My name is Seth and I am addicted to the track. The recent Audi Club Northwest event, Geschwindigkeit, at Pacific Raceways on Friday July 16th, was born out of my addiction. It began as a simple question, evolved into a challenge, and became a great success. A couple of months ago I came across a post on the QuattroWorld web forum where someone asked why Audi Club Northwest doesn’t have an event at Pacific Raceways. This world class track that is just 30 miles outside of Seattle was being ignored and someone wanted to know why...
I didn’t have the answer (and had often wondered the same thing myself) but pointed the curious individual to some other car clubs that regularly run driver education events at Pacific Raceways.
Pat Martin, Audi Club Northwest’s president, immediately added detail to the story around why Audi Club Northwest doesn’t run any events at Pacific Raceways. Club board members only have limited capacity to run events beyond the annual scheduled events: Quattrofest, Son of Quattrofest, Matt Ammon Memorial Driving School, Maryhill and many other car cruises and social events that quickly fill the calendar. All that was needed was someone naïve enough to step up and put an event at Pacific Raceways on the calendar.
Without much thought, I sent Pat an email asking what was involved in setting up a new driving event. That evening my inbox was filled with the slightly surprising outline of how much it would likely take to put an event on at Pacific Raceways. Did I really want to sign up for this? Was I diving into the deep end without my floaties? After some internal debate, I decided to throw caution to the wind and let my interest and passion for the track take the driver’s seat. I was in; I wanted an Audi Club event at Pacific Raceways!
As luck would have it, Pacific Raceways had an open Friday on the calendar and it fit perfectly into the middle of summer. A couple of months after the Matt Ammon Memorial Driving School and a couple of months before the Maryhill weekend tour and wine tasting. Perfect timing to schedule a mid-summer track fix. We put a deposit down to hold the date and the hard work immediately began. The first item on the check list was coming up with a proper name. The following Wednesday, I headed over to the German Pub, Feierabend, to meet up with some of the Seattle Audi Club members that regularly gather for Wednesbeerday. After a liter of Bavaria’s finest, I put the question on the community table. We went back and forth thinking of as many ways as possible to say four or Audi, but ultimately our love of speed combined with Google Translate on our iPhones lead to one of the most stereotypical German sounding words I had ever come across. Geschwindigkeit. It was decided. Geschwindigkeit was in motion and the event announcement went out shortly after this momentous evening.
As Geschwindigkeit approached and all the event commitments from insurance to bathrooms were put in place, I was amazed at the support from club board members that started pouring in. There were far more small items than I would ever realize that went into finalizing the event. We blocked and tackled in our respective areas and as the week of Geschwindigkeit arrived, drove all around town picking up everything from apples and oranges to lanyards and lunch tickets.
As I awoke at 4:30am on Friday July 16th, I frantically checked my phone and looked out the windows to check the weather in the hopes that there were no signs of potential rain. We had officially entered Seattle summer and while rain still makes for a great day of fun when you have Quattro, the Paddock at Pacific Raceways has no covered space for drivers to stand under in between driving sessions. We could manage with pop-up tents, Gore-Tex and creative blue tarp placement, but I really didn’t want to explore a new track with 300ft of elevation in the rain.
We had sold out the event and all 60 drivers were treated to a fantastic day at Pacific Raceways. We had a cool morning and a warm afternoon for a perfect balance where even those who probably didn’t think about sunscreen in the morning were only slightly rosy by the end of the day. With cars ranging from R8s to A3s, Porsche 911s to a Mercedes SL65 Black Series and a couple of track dedicated race cars, the sounds that filled the track and the paddock were a delight. Everyone was even able to get in all 5 of their 25 minute track sessions. We ran on track from 9am to 4pm with the track only freeing up for a brief 30 minutes around lunch time. I had heard that some of the other car clubs pack in far more participants to their events, crowding the track and limiting run sessions, so I was quite proud of the experience we had been able to deliver.
When I had posted my response on QuattroWorld mentioning that Audi Club Northwest didn’t run events at Pacific Raceways, I never thought that I would be the one to change that. I had heard how much fun the Pacific Raceways track was, but never thought any further about what it would take to actually get the club out to the track. Over the course of two months, I had taken step after step and ended up at Pacific Raceways with a great group of people to spend the day doing something I love.
I must thank those that were integral in making Geschwindigkeit a reality: Pat Martin, Carrie Stewart, Doug Cerretti, John Ewald and Bruce Fields were each indispensable help.
Finally, I simply ask that if there is an event or a track that you would like Audi Club Northwest to join or visit, please send that email or publish that internet forum post. It doesn’t take much to get the ball rolling and there are more people than you think that are here to help make it real.