Nice driving report here of the Audi R8 GT, one of the first from the US.
The radio crackles to life as I adjust my hand position on the carbon-fiber stemmed alloy shifter marked 000/333. A voice comes over the choppy speaker saying, “George, we’re going to do four laps where you follow Emanuele and then four more where you take the lead.”
“Emanuele” would be Emanuele Pirro. He’s been hanging about the track this morning and apparently he’s stepped into the run-of-the-mill Audi R8 instructor car here at the Audi Sportscar Experience at Infineon Raceway. The Le Mans driving legend will the guest pilot of the instructor chase car this time out.
For Pirro, a few laps around Infineon probably a walk in the park. He’s raced the LMP1 prototype from which the R8 got its name and he’s even done so at this very track. He’s won Le Mans outright five times, but his real stand out stat when it comes to La Sarthe and racecar driving in general is his consistency. From the moment Audi began its assault on Le Mans in 1999, there wasn’t a single year that Emanuele didn’t stand somewhere on that Rolex podium until 2007, nine years in a row and two years after the long-running Audi R8 racecar had been retired.
I do my best to quash any concerns about looking stupid in front or behind such a racing legend and remind myself that this might just be one of the best opportunities for driving instruction I’m likely to experience… and I’m not alone.