In the past, a driver buying a high-performance car would be handed the keys and then off on their merry way, to experience for themselves the performance of their vehicle... with occasionally destructive results. Now, it's not uncommon for companies like Porsche and BMW to offer driving experiences, letting customers get used to their vehicles in the safety of a track or skid pad.
Audi has become the latest to offer such a service, opening a high-tech complex in Neuburg an der Donau, near the automaker's headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany. It's the work of what Audi calls a "high double-digit million" investment, but a mere two years of construction. The site will employ 460 people and covers 47 hectares—housing four major centers of Audi operations.
One will be where Audi develops its future Le Mans winners, DTM stars and other racers, known as the Competence Center Motorsport. Here, various offices and workshops are home to engineers developing the teams' racing engines, and coordinating racing activities. Another vital center will be for Technical Development. Here, staff will develop future Audi systems such as cameras and driving assistance technology, while Audi Sport customer racing will also move into the site to look after the R8 LMS ultra vehicles for international GT racing activities.
But for Audi's road-going customers, the 30,000 square meter driving experience center will be most useful, with a driving dynamics area, handling circuit and off-road grounds. All will allow customers to get used to their cars in a professional environment—while a restaurant keeps attendees well-fed in between driving sessions.