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Old 8th May 2012, 16:36   #1
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Default Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit

Driving on a race track is a surreal experience for many of us who have had the opportunity to do so.

I've on many occasions experienced the joys of both driving and riding on a race track - with my esteem at the Irungattukottai race track at Sriperambudur, near Chennai and with my Kawasaki Ninja 250R at the Kari Speedway at Coimbatore.

But when I was asked by GTO if I would be interested in driving the Mahindra XUV5OO at the Buddh International Circuit it just took me by surprise.

Yes, a surprise !

Drive on the Buddh International Circuit?

Wow !!!

I hadn't been to BIC earlier and had only seen the track on television and in pictures, and now I was asked if I wanted to drive on this world class race track? Yes sir, it would be my pleasure.

The second surprise for me was driving the XUV 5OO on the track. Like I mentioned above, I've driven on the track in a sedan, in a Formula LGB, FISSME and a Formula Swift too. But an SUV???!!!

I was visualizing body roll, a lot of it, more like a boat in a storm. Little did I want to do anything stupid like go too hot into a corner and lose control and have something terrible happen to the vehicle. This was playing at the back of my mind. But the good thing was the excitement was getting stronger by each passing minute.

The BIC! Wow.

So I reached Noida on Saturday morning, a little past midnight and sleep was not on the charts.

BIC !

Come Saturday morning (May 5th) I reached the track. All drivers had to go through the mandatory safety briefing. After the safety brief and signing of the indemnity forms, we were handed our helmets (and some goodies too - a cap, a tee, a nice and heavy coffee table book and a memento).

A line of XUV's were lined up, all ready and waiting for us to sample on the track:

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-1a.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-4.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-113.jpg

The Pace Car for the event, obviously an XUV:

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-110.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-111.jpg

Mahindra had also invited 100 Purple Club customers (selected through a contest) to come and drive the XUV 5OO on the track. They were also scheduled to experience a flying lap with Gaurav Gill and Lohitt Urs, INRC winning drivers.

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-102.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 11th May 2012 at 09:58. Reason: Removing document
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Old 8th May 2012, 17:17   #2
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Default Re: Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit

The team at Mahindra felicitated Gaurav Gill - Three time National Champion and APRC winning driver and Lohitt Urs - INRC winning driver, for the Podium finish in the Extreme Category at the Dakshin Dare & The Desert Storm 2012 rally.

The XUV is the first diesel SUV to win an extreme category in the history of Indian rallying.


The ceremony:


Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-112.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-114.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-115.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-116.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-117.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-118.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-119.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-120.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-121.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-122.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-125.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-126.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-127.jpg

The Rally spec XUV's:

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-129.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-130.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-131.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-132.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-133.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-134.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-136.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-137.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-135.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-138.jpg

Lohitt Urs mentioned it churns out some 150 odd horses and when fully prepped, it can reach 180 horses and probably a little bit more too.

I exchanged some pleasantries and chatted with Gaurav Gill for a few mins. Gaurav, no doubt highly skilled and immensely talented, is a very cool and down to earth chap.

Last edited by GTO : 11th May 2012 at 09:59.
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Old 8th May 2012, 17:17   #3
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Default Re: Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit

So back to Torque Day, each driver was to drive three laps in addition to one starting lap which was a get-to-know-the-track lap.

We were assigned our XUV's and I excitedly climbed into a deep red one. Adrenalin pumping and hands trembling, I adjusted the seats and mirrors to my requirement and waited for the pit crew to flag us off.

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-140.jpg

So there I was, behind the wheel of this behemoth, wondering if it will pull nicely off the pits into the end of the main straight into C-1 or will it take its own sweet time to get into the power band, will it bob from side to side since its an SUV, etc.

The XUV pumps out 330Nm of torque. There is hardly any turbo lag, acceleration is reasonably quick and torque is on a platter, straight from the word go. This is not a sleepy SUV. You don't have to stand on the gas pedal and wait for the needle to climb on the rev counter or wait for the turbo to spool and kick in. It handles very well for an SUV (refer to video). As with all diesels, power does taper off as the needle approaches the 5000 RPM mark.

Body roll is well controlled.

For a detailed review of the XUV, click here.

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-3.jpg

I enjoyed my short spin (not literally ) on the track. Three laps is all I had to enjoy the track and I made the most of it.

My co-driver, an auto journalist from Mumbai and a very senior gentleman (in age and experience), was kind enough to film a full lap while I was behind the wheel.



Verdict:

By SUV standards, the XUV500 handles surprisingly well on the track. The screeching tires on the corners did not stop me from pushing the heavy car, err, truck into the corners. Every time the rear stepped out, the electronics did their job to pull her back in line.

I hit 170 kph on the back straight (hear the warning beep? It comes up when the needle hits 150 kmph). I had a blast even though it was just three laps (I was thirsty for more, but had to return to the pit lane).

