According to Audi NZ it’s no accident that down here in our little slice of blue planet paradise, RS model sales are the best in the world – it’s all down to their 360-degree marketing (that and great cars of course). For over and above the marketing, Audi NZ immerse RS customers and potential customers alike in programs such as Ice and Track driving, the latter of which we were invited along to taste this week at Hampton Downs.
It seems like only yesterday Audi released Quattro onto the world motorsport stage and I still remember the plumes of snow rising up from behind that white rally racer – that was forty years ago. Since then, Quattro (in one form or another) has stamped its authority on DTM, Le Mans and Formula-e to name but a few events. In ‘94 Audi collaborated with Porsche to develop the RS2 and the Audi Sport arm based in Neckarsulm hasn’t looked back (FYI there’s a hint of poetic license in there). Anyway, again it seems like only yesterday that I was racing around a racetrack in the latest iterations of RS/Quattro combos, oh wait, that’s because it was!
Of the twenty-five new models Audi NZ has released this year, eight of them bear the Sport moniker and we got to drive most of them in relative anger around the racetrack, against each other in Drags and through slaloms, all under the expert guidance of the Downforce events and training team. What’s more, Audi had invited a few of their special Ambassadors along too.
Each year (Covid allowing) Audi NZ runs track driving experiences, where guests get to experience first hand what the RS models are capable of. The half day experience AM or PM, includes against the clock slalom runs, the perfect way to discover just how good that Quattro AWD system really is. Drag races where it’s all about YOUR reaction time – rest assured the RS will keep up and then ‘follow the leader’ style track laps, where those of you with heavy right feet can rest them on a variety of RS model’s accelerators (upto around 160km/h).
The event has been designed for you to touch, feel, smell, hear (the exhaust notes are terrific) and most of all, drive, drive, drive these Audi Sport models without fear of losing control or being picked up by the rozzers.
According to the brochure, ‘Audi track experience caters to all levels of experience from those wanting to sharpen driving their skills, right through to those looking to experience the exhilaration of Motorsport. Audi track experience has been designed to deliver exceptional results and push participants and the vehicles to their limits, delivered in true Audi style’ and it’s true,
The experience is fun, exhilarating, educational and at times, amazing – it’s eye-opening as to what these road legal, high-performance cars really can do.
On the subject of high-performance, Audi New Zealand’s Ambassadors are there to join in the fun too, (and maybe eat scrummy lunch with you). With Sir Steve Hansen (Steve arguably knows more about performance than any other New Zealander and is widely revered as an innovative coach), Renowned NZ fashion designer and entrepreneur Juliette Hogan is there (so make sure you dress smartly) and all-round good guy, professional snowboarder, DJ and founder of New Zealand fashion label, Huffer Steve Dunstan takes no prisoners at the exercises.
The Audi New Zealand Track Experiences fill up fast so make sure you find a way to get invited or get on line and reserve a spot – you’ll thank me for it.