Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Ignition Festival, Glasgow - Audi R8 V10

As mentioned in the previous blog, through a prize draw from purchasing my ticket in the pre-sale, I was lucky enough to win a lap around the street circuit track at the Ignition Festival and a paddock tour.

The specially designed street circuit went around the SECC, Armadillo and the Hydro - as shown in the picture below.  Not shown in the picture, just behind the Hydro, there was a shorter figure-of-eight shaped track which was predominantly for drifting.

Image from Ignition Festival of Motoring
There was just another competition winner, along with myself getting to go in one of the Top Gear supercars, and we were asked which car we would like to go in - the Ford Mustang or the Audi R8 - but I think we were both too polite to choose one, so Mark the paddock manager (who I had actually come across during my volunteering at the 2012 Olympic Games - small world!) decided for us.  The other winner was to go in the Ford Mustang which went a little more sideways, and I was to go in the Audi R8 which went a little faster!

I was a bit sad that as I was there on my own I wouldn't have been able to get any pictures of this experience, however, I managed to find myself my own personal photographers in Christopher & Marion who were volunteers I met through Glasgow 2014.

All ready to go... just waiting for my driver!  The only thing I knew at this point was that he was a pro driver (which was definitely a good thing!).

I took some interior picture of the car while I was waiting!  One good thing was that it was really windy outside, and quite chilly, so I was pleased to be waiting inside the car rather than out of it!

Look who arrived!  My driver!!  Luckily the Audi was in the very capable hands of Joe, a lovely pro driver who works for Driving Wizards, and does all manner of cool driving things such as driving for tv & movies!!

This was taken while we were in a supercar queue while we were waiting to go to the start line.  The Stig was in an Aston Martin behind us... how surreal.  There were also loads of spectators watching (you can see some of them through the window).  There were spectators around 90% of the course, and I was impressed at just how many there were!

Nothing prepared me for the acceleration of the car - it was something else!  I can definitely understand why pro drivers need strong neck muscles!  The first part of the experience was two laps of the shorter figure-of-eight circuit, big acceleration, tight corners and then more acceleration.  Then it was onto the main track, there was a long straight, with a slightly terrifying mini chicane about a quarter of the way down it.  We got up to around 120mph the first time going down the straight, which was good!  And the car sounded amazing!

This is me coming back round ready to start lap two!

Blurry, but I'm in there!!

Lap two was when I had just about got used to the acceleration and what to expect, but I'm sure it was even quicker that the first lap... and I was definitely thrown about a biiit more round the first couple of corners!  Also, there were a couple of times that Joe was driving one handed, with his other hand out of the window, down the straight the second time!!

 And as quick as that, it was over!  Here I am after the two laps, with the McLaren now behind us, waiting to get back into the main exhibition hall... what a way to make an entrance! There were people gathered round to see all the cars returning!  I felt like a VIP!  After thanking him for returning me in one piece, Joe was off to get into the BAC Mono to race against the Ariel Atom (pictures in the previous blog post).

It's been two days now, and I'm still buzzing!  It feels like it was all a very good dream!

Here's a video of the Audi in action on Sunday.  Not sure if it was my session or the early session.

This awesome video from @gdh1975 shows the Audi (and the McLaren) on one of my laps of the track!  I think Joe has his hand out the window at the very start too, at the chicane!

Roll on Ignition Festival 2017!


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