The press and pundits have already filed their race reports but I bet they left out an important part of any Sebring experience, the clubs, hospitality suites, corrals, and camaraderie. Those who attended the Audi Motorsports Experience AKA The Audi Club of Florida Corral at Sebring will attest to the fact that it was a first class event from start to the finish at 10:30 PM Saturday night. Andy, his team and his vendors with the support and backing of AoA, executed on a level never before experienced or achieved at Sebring. This time it was Andy and his own company who pulled it all together, what a stellar performance and clearly second to none. If you missed the event, check out some of the photos posted by two of the attendees in the Quattroworld Florida chat room, http://forums.quattroworld.com/florida/msgs/2715.phtml.
The venue included a paved, lined and painted parking area (Audi “Quartz Grey” of course) then situated at the apex of turn 1, a two-story seven thousand plus square foot air-conditioned temporary structure erected by George Coates of Eventmakers. Inside were open bars on both levels and a shaded second floor veranda to view that all-important turn. The amenities were on a par with a black tie event, but shorts, Audi hats and polo shirts were de rigueur. After all, this was the 12 Hour at Sebring, not a Kandinsky opening at MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) or a newly produced version of the Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, no men’s patent leather opera pumps here. Now when it came to victuals, we were spared the ubiquitous meatballs, sausage, and pasta along with the fried or BBQ chicken and ribs. Instead Chris Jurgensen, the caterer whom I might also add drives a S6, good taste on two levels, provided such delectable’s as roast pork, beef goulash, Spaetzel, red cabbage, roasted vegetables, and even filet mignon for dinner Saturday evening. All could be enjoyed with soda, white wine, or cabernet Sauvignon and as a special treat just because someone asked for it, ice-cold bottles of Warsteiner beer. For those who wanted to eat light and not wander off the reservation, the salads were equally excellent. Amenities include hot pit passes, refreshments served at the Gurney Terrace above the Audi Pit, driver and engineer question and answer sessions plus all had the opportunity to add to their collection of swag. We even had John Hindhaugh who is not only the voice of Radio LeMans but who also appeared in “Truth in 24” do a number of the introductions. Then there were the air-conditioned Toiletten with Kohler fixtures and as mentioned by one attendee who drove his S8 from the Crescent City, “they were better than the ones in my motel room.”
I would be amiss if I did not thank all those who not only volunteered themselves but their sons, brothers and significant others to assist in making this such a success. By the way, it was not just fathers and sons, but grandfathers and grandsons and a number of daughters with their dads were there too, what a great family experience and quality time with the kids. Need to mention our resident chefs, Dave and Pete for some tasty prosciutto, sopressata, and provolone sandwiches on Wednesday, Andreas and David, for designing, printing and putting together all of the car signage for the History of Progress Parade lap which was led by the red S1. In addition, the ID listing windshield stickers in case of an emergency, and of course the signed stanchions to keep us all in line, organized and correctly parked by model year. The 2011 12 Hours of Sebring Motorsport Experience will be hard to improve upon, though a win would certainly be first on the list. Considering all and all, though not a podium finish, Audi acquitted itself very well and as one of the drivers said after parking his A8, which he left running for more than just a couple of hours, yes, the new A8 is just that quiet and smooth, “we are driving with a castrated V10.” It is certainly evident, the lion needs to fear the rings; there are a number of chapters that have yet to be written in this novella.
This year for the first time, we tried an advanced reservation and ordering process for Audi Motorsport Experience credentials. This was a resounding success, without a single issue and consequently, it will be repeated. The process insures that those of us who run four ringed platelets in our blood will be able to order our reserved tickets in a timely and hassle free manner.
But wait, there is more. Folks navigated their Audis from New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and environs closer and a few flew in from Arizona, Ohio, and Kansas. After hearing from one of the fly ins upon her return to Kansas, one can only guess which ring in Dante’s inferno has one sitting next to a Peugeot fan on a plane as punishment for ones sins. The fan related that the corral looked similar to the Audi Hospitality area at LeMans and he was frankly jealous! Declaring his unending love for the lion, the fan then booted up his iPad and watched “Truth in 24” for the rest of the flight. Shaken loyalties or perhaps just a slow learner?
Looking forward to seeing all in 2012 as this annual Audi “Rite of Spring” will be even better.
Audi Club of Florida