Wine and my day with an Audi R8

Took a few vacation days (have to use them all up soon or I lose them) and I have been having a blast. Yesterday drove up to Napa and visited the MUMM Champagne house and had a bite to eat with family at Applebee’s. And later , took in CHEAP TRICK. Was a tight act by rock and roll granpas. 90 mins straight non stop. Scored a free front row seat at the UPTOWN theatre in Napa ! Awesome place, used to show movies, now devoted to live shows.

Today, had a date with the Audi R8. The new 2014 R8 v8 (they wont have the v10 for that track at this time).

Cones and five laps in the morning followed by 3 sets of five laps in the afternoon. I think i maybe hit 100mph on the straight only. Hot laps by instructors were at 115mph max. Infineon is known as the most technical course in America. Not an all out high speed track.

By my second set of five laps it was starting to feel like W.O.R.K. ! And it is hard work keeping it all stitched together !!

Maybe I should’ve gone for the leisurely all day R8 drive up to Bodega Bay and lunch and motored back?

The helmet barely fit me even though it was an XL. I guess i just got your average giant sized head.

Pics a-comin, stay tuned.

OH , and stopped by the Domaine Carneros to try their famous Pinot Noir. Was pretty awesome. They do champagne too (it’s owned by Taittinger) . Funny why champagne houses when they do still wines, tend to do Pinot Noir? Probably because a lot of pinot is used in champagne making ?

9 bucks plus tax/tip or 12 bucks for a glass. Steep but the bottle is 36 bucks.

I know someone who knows someone so I am planning to see BERLIN, JEWEL and CHRIS ISAAC live in concert this month or next month.

Ok i better shup up or i start sounding like im braggin.

When in Napa, there’s so many wineries to choose from to visit. Iv only done a very small handful so far . But I would recommend first time visitors to do the ROBERT MONDAVI tour. Costs 25 dollars and it’s 2 hours. And fantastic.

Right next door is Domaine Chandon, so you can see how bubbly is made. Great tour and tasting and facilities. 25/head tour plus three small tastings. And you get to keep your flute.

Domaine Carneros. Their tour is ok. But the Grounds are beautiful, as you can see here:

They do bubbly and pinot noir. Well respected.

Missed the tours at MUMM Champagne in Napa (on the Silverado trail) .

They do a free tour (no tasting) at 10am, followed by 25 dollar tours at 11am, 1 pm and 3 pm . I got there at 330pm so I missed it. But i went to visit their very nice photo gallery and they had a pleasant tasting room. Carlos Santana has his own two bubblies there.

the grounds.

pictures for sale (priced 1300 and above)
They also have a permanent Ansel Adams picture gallery.

Should’ve tried the Santana at 12 dollars a glass (did the respected 10 dollar Brut Reserve instead)

Pleasant tasting room

And now my date with the 2014 R8 v8 Stronic twin clutch.

Was quite a date. Too bad I couldn’t take her home with me.

“my” R8

I wanted to take this baby home too :

I was tired out by the last run of the day. The final set of five laps.

The instructors drive the TTS as, believe it or not, these babies go faster around the track due to the track being so tight .

Downtown Napa is becoming very chic nowadays. Lots of little wine bars and tony restaurants.

Went for pizzas at Azzurro . $130 bucks for 4 people. So it was not cheap, but well worth it. Great pizza. Penne pasta not as good. Didn’t order wine as they were 10 to 30 dollars a GLASS !

Downtown Napa has a night market from 5pm to 9pm on Thursdays (they call it a Farmers Market).

Rowdy, and fun and lots to see/do/buy.

I got 20 bucks worth of peaches, cherries and strawberries. All local produce and sweet tasting.

Sweet. GH Mumm and Moët-Chandon both totally have it going on, their sparklers are very good and improving fast. With a bullet.

So does Louis Roederer in the Anderson valley. Roederer Estates makes some gorgeous sparklers there, another bullet.

[quote=“flike”]Sweet. GH Mumm and Moët-Chandon both totally have it going on, their sparklers are very good and improving fast. With a bullet.

So does Louis Roederer in the Anderson valley. Roederer Estates makes some gorgeous sparklers there, another bullet.[/quote]

I think the Chandon is as good as the french made Moet ! For half the money.

I haven’t tried Roederer. Never been to the Anderson Valley wineries either. Assume they have them up there. There’s also the ones near the Russian River and LIvermore, I think. I haven’t been over there yet.

I still think ROBERT MONDAVI does the best tour. Iv been on several of them. My visitors all get taken on one it seems.

By the way, Tom of Taiwan, Ima telling the wimmen I share this with that you look Inspired Not Tired in that Bell-helmet photo.

Personally I think yer a winsome-looking 40-ish bastard (I have a horrible track record when it comes to identifying men of any age who’re honey to wimmen of any age, fwiw), because there have been some questions, here and there. Just so you know my brother. Doing what an E-coast bro can do for a W-coast bro, my son. :wink:

Yer virtual wingman, flike.

