Fueling up for world domination at the drive-thru Starbucks in Blythe, California, just past the AZ border. Next stop? San Diego!
Emil and Keri purchased the car through a wholesaler friend of theirs out in Jersey, as it would've been too much to deal with to get Keri's 911 cabrio out to New York in time for the rally. Keri also admits that she's not as adept at driving stick as she'd like to be. Which is fine, because we'll admit that we're not as adept at it as we'd like to be, either. Regardless, she only really scared us once, on a decreasing-radius onramp in San Diego rife with expansion joints. But the Quattro, combined with the uprated tire-and-wheel package, totally kept the car stuck to the road. The ramp was marked at 45mph. We were doing around 75. It seemed like the huge sedan was defying the laws of physics as we knew them.
While the Audi was at a disadvantage across the wide-open Interstates of the Midwest, it really came into its own in the twistier, backroad and/or traffic-laden routes of Nevada, Arizona and California, where the 4.2 V8's torque cranked the long-wheelbase A8 over the hills with ease. Plus, we were running a New Jersey out-of-state temp tag in the front window with no rear plate. Eat that, cameras.
The equipment list was spartan, but well-chosen. The theme was "None More Black," and frankly, nobody could question our blackness. Rolling on wheels purchased from Funkmaster Flex's shop with mad-sticky tires and a dark tint, the Audi blended in where other Bullrun cars (including the Los Matadors Gallardo SE) stuck out, giving us an advantage in the traffic-laden, CHP-beset environs of Los Angeles. We were set up with a Kenwood CB, a Valentine One radar detector, and the not-entirely-affectionately nicknamed "Nav Bitch," the A8's OEM sat-nav system that had us double checking its instructions against a Rand-McNally road atlas.
Besides the speed limiter (the car wasn't originally equipped with tires that could handle the car's true top speed, and with only a week to prep the car, they didn't have time to get it re-chipped), the only disadvantages were that the front end was out of alignment and the brakes were somewhat worn, leading to some funky pedal modulation. But the biggest problem was that in the quest for blackness, the girls had chosen a tint that was too dark, making it tough to make out telltale police headlight shapes, leading us to try to peer through the tiny space between the top of the CHMSL and the bottom of the tint. Still, in the two days we were in the Audi, we never got nicked, and from anecdotal evidence, we're thinking that they finished with one of the lowest ticket counts of any of the teams that ran near the front of the pack.
The afternoon after the end of the Bullrun, the A8L was stripped of its rallying livery and went off to the grocery store with Keri. Although it still looked badass — as well as far less ostentatious — it made us rather sad. Make no mistake, children, Bullrun Damage is a very real psychological condition.
More on the Bullrun [Internal]