Last edited by GTO : 11th May 2012 at 10:03.
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Old 10th May 2012, 16:50   #4
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Default Re: Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit

Some random pics which I shot at the track:

Gaurav Gill's BMW 650i. It sounds mad, had a sports exhaust with a gurgling sound like the Aston Martin's.

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-097.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-098.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-099.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-100.jpg

A Mahindra Thar on display:

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-103.jpg

Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit-camera-dump-104.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 11th May 2012 at 10:04.
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Old 10th May 2012, 22:22   #5
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Default Re: Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit

Here's a video of the Torque Day:


Last edited by GTO : 30th May 2012 at 16:52. Reason: Adding video
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Old 10th May 2012, 22:49   #6
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Default Re: Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit

You lucky guy Adi. Man driving on the Buddh must be a surreal experience. Excellent report and pics.

I'm pleasantly surprised about the XUV doing so well on track. Good handling from a 2 ton tall SUV is a remarkable feat.

Also noticed some wheelspin in second gear from the video. Very impressive.
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Old 10th May 2012, 23:16   #7
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Default Re: Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit

Aditya, was your XUV500 completely stock? Was there any corner where you felt the XUV might topple over?

I like what the promoters of Buddh Circuit are doing - getting car companies like Mercedes, Mahindra, Maruti etc to use the circuit for advertising, product launches and customer relations. There is still lot more potential though.
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Old 10th May 2012, 23:29   #8
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Default Re: Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit

Wow, awesome!

Though not sure about the purpose of having a SUV driven by enthusiasts on a racing tack except for marketing & advertising purposes.

Were you driving the XUV on the limit in the video? Though it looked like you initially were and then caught up to the ones infront and then it was more steady-fast.

Last edited by superutp : 10th May 2012 at 23:30.
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Old 10th May 2012, 23:44   #9
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Default Re: Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit

Wow! Awesome sirji. Wheel spin ehn? What was that beeping sound at that straight stretch? If you're allowed to dis-close the top speed you managed, please let us know and of course 0-100 in?
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Old 10th May 2012, 23:56   #10
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Default Re: Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit

Quote:
Originally Posted by aviorp View Post
If you're allowed to dis-close the top speed you managed, please let us know and of course 0-100 in?
Why not? This was a race track under controlled conditions and not a public road.

Should be interesting to know the speeds the XUV on the back straight after turn 3 especially.
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Old 11th May 2012, 00:31   #11
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Default Re: Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit

Nice one Aditya, lucky chap to go on an all sponsored ride to BIC and drive the XUV. Nice pics and write up, goes to prove that XUV is quite a good handling car, the screeching sounds and wheel spins from the pitlane really pumped my adrenaline up

Quote:
Originally Posted by aviorp View Post
What was that beeping sound at that straight stretch?
That if am not wrong is an indication from XUV that you have crossed 150, Mahindra have not advertised this feature and its not user programmable too, this beep comes in when the car crosses 150.
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Old 11th May 2012, 00:40   #12
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Default Re: Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit

Good write up Aditya! Thanks for sharing the details with good pictures.

Nice to note that the car is behaving well in tough circuits.
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Old 11th May 2012, 06:23   #13
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Default Re: Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit

Thanks Aditya for the fantastic report and lovely pics.
The lineup had an overdose of white XUVs and while seeing the pics in the official review thread, I noticed the lone Red one. What a coincidence that it was driven by you!

Have seen BunnyPunia's video as well. Saw him pushing the vehicle to the extreme and the rear stepping out on sharp turns multiple times. Yours was a much more controlled lap.

Its heartening to see the XUV performing well.

For everybody who has problems with all the electronic gizmos in the XUV, there's a hint in the interior snaps of Gaurav Gill and Lohit's rides - rip out all the unnecessary junk and just enjoy the sheer mechanical brilliance of the XUV.

Thanks for sharing.

Last edited by SDP : 11th May 2012 at 06:24.
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Old 11th May 2012, 08:40   #14
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Default Re: Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit

Woah Aditya! You lucky lucky chap!

Excellent report and pics. Its really nice to see XUV performing so well and another round of applause to the Mahindra guys. Whats the top speed you achieved? And the lap timings?
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Old 11th May 2012, 09:09   #15
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Default Re: Torque Day - Driving the Mahindra XUV 5OO on the Buddh International Circuit

Thanks for sharing this wonderful insight

Indeed. I echo the same thoughts. The engine is a gem and for a SUV coming from Mahindra, the handling is quite a revelation indeed.

I purposely pushed hard on a couple of corners and to my surprise, there was very negligible roll.

I bet you were missing your 250R

Last edited by GTO : 11th May 2012 at 10:06. Reason: Quoted post has been edited, hence removing the quoted post
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