MANY Australian motorists have never exceeded 100km/h, most have no idea of what ABS really is or does, and pitifully few would know what to do if their car got into a slide.
Advanced driving instructors are appalled at the tuition of so-called driving schools, where people are taught to pass a simple test, but not how to drive, or enjoy a car.
Exceptions are enthusiasts, who tend to undergo courses, often run by premium car brands, among them Porsche, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
In a new move, the Audi course, previously open only to owners, will from July be available to anyone keen to improve his or her skills.
You don’t have to own an Audi.
The German brand’s Drive Experience program is a $6.8million, 40-carinvestment presented by a dozen hand-picked instructors which will go around the nation, presenting its benefits at racing circuits, Perth’s Barbagallo Raceway included.
The training fleet includes a Q-series SUVs, A1 Sport hatches, fiery S and RS models, eight R8 V10s and a brace of full-on R8 LMS racers.
Most of the instructors, led by Steve Pizzati, are former Porsche driver trainers, among them Dean Canto, Ian Dyk and Luke Youlden, all graduates of Audi’s ‘train the trainer’ course in Austria.
The skill-building program covers five levels and each is a full day course. Mit catering.
It starts with a $750 advanced ‘experience’ and goes on to an $1190 performance course, which includes racetrack action in RS 5 and R8 models; then there’s the $2990 sports car component and it ends with a $5990 Audi Race Experience in the Bathurst-winning R8 LMS.
Audi expects only two per cent of its intake to go as far as the race experience.
There’s also a $5700 Ice Experience, held in New Zealand.
We slotted into a quick mix of levels two to four at the Phillip Island circuit, and under expert tutelage, fanged an RS 5 through the slaloms, flung a TT RS through the chicanes and played follow the leader around the GP circuit at ever-increasing speeds in an R8.
Had a ball, came back with some newfound skills, a sharper mind and an acute awareness of the abject lack of driving skills on our roads, brought about by the endless dumbing down policies of successive governments.
The Audi Experience comes at a cost.
But what price life? And if you can get so much fun and driving competence thrown in, isn’t it a bargain?
All the goss is on audi.com.au/driving