tronic blips the throttle on downshifts, and I'll bet it does it whether your braking or not. Maybe that was bad info?
 

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Turn 6 - The Carousel http://www.trackpedia.com/wiki/Infineon_Raceway

Yes, you can heel and toe.
Yeah! The Carousel! The unnerving thing about it was that if you came up over that little crest at the entrance with too much speed on, it unweighted your rear end just as you started your left turn...very unsettling because of the rather high speed you could (try to) carry through that one. Seems to me that turn 2 had a little unweighting effect upon cresting the rise also, but that one struck me as kind of fun. But at that point it always seemd like the whole group would slow a little too much, preventing any real drama.

Infineon is an amazing, fun course. Did the 1 day with my son. I'm going to try to do the 2 day after I've had my car a little while, so I'm more at home with the machine and can concentrate more on the course.
 

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I forget the #, but the big downhill sweeping left before the straight was the one that made my heart race a bit...more than turn 1 which I kind of liked!

Speaking of "heel & toe", since you mentioned it: Can you "heel and toe brake" an R8? I didn't try it at Infineon (only time I've driven an R8), but I thought I'd read some road tester say you couldn't blip the throttle while braking because the drive by wire throttle doesn't respond while brake pressure is being exerted (little protector against "unintended acceleration" perhaps", IF it's true?). But the R-tronic blips the throttle on downshifts, and I'll bet it does it whether your braking or not. Maybe that was bad info?
That is one of the cool things about racing. We all seem to see the track differently. Even pros have their differing fast sections. I loved the carousel (turn 6?) and was pretty fast through that section. Turn 1 however never felt safe. Maybe I just need more time on the track.
 

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Audi R8 Experience.......... do they have this on the east coast as well?
 
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