As a journalist in the motoring and motorsport industry, we often get invited to press events for the introduction of new manufacturer models. This involves either a day driving event or an overnight stay with driving the next day. As you can imagine, in our market, launches happen all over Europe and the UK, and I have been fortunate enough to have been invited along to some truly fantastic press launches. And this time around I would like to share some of my memorable Audi moments with you.
A few launches stand out, such as the introduction of the Audi R8 V10 in Spain, a trip up to Scotland where severe flooding closed one of the testing routes in the hills. I had put my name down for the passenger ride with rally legend Hannu Mikkola, but, unfortunately, this had to be cancelled because some of the hillside and forest had slid down onto the road. On another occasion, an overnight stay in Althorp House, the family home of the late Lady Diana, was a very special memory.
And still another great memory, was the drive through the hills of Austria (I was expecting Julie Andrews to come skipping across the fields at any moment), to the test route of the legendary Audi quattro, Turracher Höhe. Our route that time also took us past the original birthplace of the Porsche 356, what a privilege! I couldn’t get the coffee machine to work in my hotel room though, you needed to be a rocket scientist to work that one out – mind you, neither could the hotel staff…
Below is a collection of photographs from the many Audi press drives that I attended, or press cars that I have driven, between 2007 and 2015. I hope you enjoy them!
2007 Audi TT 2.0 FSI photographed at Shardeloes, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, UK
The 2008 Audi A5 2.7 TDI looks stunning against the backdrop of Silverstone circuit
2008 Audi TTS negotiates the tight lanes of Llanllwni, in West Wales
This 2009 Audi A3 2.0 T S-line contrasts well against the harsh backdrop of the Pencarreg quarry, West Wales (top left)
Driving the 2009 Audi R8 V10 through the hills above Granada on the occasion of the model’s launch in southern Spain was an awesome experience (top right)
This 2009 Audi S3 sits on the Millenium Walk, North Docks, Llanelli, on an unusually tranquil day in west Wales (bottom left)
The Audi TT RS was photographed during the lunch break at the launch of the 2009 TT RS launch in Hurley, Buckinghamshire, UK (bottom right)
The elegant Audi A8 TDi poses against a typical rural restaurant setting on the occasion of the car’s launch in 2010 in Le Castellet, France
The line-up of Audi RS 3 Sportback quattro on the tarmac at Velden Airport, Austria in June 2011, ready for the journalists to drive off into the beautiful countryside. The charter aircraft that we had just arrived on can be seen in the background ( below left)
We paused on the Audi RS 3 Sportback quattro press drive, to take in the view from the top of Turracher Höhe, Carinthia, Austria. This high pass is of course famous for the test drive of the original Audi quattro back in January 1978, and it is also not far from where Porsche commenced the production of its first 356 model in 1948 (above right)
Audi A1 Sportback at its 2012 press launch near Cheltenham, UK (top left)
The 2012 model Audi A3 is presented at the press launch at Coworth Park, Windsor, UK (top right)
In its natural habitat, the Audi A6 allroad quattro 2012 pauses on a drive near Bovey Castle, Dartmoor National Park, September 2012 (bottom left)
The 2012 model Audi Q7 3.0 TDI S-line splashes through a stream up on Llanllwni Mountain in West Wales (bottom right)
On the occasion of the press launch in 2013, this Audi RS 5 Cabriolet poses for a quick photograph at Coworth Park, Windsor, UK (left)
The stunningly powerful, but amazingly fuel efficient Audi SQ5 TDI, poses in its perfect setting at Coworth Park, Windsor, 2013 (right)
The sleek Audi S3 Saloon 2.0 TFSI quattro (Misano Red) weaves through the beautiful New Forest, Dorset, UK during the press drive in 2014 (top left)
A journalist colleague drives the Audi A3 Cabriolet Sport 2.0 TDI (Scuba Blue) during the early morning chill at the 2014 UK launch in the New Forest, Dorset, UK (top right)
The new 2014 Audi TTs lining up for the drive during the UK press launch November 2014 at Mar Hall, Bishopton, nr. Glasgow, Scotland (bottom row)
The Audi R8 V10 quattro looks stunning against the backdrop of Althorp House, Northampton, UK. This grand establishment has been the home of the Spencer family for more than 500 years, and has been owned by Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer since 1992. It was of course also the home of his sister, Lady Diana Spencer later Princess of Wales. And yes, I did sleep over…in the Queen Victoria suite!
I had the unforgettable experience of driving the all-new Audi R8 V10 plus during the press launch at Le Castellet, France, on 4 November 2015. We also had the pleasure of Ollie Jarvis’ company that evening at dinner. Our accommodation was the stunning Hotel & Spa Du Castellet, a stones’ throw from the Paul Ricard circuit.
I could not resist at least one motorsport shot in this collection. One of my favourite racing shots is of the #1 Audi e-tron quattro driven to victory by Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer in the WEC Silverstone 1000km on 26 August 2012
Written by: Glen Smale
Images by: Virtual Motorpix/Glen Smale