words: Jason Cupp, photos: Jason Cupp, Audi AG
Editor’s Note: This article originally ran in the Q2_2020 issue of quattro Magazine. If you would like to subscribe to quattro Magazine, please join Audi Club here.
A first-hand account from a first-time participant
In January, I had the chance to join dozens of other Audi enthusiast across the pond in Germany and Austria for one of the most epic car driving, tactical racing, learning, networking and fun vacations ever.
I’d learned of this trip back in 2019 via an email from Audi Club and was instantly intrigued. Who wouldn’t want to drive and race an Audi on the ice in Seefeld, Austria? Since I’m a travel aficionado and also love exploring Western Europe, my discovery started with researching the locations the trip would touch. Fly to Munich, a day in Ingolstadt at Audi Headquarters, then off to Seefeld. These were all places I had never been before yet were on my list. Was this too good to be true? Upon further research, I learned this was a tried and true Audi driving experience. I immediately started talking to a local Audi Club member who attended this same trip a few years prior. In that short phone call, I came to realize this was something that I had to attend. I signed up right away.
I took the opportunity to fly to Munich a week early, exploring parts of Northern Italy, Eastern Austria, and Southern Germany on my own – all via car. This meant the Autobahn! I found it exhilarating to drive these esteemed roads – with no speed limit – and see the countryside, taking in all that the area had to offer. It was spectacular. I figured if I were going to fly to Munich for the Audi driving experience, I should add on vacation as well. Many other attendees did the same thing, either coming early or staying late.
The actual Audi driving experience event began on Sunday evening at our hotel in Munich proper. Our opening reception was hosted by Audi Club, and I was able to meet our Audi Club host, Roger Labas. It was great to have someone to help guide our trip at the beginning, and to encourage and create an environment for all the members, and guests attending, to get to know one another. As we enjoyed one another’s company in that cocktail reception and the dinner that followed, I realized that our group of thirty enthusiasts would become friends with a shared experience as the week unfolded.
The next morning, we all rose early for breakfast then boarded a motor coach to head to the Mothership in Ingolstadt. Our time at Audi Headquarters was the perfect way to start the trip. What we began to experience was a big surprise – taking a tour of Audi Tradition, where we learned about every car that Audi has ever produced – up close and in person. I’m still in amazement at what I saw and heard, and our guide at Audi Tradition and Audi AG, Simon Meier, was an amazing host for the day. Any question we asked about Audi’s history, he knew the answer.
After Ingolstadt, we were back on the motor coach for a short drive to Audi Sport in Neuburg, Germany. Here we were able to see cars that are not yet available in the United States, but more importantly, every one of us was able to take a “Hot Lap” in an R8 with a professional Audi Sport driver. It was amazing – and what an adrenaline rush! I particularly enjoyed how the drivers educated us about the R8, its tires, engine, braking, acceleration, and even the creature comforts. The lap environment was second-to-none since the rest of our trip would be on the ice. I will admit that going 200 km/h out of the gate was amazing! After a delicious catered meal above the track, sponsored by Audi Sport, we were back in the motor coach for the drive to Seefeld, Austria.
Upon arrival in the beautiful skiing town of Seefeld, we were immediately greeted by our host for the week, Catherine. She was with Audi driving experience and was the leader of the rest of our event. She was amazing – handling everything from making sure our hotels and meals were amazing (they were!) to confirming every last detail was planned, on time, and executed flawlessly.
Our hotel in Seefeld was stunning. Set at the base of the skiing mountain, but perched on top of the town, it was the perfect backdrop for the rest of the event. Meals at the hotel were traditional to the area and varied to include different local cuisine, but delicious and to the standard you’d expect attending an Audi event.
The real action happened in the next two days and is so hard to put into words. As we arrived in a convoy of vehicles – everything from an SQ5, to RS 5, to A8, and even the e-tron – the course itself was beautiful. We could have stopped there.
We immediately met our driving instructors for the week – Oliver, Ludwig, and Florian. They were informative, great teachers, amazing encouragers, and very, very patient with us. They taught us many driving techniques – oversteer, understeer, braking, braking to avoid an accident, crazy eights, powerslides – and so much more.
Each exercise we learned over the two days of non-stop driving on the ice would get us to the pinnacle event at the end – a time trial that took all of what we learned into a racecourse set up by the instructors. Each driver was able to “race” through the course in an RS 5 Coupé and an A8. Our time was taken, deductions made for hitting any cones, and the winners were announced later that afternoon. It was awesome!
At the end of that day, we had the treat of having hot apple cider up at the lodge, and got to hang out with all the attendees, their guests and the Audi driving experience team and instructors. The final adrenaline rush was the gift of our instructors – a hot lap on a special course they set up in an RS 5 Sportback and an A8. Wow, wow, WOW!
That night, we had a final dinner at an exclusive hotel and restaurant – with a private tour and a visit to their wine cellar. It was magical. The food and drink were amazing – and my feeling from
many days earlier was solidified – this group had become great friends – all in the spirit of a car brand we all love – but mostly our love for cars and experience and racing and travel.
Many of us are already talking about attending another Audi driving experience in Finland in 2021, so that cements the connection and community that this trip gave us all. I’m grateful for this experience, and strongly recommend it to anyone who might consider it in the future, and I’m confident my co-participants would agree!
Editor’s Note II: Watch a full interview with Jason Cupp about his Seefeld Adventure on Audi Club Kansas City’s quattroBarn channel on Facebook and YouTube, or at www.quattrobarn.com.