Audi versus Ducati
at the ‘Temple of Speed’

Audi versus Ducati at the temple of speed

Ducati World Superbike rider Davide Giugliano compared two wheels to four in a sprint against an Audi R8 at the opening round of the Blancpain GT Series in Monza

The challenge
What happens when you put a race-prepared Audi R8 GT3 against a Ducati World Superbike? One man who knows is Davide Giugliano, a factory rider for the Ducati team on the Pirelli-equipped World Superbike Championship: a series that uses bikes and tyres based on production models to guarantee close racing all over the world.
In the same way, the Blancpain GT Series, which is another of the 300 or so championships supplied by Pirelli all over the world, also uses race versions of road-going supercars in close competition.
But who would win when you put the bike and the car together? It’s an argument that could go on for a long time. The bike accelerates faster, but the car stops and goes round corners quicker, thanks to wider tyres and downforce. Look at it this way: the contact patch between tyre and road on a race car is similar to that of an A4 sheet of paper, times four. On a racing bike, it’s smaller than a banknote, times two. So as to which vehicle is quicker – it simply depends on the circuit.
Monza hosted the latest round of the Blancpain GT Series, with a full grid of 57 cars – and one motorbike. Gugliano demonstrated his Ducati against a race-prepared Audi, with the bike comprehensively winning the drag race off the line at Monza’s start-finish straight.

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And the winner is?
Hard to tell as this was a demonstration run over a number of laps rather than a competitive sprint, but Giugliano knows which one he prefers. “The bike for me is more fun; it’s more involved,” the 2011 Superstock 1000 champion says. “The car is fun too of course, but you can’t compare it against the bike: it’s so different.”
If you look at the Monza pole times in the respective series, it’s likely that the bike would be quicker by a handful of seconds, but there are many variables.
Giugliano has had a chance to sample the Audi R8 GT3 car before, as both Audi and Ducati are owned by the Volkswagen group, making a number of crossover activities possible. However, unlike many bike racers from the past, the 26-year-old has no firm plans to move to four wheels in the future. For now, John Surtees remains the only man to win a world championship in both ca
“Never say never, but it’s not something that is part of my programme,” he points out. “Driving a car is great fun, and I enjoyed driving the Audi when I tried it previously, but bikes is what I know: cars is a different type of skill. I’m not sure that I would be any good at it!”

Unaccustomed opposition – but Pirelli tyres on both
What surprised him most of all was the feeling of racing against something that wasn’t a bike. And judging from the enthusiastic reaction of the crowd, their duel was one of the racing highlights of the weekend.
“Seeing the car there was quite strange: a bit surreal,” concludes Giugliano, who has had to battle his way back from injury last year to become competitive once again. “I’m really not used to that sort of thing, but it was a really nice challenge to show the differences between the car and the bike and I think that the people really enjoyed seeing it. You can’t say that one was better than the other: they’re just different and they are both fantastic machines in their different ways. I’ve got a huge amount of respect for the drivers racing here.”
And it’s a respect that is reciprocated by the drivers. While the Ducati and Audi are massively different, they have at least two things in common: the courage and commitment needed to extract the maximum performance. And the Pirelli tyres that equip both.

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