The Audi Drive Experience has been launched to the Australian public, after 15 years as an invitation-only, dealer-based program. A $6.8 million fleet of 40 cars will travel to the country’s best racetracks, giving keen drivers the chance to take part in the five-tier Audi Drive Experience.

For the first time, the Australian public is able to participate in the Audi Drive Experience. The idea of a manufacturer-based driving program isn’t new to Audi. The brand with the four rings launched the Audi quattro Experience in Germany in 1980 to demonstrate the dynamic benefits of quattro technology and to educate customers in defensive driving techniques. For 15 years, Audi Australia has also offered a simplified, half-day version of this program.

From 2012, five levels of the Audi Drive Experience will be available to Australian punters. The Audi Advanced Driving Experience introduces participants to the program, with a schedule that includes a slalom course, understeer and oversteer identification, high-speed emergency braking with obstacle avoidance and further education about sound driving practice. Driving a range of cars from within the Audi stable, this full-day course costs $750 and will equip participants with greater awareness of accident avoidance and enhanced everyday driving techniques.

Building on that knowledge, the Audi Performance Driving Experience introduces participants to the exhilarating S and RS model range, as well as some motorkhana and racetrack exercises. This full-day course costs $1190.

For the true driving enthusiast, it is possible to progress to the next level of truly spirited driving, with the Audi Sportscar Experience. For $2990, enthusiasts are introduced to the specific skills required for high-performance racetrack driving, behind the wheel of the incredible RS 5 and R8 sportscars. One-on-one personal coaching is provided so that participants get the most out of the day, and to ensure that this experience truly is one to remember.

The Audi Race Experience is the pinnacle, allowing discerning drivers the chance to join a very exclusive group of people that have piloted the formidable Audi R8 LMS GT3 racecar. For the most part, this group consists of the racing elite, and the car that is used for the Audi Race Experience is the very same model that won back-to-back Bathurst 12 Hour races in 2011 and 2012 – Audi’s ‘Kangaroo-emblazoned’ race car.

Of course, the chance to drive the TT RS and R8 V10 earlier in the day is the stuff of dreams, but the opportunity to learn all the aspects of how to correctly drive a racecar like the R8 LMS is very rare. This full-day package costs $5990 and also includes the dietary and nutritional information that is afforded professional drivers preparing for track events.

For the ultimate demonstration of the benefits of quattro, harking back to the original Audi quattro Experience of the 1980s, the Audi Ice Experience held at the Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground in New Zealand offers participants the opportunity to test their skills on a low-grip icy surface. The two-day program includes a unique driving challenge that is available for $5700.

A highly-experienced team of 11 advanced driving instructors, led by Steve Pizzati, travelled to Seefield, Austria in January to take part in AUDI AG’s ‘train-the-trainer’ education program, ahead of the launch of the Audi Drive Experience in Australia. Pizzati himself is well-known to the Australian public as a former host of Top Gear Australia, but as well as being an entertainer, he is a professional race driver, an engineer and a true Audi ambassador. His vision for the program is simple, and is shared by Audi: to develop Australia’s leading drive program.

Courses are available nationally, and commence in July 2012.

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