2010 Audi R8 V-10Enlarge Photo
SONOMA, Calif.--If you've ever put a wheel off at Infineon Raceway, or come close, you know firsthand that it's a "challenging" track. Or as another car writer underlined with a vocal note of concern, "there are no runoffs."
So it's with mixed admiration and incredulity that I signed up for a high-speed tour of Infineon, courtesy of the 2010 Audi R8 V-10. Right car, right idea--but, Audi, are you sure? And how sure am I of my ability to stay out of harm's way?
No worries, as it turned out. Infineon's imperfections gave way last week to a perfect sunny Sonoma day--the best chance to play with the new V-10 version of the R8. And by the time that track officials called time, no one had spun off into oblivion, or so much as dented any of the R8s brought out to play.
Most of the credit for accident avoidance in this stunning, 525-horsepower version of the R8 goes to its incredibly balanced demeanor, not to my great skill behind the wheel. Effectively, it was my first drive in an R8 altogether. For two years, the base R8's blend of willing V-8 power and composed handling has been vaguely off-limits: my only test drive came the day of the only snowfall in Atlanta in two years. With crappy weather and an unsure fate, I parked the R8 after 50 miles and waited patiently for this chance to explore its supercar goods.