The ultimate road trip header

The ultimate road trip

Fast cars, country lanes and open roads...
Welcome to the first Audi Sport Open Road Experience

An Audi Sport flag flying in the wind

Audi vehicles lined up at the Open Road Experience

The sun nudges its way through a thin veil of autumnal mist, illuminating the bucolic Cotswolds landscape. It is a restful scene – until the lusty roar of an Audi R8 cuts through the air, joined by a symphony of other Audi Sport vehicles revving into life, all ready to be test-driven on Audi Sport’s very first Open Road Experience.

This exciting new event offers customers a chance to get fully acquainted with a wide range of Audi Sport vehicles, and navigate them down some of the best roads in the country. We were invited along to the luxury Tewkesbury Park Hotel in Gloucestershire to soak up the atmosphere and share the fun with 12 other participants. It is the automotive equivalent of a tasting menu, and on offer this weekend was a tempting spread of high-performance cars that included the RS 5 Coupé, the R8 Coupé and Spyder, RS 6 Avant, RS 7 Sportback, and RS 3 Sportback and Saloon.

Audi vehicles driving down a country lane at the Open Road Experience

Participants enjoying fine dining at the Open Road Experience

To take full advantage of the surroundings, the Audi team devised two routes through both the Cotswolds and Brecon Beacons. These cut a path through some of the UK’s most beautiful scenery and offered drivers an engaging variety of single-track country lanes, roads and motorways, so the cars could be put to the test in a range of conditions. The routes also factored in lunch stops at gourmet dining destinations, such as Thyme in Southrop, where the drivers could refuel on delicious cuisine made from locally sourced produce.

The stops were also an opportunity for the participants to enjoy time in the company of like-minded car enthusiasts. When it came to getting advice on how to make the most of the cars, the Audi team was on hand at all times to offer support. Legendary triple Le Mans winner, former Audi Sport driver and Team Principal for Audi’s first fully factory-based Formula E programme Allan McNish made a special appearance too, while his R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 race car took pride of place in the hotel’s ‘Audi Sport’ room.

Participants at the Audi Sport Open Road Experience

The Audi R8 in red, driving down a country road at the Open Road Experience

The Q&A event: part of the Audi Sport Open Road Experience

‘I think it’s the freedom of driving that makes me love it so much,’ said McNish, as he prepared to host a post-dinner Q&A session at the hotel. ‘There’s a skill and art to driving, and a skill and art to understanding your car. You could say that this weekend is like the ultimate road trip.’ Written by Alan Daniels. Photographs by Alexander Rhind


Find out more about the Audi Open Road Experience