Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Audi R8 Experience

Being the car fanatic that I am, one item on my ‘must do’ list was to visit a car factory or two as well as a motorcycle factory. Lamborghini was number one on my list and before we left Oz, I was gutted to find out they were closing the factory for a refit. Yep I even lost sleep over it. So after getting over my boyish dream of visiting the Lamborghini factory, I went to work, trying to find an alternative. Next on the list was Ferrari and sure enough they had a tour available and the best feature…it’s free! The worst part….you have to be a Ferrari owner to even get a look in. Doh! Not sure a matchbox Ferarri would count. Running out of options I decided to look into the Audi R8 or Porsche tour. Looking over forums and websites, it was obviously near impossible to get one with Audi and Porsche were not commencing tours until after the 6th of September. Appreciating the Audi R8 more and being one of top 3 cars I would love to own, I decided to send out an email via the Audi website and see what my chances might bring. As it turned out, my persistence paid off and what I thought was impossible, was not so impossible after all! A top bloke by the name of Stewart emailed me back, telling me it will cost me €150 for a tour and he went about organising a date for us. Now I know many of you might be thinking €150 is a lot of money just to go see a car being built and yes I do agree that it was a little on the extortionate side but after learning about Lamborghini and Ferrari I was determined to see this car being built and not many people get this opportunity.

The day finally came for us on Sept 10 and when arriving to the factory, the place was as big as the village of Neckarsulm itself. First impressions when walking into Audi Forum were – wow! After a short scan of the 3 story showroom we were met by Peter, the director of the tours team who went on to give us a personalised tour – I felt veeeeery special. We hopped onto an empty bus and drove around to the R8 body shop. On the bus we were about to get the camera out to take a self-portrait but were quickly interrupted by Peter as no photos were allowed within the premises. Disappointed but not surprised.

Walking through the factory doors, the first thing you notice is the place is absolutely immaculate! A place for everything and everything in its place. Guys and girls (yes there was one) were cranking away welding the front, middle and rear sections of the framework ready for a final weld to make it one complete chassis. What makes this car really impressive was that the whole body is 100% aluminium – not the easiest material to work with. Equally as impressive is that the 80% of the R8 is built by hand….hence the high price tag.

All I can say is that it was one of the greatest things I enjoyed taking the time to see. Everything from the body construction, the engine being systematically placed into the car and even getting to hold a set of ceramic brakes was like all my Christmas’s coming at once! I was definitely like a kid in a candy store. We even got to take away some small component souvenirs. Unfortunately no test drives were allowed but after seeing how much effort and detail Audi put into building the R8, they had me sold! I would love to own one. A far stretch at the moment but you never know, we’ll have to wait and see. I think I may have succeeded in converting Sal at least. We spent the last few moments soaking up what we had just seen, looking at all the cars from years past and present and we concluded the tour with a gastronomic experience in their very fine restaurant.


Dreams don't cost anything

Polished aluminium body, no paint and no clear coat. Not for sale.


Israel said...

I think I had a cargasm looking at those pictures...

oops I did it again....

Lachlan Palmer said...


R8 is up there on my top 5 of cars i dream about owing. if i ever find my way to germany i'm going to have to try and book in for a tour!

i'm glad you guys are having an awesome adventure of a trip, i love catching a blog post every so often to catch up on what adventure you are up to now ;)

catch ya


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