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Audi Australia’s Audi Drive Experience program is now open to the public for the first time after 15 years of being strictly invitation only.

Audi will take its $6.8 million Audi Drive Experience fleet of 40 cars – including six Audi R8 V10s and two Audi R8 LMSs – around the country to Australia’s best racetracks to give drivers of all skill levels the opportunity to take part in the five-tier program.

The Audi Drive Experience stems from the original Audi Quattro Experience launched in Germany in 1980 to introduce and educate drivers to the capabilities of Audi vehicles and build on their own skills when behind the wheel.

The five courses of the program include Advanced, Performance, Sportscar, Race and Ice.

The Advanced course is an introductory one with drivers partaking in a slalom course, understeer and oversteer identification, high-speed emergency braking with obstacle avoidance as well as education about sound driving practice. The full-day course aims to equip participants with greater awareness of accident avoidance and enhanced everyday driving techniques and will set you back $750.

The Performance course builds on the previous course while allowing participants into the driver’s seat of a range of Audi S and RS models, and covers some motorkhana and racetrack exercises. This full-day course costs $1190.

The $2990 full-day Sportscar course is a step further and moves into high-performance racetrack driving skills with one-on-one personal coaching while steering two of Audi’s big-power players: the RS5 and R8.

The top tarmac-level Race Experience allows drivers the chance to pilot not only the TT RS and R8 V10 but also a ‘proper’ racecar, the Audi R8 LMS GT3 (pictured above) – the car that won back-to-back Bathurst 12 Hour races in 2011 and 2012. The course covers not only all aspects of how to correctly drive a racecar but also the dietary and nutritional information that is normally only afforded to professional drivers. The full-day track-preparation package costs $5990.

The final course offered is the $5700 Ice Experience. Taking place at the Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground in New Zealand, participants spend two days on low-grip icy surfaces taking full advantage of Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system while putting their driving skills to the test.

The Audi Drive Experience programs are run by a highly-experienced team of 11 advanced driving instructors led by former Top Gear Australia host and racing driver Steve Pizzati, a strong believer in driver safety. Pizzati told CarAdvice improving road safety in Australia is a significant part of the program.

“Statistically, [driving is] the most dangerous thing we do,” he said.

Courses will be available nationally starting in July 2012.

Click on the Gallery for more photos.




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