The Audi Sport Driving Experience is the ultimate car-lovers' day out

Piloting a $400K V10-powered supercar sideways on a wet road would normally be reason for panic. After all, the prospect of 449kW of screaming V10 heading backwards is not much fun.

Fortunately, we're on a big expanse of bitumen known as a skid pan, where the worst thing you can hit is a malleable witch's hat.

Sprinklers spit water across the surface, the cascade designed to upset the balance of our cars, a pair of Audi R8s.

Grid up

It's one of a number of exercises as part of the Audi Sport Driving Experience, an easy way to get behind the wheel of the pinnacle of the German brand's lineup.

For $1500 the full-day course includes access to all manner of fast Audi machinery, including the R8.

While the two R8s we're driving look almost identical, there's a key difference beneath the skin: one drives only the rear wheels (and drops power to 397kW), the other drives all four wheels via Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system.

Punch the accelerator in the rear-drive model – a limited edition run known as RWS, or Rear Wheel Series – and the V10 quickly overcomes the grip of the tyres, with plenty of sliding and (occasionally) spinning ensuing.

Get it right and you can feather the accelerator for a controlled slide, the tantalising scream from the supercar engine (also shared with the Lamborghini Huracan) topping off a slow but exciting experience.

Settle down

Not that you'll be trying to set a new lap record in an R8 from the second you arrive. The Driving Experience day begins with some basics, including practise making the most of anti-lock brakes.

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Some cornering techniques and good old fashioned sliding are also thrown into the mix, the combination giving a taste of what's to come.

It's all about enjoying the machinery while improving your driving.

As chief instructor Steve Pizzati jokes, "we don't tell people we're teaching them things".

Fast and furious

In an era of over-policing and speed cameras it's refreshing to know you can drive to the conditions and explore the limits of cars designed to offer so much more than a sprint to 100km/h.

We're at The Bend motorsport park a bit over an hour south-east of Adelaide. It's the result of a circa-$100 million investment that opened early in 2018.

It's not only the newest motorsport facility in Australia but also home to the longest track in the country, at 7.77km (by way of comparison, Mount Panorama at Bathurst is 6.21km).

Combined with superb pit facilities and various tracks and play areas it's arguably the best playground for car lovers in the country.

Strap yourself in

Setting off on a lap is somewhat daunting, then, given it is unexplored territory.

For our hot lap we're using the Audi RS5, a two-door four-seater powered by a new 2.9-litre twin turbo V6.

Its 2.9-litre twin turbo V6 is shared with some Porsches and makes 331kW and 600Nm in a rush of revs. The dash to 100km/h takes 3.9 seconds. Quick, then.

Some challenging right-left-right early in the lap opens up into a faster kink that flows down to a hairpin.

It's here some of the undulations of the track are most pronounced, a challenging blind right-hander demanding concentration.

Speed freak

It's a track that challenges with the sheer number of corners and speed changes.

However, unlike Bathurst there are no very high-speed corners, the ones that have you mentally preparing for them in an effort to make sure you don't end up hurt.

Instead, it's a collection of varying and challenging bends, the occasionally tightening corner, blind crests and chicanes.

The sheer length of the place all but guarantees there will be at least some parts you won't remember, at least after our handful of laps.

Stepping up

The $156K RS5 is a terrific accompaniment for the lap challenge, its ample pull ensuring some big speeds.

The brakes slow things confidently, too, and grippy 20-inch tyres hang on well, although the nature of the track means you can have some find sliding it around.

The sound from its V6 engine is good rather than great; the model it replaced used a V8 with a more sonorous snarl.

Change of pace

Moving forward, The Bend will add to its go-fast repertoire, with a drag strip for straight-line testing.

There's also a short rally course and rallycross circuit for drifting.

Plus, there's more to this car lover's nirvana than going fast.

Even the foyer to the pitlane hotel has an amazing collection of rare cars, including significant V8 Supercar racers. During our visit there was a Porsche Carrera GT and a Ferrari F50, among other exotica.

Off-roaders can also experience the four-wheel drive course, with water crossings, hills and plenty of rocks.

The final hurdle

The biggest challenge with The Bend is getting there.

It's an hour and a quarter from Adelaide at Tailem Bend (the location used to be Mitsubishi's test track).

But there's currently an airstrip being constructed.