Ha thanks flike !

Actually i was a bit anxious as I was Car Two waiting behind the instructor and the other R8 in our little group. In radio contact with the instructor in our group (only) waiting for directions. Windows rolled up, aircon on COLD in the 100 degree heat. Seating position checked, mirrors checked , both hands on steering wheel at 9 and 3 positions, rear view checked (not that i am going to be looking backwards). S- tronic gearbox in Sport and Manual modes. Just looking to make this final set the fastest set yet .

First and second group of cars just took off, we are waiting for a 25 second gap to roar onto the track, then its GO GO GO… . …no time to breathe for next five laps till back in the pit lane !!

So, long day for me, starting at 6am. And here it is at 3pm and we are going out for final and fastest set. Just wanted to get it going.

One final set will be filmed and in a few weeks I can download it. And I will put it on here.

Meantime, heres an R8 going through the paces just before we got back onto the track. …

Not a whole lot of interest in fast cars and wine country tours on forumosa . But I am just going to patter on a bit more.

Here’s how the near pros do this circuit. This is Bud in his own F1 car doing the circuit. Those babies can get right up to speed like RIGHT NOW. I see he hits 170 plus miles per hour in the straights. I may have hit just over a hundred. Course I am in a stock standard R8 v8 though. And I don’t have Bud’s driving skills either.

I see my vid is not up and running yet. Hopefully soon.

Alright so talking with a bud of mine who read this posting , he had a few fair comments. One was that perhaps i had posted in the wrong thread. Should’ve posted in CArs and MOtorcycles or something.

Also he said i didnt say anything about the car or driving on a track. Maybe some people who have not driven the R8 or driving on a track would like some details.


The R8 is the best car i personally have driven. It is the least expensive of the supercars. At about 150,000 to 200,000 it is certainly on the less expensive side as far as supercars go. It is actually a sister car to the Lamborghini Gallardo (Audi owns Lamborghini).

The one i drove was a V8. There is a V10 version which is about 20,000 dollars more. And that one uses the same engine the Gallardo does. It has about 525 hp versus this one having 420hp. Which was fun enough for me.

This 2014 version has the new dual clutch automatic that many cars in the VW group use. The most common being the A3 and the VW Golf. The Bugatti Veyron uses a special version. And Porsche uses it also , calling it the PDK.

I recently drove a 2012 Porsche Cayman R with the PDK and i must say its quite a nice “bargain” at half the price of the R8 v8 and almost as much fun.

Of course the R8 performs just flawlessly. Is a super pleasure to drive. The car is very easy to drive and control and it just obeys your every command. It just takes off when you press the loud pedal !

I would love to own one of course. And so would a lot of other people.

It is said to be the easiest supercar to drive as well. And I can certainly believe that.

Driving on the track. Its exciting but its very intense so it is a rush. Infineon especially is known as a highly technical track where you basically go from turn to turn, barely catching your breath. It has elevation changes, camber changes, etc.

Other then in an F1 race car, it’s probably hard to much exceed 100mph in your road car (even supercars such as the R8 and Ferrari 430, etc).

The track is a rush but the concentration required makes it anything but leisurely.

That’s why Audi Sportscar Experience also offers a 1395 dollar program where you can drive an R8 down to the coast and have lunch at a fine restaurant and drive back. Basically get to drive an R8 for the day and enjoy it on regular roads.

The track event is about 1895 dollars per day, so it is rather pricey.

I got to do it for FREE (thanks to my employers) for winning a mini contest at work.

On my money i would wait for the half day events that they have on occasion. Which is around 650. And that is certainly well worth it.

I have done one of those. You get two cone exercises, a nice meal. An hour in the classroom and a set of five laps in something like an RS5 and a set of five laps finally in the R8.

So boys and girls, if you are going to be in Sonoma for a period of time. Check into it.

And of course, check out the many many fine wine makers and their wares.


I’ve been wanting to go to Sonoma for a while now. Isn’t there a required safety deposit for this? kinda like $15,000 or something along those lines? (I think that’s the norm for exotics in Nevada).

No deposit. Just plunk 1895 on your credit card and you are good to go ! Far as I know.

link: … xperience/

[quote=“tommy525”]No deposit. Just plunk 1895 on your credit card and you are good to go ! Far as I know.

link: … xperience/[/quote]

Thanks for the link! the autocross looks fun as well, will check more into that :sunglasses:

Finally got the vid of yours truly driving the R8. …

I think my lap times were around 2 and a half minutes . While the guy (Bud) in his F1 was doing a whole minute faster. But then he is in an F1 race car that goes from 30 to 170 MPH in literally SECONDS.

Must be a hoot to take one of those around the track a couple of times.

a nice explanation of an R8

This is how the big boys do it ! Audi LMS event in South Korea.

Real Race prepared R8 ! REal race cars.