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India’s premium supercar club, CannonBall Club, fires up Bangalore’s streets on a lazy Sunday afternoon

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After being nationally renowned for its live music concerts, information technology and flora, Bangalore now has one more feature to boast of. India’s Garden City now has its very own premium supercar club – the CannonBall Club – and TopGear magazine was in town riding shotgun on the club’s inaugural Southern India drive.

CannonBall is led by founder and CEO, Paritosh Gupta, who has earlier organised national and international drives for the club’s Delhi, Chandigarh and Hyderabad-based members. Since its inception in 2009, in addition to driving in parades at various cities, its members have also had track days at the Buddh International Circuit as well as a trip to the Ferrari factory at Maranello and a drive at the Autodrome in Dubai.

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For the Bangalore drive, participants gathered at the ITC Gardenia hotel. The organisers were delighted to see more than 20 of Bangalore’s most elite automobiles, ranging from massive saloons like the 500bhp supercharged Jaguar XFR to exotic sportscars like the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4, roll into the parking lot. Paritosh says, “Bangalore has a lot of high-performance luxury cars. This event is great for this city because people here have never seen a group of cars this magnificent gathered in one place. The reception we’ve got from the car owners in Bangalore has been overwhelming.”

Eventually, the number of participants crossed 30 before flag-off, and the ITC parking lot was swarming with car fanatics and professional snappers – which unsettled the bouncers guarding the expensive machinery and perplexed the hotel valets, who couldn’t tell hotel guests from visitors.

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At the drivers’ briefing, CannonBall members were quickly given the driving route as well as general convoy guidelines. The simultaneous firing up of more than 300 cylinders with their superchargers and twin-turbos sent the parking lot full of spectators into a frenzy. As the cars flagged off and headed towards the Electronic City elevated highway, enthusiasts gathered in hordes along the streets to witness the epic convoy of a total of nine Porsches, two Maseratis and an Aston Martin Rapide among others, all led by a stunning all-black Audi R8 V10.

As this savage pack moved forth, the sounds of some of the finest exhaust notes in Europe and Asia echoed through Bangalore’s streets. The participants’ excitement could be heard over the radio through the communication devices given to each driver as they noted pedestrians fumbling for cameraphones at signal lights, pillion riders turned cameramen, and deliverymen on motorcycles trying to keep up with the group as best they could.

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It felt special being part of a drive of this magnitude, and seeing the expressions of happiness and awe across the faces of stunned onlookers was also an experience for those driving the cars. On the city’s main roads, the convoy had a number of regrouping halts before traffic finally eased out over the Electronic City elevated highway.

The route back to the venue took the cars through what some regard as the best stretch of road in Bangalore – NICE road. Even F1 champ Lewis Hamilton has burned some serious rubber on this road when he was in town on a promotional outing with McLaren.

On this wonderful, open stretch of six-lane dual carriageway, the drivers got the opportunity to rejig their cars to the much more fun sporty suspension and engine map settings, and barrel down the highway at the kind of speeds that their cars were meant for.

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This was by far the most exciting part of the drive. After all, the sights and meaty sounds of V8 monsters like the Mercedes-Benz G55AMG and the gorgeous Jaguar XKR and R8 V10 with its Capristo exhaust flying past could make any car enthusiast wet their pants. As the sunlight began to fade, the cars rolled back into the ITC venue and the event drew to a close. It was great to see the hotel’s parking facility transform into one of the country’s most expensive parking lots for one final time this time around.

The CannonBall Club’s first ever Bangalore drive got a great reception and ended a resounding success. The next CannonBall drive is in Delhi next month and expectations remain high. Paritosh briefly spoke of plans to expand the club to more cities across India, pointing out that 17 more national and international CannonBall drives are slated for this year, which means this ‘Ball will be rollin’ all year long!

(Words: Christopher Chaves)

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