Originally Posted by bruce.augenstein@comcast.
There's more, though.
Although race experience is amazingly helpful, the deal is that learning how to get the most out of a car on a given race track is easy, compared with getting the most from a car on the street.
On a race track, you've typically got twelve to fifteen turns, so if you have no race experience, it might take you 500 laps or more (with coaching) to start to get fast - but you'll get there in a tiny fraction of the time that it would take you on the street.
In actual point of fact, you can't get going really fast on the street - ever.
On track, there's never a kid running out there chasing a soccer ball, there's never sand or dirt or oil out there, there's never a couch positioned right across the road near the apex, or an eighteen wheeler coming around that blind curve, straddling the centerline, etc. -
- or if there is something out there that needs your attention, a corner worker will conveniently point that out to you using various flags.
On track, they also never put telephone poles, or fire hydrants, or whatever, next to the line.
So, a track is the only place you can go really fast. On the street, going really fast means you're going to sooner rather than later get maimed or killed, or be put behind bars - period.
Finally, it is very hard to overstate the difference between track driving and street driving. Very hard.
As to the RS4, if it wasn't scaring you from time to time, you just weren't going fast enough. The Audi needs some manhandling at the limit, meaning, for instance, oversharp turn-in while giving the brake pedal a sharp jab on some turns, just to get the damned thing to rotate. Trust me, when you're doing this, you're going to get it wrong from time to time, threatening underwear, at least.
Great points about unwise street driving. People should be be encouraged to do as many track days as possible, or at least autocross, to get the urge to race on the street out of their systems. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.
As far as the RS4, you allude to the the unfortunate understeer of this car due to engine placement, among other things. This can be corrected with experience and skill--real pro drivers can handle anything. For the track day person, it's more of a problem than the M3.