There’s something very soothing about driving at a race track. No distractions. No excuses. It is a place where the pretence, the bravado and the preening drop as you head out of the pit lane and onto the track. Every daunting corner, every cunning apex, every unruly kerb, every sneaky bump announce their intentions plainly. The rest is up to you. You and the machine. As you face up to the challenge of setting a quick lap, you realise, it is a mirror you are staring into. On our recent Tri-Circuit Challenge, the MMRT offered plenty of reasons for introspection.
The real variable, the human part, was taken out of the equation by requesting Aditya Patel, racer extraordinaire, to channelise the inner Hulk of the three cars in the most constructive fashion. Aditya was casual in demeanour, but approached the business of hot laps in a calm, intelligent and methodical manner. Which is just as well, because Audi’s trio were, although of diverse temperament, deadly keen, and carried larger than life reputations. It was up to the cars to prove or disprove their reputations. I, for one, was spellbound by the outcome.
Audi’s most powerful car, the 553bhp RS7 was undoubtedly expected to demolish the track. The smaller, lighter and purer sports car, the TT was expected to teach its elder siblings a thing or two. Then there was the suited and booted 420bhp executive express, the S6.
Aditya wasn’t unflustered at the thought of using the RS7’s 553bhp on the MMRT and chose to keep the stability systems partially engaged. Despite its size and luxury leanings, the RS7 tore around the track in a frenzy that felt apocalyptic from the passenger seat. It bobbed stiffly over the tarmac, thundered villainously out of corners, and drummed unapologetically over the kerbs. It was mind numbing, and begged the question, how could this actually be used on public roads? But, it does. And, we did, for over 3000km on the Tri-Circuit Challenge.
The RS7 proved to be relaxed, or ruthless, depending on what you asked of it.
It was funny how, time after time, we viewed the TT as the underdog and the dark horse. And, we always expected so much from it. The TT wasn’t the quickest at any of the tracks, and while that was a bit of a disappointment, in my eyes, it was the purest sports car on the track. It wasn’t a car you nursed or pandered to. You just got in and whipped it unforgivingly and it did what you expected of it. In hindsight, the TT is a car that I look upon with a lot of fondness and a desire to drive more on a race track, but preferably with some more horsepower on tap.
Too soft, I thought of the S6. Right. Slow, I though of the S6. Wrong. Measured against the unyielding yardstick of time, the S6 punched way above anything I expected. It was my supercar of the drive. Sure, the 563bhp RS7 is more visceral and the TT purer, but the all-round abilities of the S6 were undeniable. It wasn’t the most willing car on a race track, but Aditya cajoled it and worked around its luxuriant ride to deliver a scorching time. However, what brought the S6 into my list of star cars was the panache with which it dealt with all kinds of roads. Irrespective of conditions, it was unruffled. It dealt with crater-dotted roads calmly thanks to the Lift mode of the air suspension. It was pleasant at highway speeds and when required, ragingly quick. Best of all, it was a sleeper. Nobody gave it a third look. Only the well educated understood the significance of the silver mirrors and I was happier for it. The S6 is my kind of car, it doesn’t preen, has very little swagger, yet it is versatile and as it proved time and again on the race track, deceptively quick.