||February 27, 2000
3rd Annual Quattro Club Driver School and Safety Seminar
By: Steve Sherwood
On January 15-16, 2000 the 3rd Annual Quattro Club Drivers School was held, as it has been the past two years, in lovely Willows CA . The Thunderhill Park Raceway track is nestled in the foothills some 70 miles north of Sacramento (the capital of California). Thunderhill is now the home of the administrative headquarters of the San Francisco Region of the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America).
Thunderhill, like most tracks, has many faces. The track can be altered to provide different driving experiences -- even two separate tracks. For the Quattro Club event, it was decided to use the full 3.0 mile track. No one seemed to complain about this decision. For a map of the track click here.
On the Friday before the big event, several local Audi owners attended the Quattro Club Instructor Clinic. This was a day involved learning the correct way around the track, setting up and running a slalom course and a threshold braking course, and a lane toss exercise. The main focus of the clinic was to provide valuable tools to help the Quattro Club members get the most out of the Driving School event, while being safe and sane. Besides being a bit windy during the track walk, the clinic came off without a snag.
Similar to many events in the past two years, the predominate car participating in the event was the Audi A4 in its many configurations. There were FWD and AWD A4s in both Avant and Sedan form. Four new 2000 S4s participated, as did about four older S4's (UrS4). The rest of the pack consisted of cars like the Audi S6 Avant, 4000Q, 5000Q, Coupe Quattro, UrQuattro, a few Porsches, a Viper GTS, a few Mustangs, a Camaro, an Acura Integra, Subaru SVX and an Impreza. All told, there were about 70 cars present at the event.
Like previous events, the weather was a factor during the event. Light rain prevailed for a good portion of Saturday. In actuality, this was a good thing, since one of the significant reasons why we bought the Audi quattro vehicles was for their ability to perform well in ANY weather. During both Friday and Sunday the track was dry and the sky was partly cloudy. Light to moderate wind was also present throughout the weekend. Driving a track in this type of weather allowed people to practice driving smoothly...since that is the only way to get around the track in such conditions.
Driving the Track
The first group of cars got on the track at about 9:30am on Saturday morning. Just like in previous events, the cars/drivers were separated into three groups (first timers, intermediates, and the instructor group). At first all the non-instructor groups had an instructor riding with them. As the event progressed, many in the intermediate group got signed off to drive "solo". The newcomers seemed very excited, sometimes a bit rattled, at the prospect of driving the track in the rain, but they all seemed to work out their jitters and come away with a very worthwhile experience.
Saturday Night Dinner & Auction
After the eventful track day on Saturday, the event moved to the Best Western - Golden Pheasant Inn in Willows for a Mexican buffet dinner. The food was hearty and everyone seemed to be "talking Audi"...imagine that. After dinner, Andrew Bennett of 2Bennett Audimotive had a few words to say about the event....and then commenced in auctioning off some nice gifts to the highest bidders. APR (Audi Performance and Racing) donated two performance chips, Ronal Wheels donated a $500 gift certificate, and 2Bennett Audimotive also donated two $100 gift certificates. The NorCal Audi Club's STW Audi Racing mousepads were in particular demand, much to the surprise of the club's management ($20 for a mousepad?). After the auction was over, a total of about $2,200 was raised for the Quattro Club. Good job guys.
Back to the Track
On Sunday the weather cleared up and the track was dry and pretty fast. This was the day to really see what the cars could do. Dean Treadway was busy showing everyone how fast a S2 and UrQuattro could go. Corey Smith was doing the same in his new modified 2000 S4. Todd Serota, founder of TracQuest Driving Schools, was also showing everyone that a little yellow Porsche cabriolet could hold its own with anything Audi could throw at it. Nice driving Todd.
Thank you to all that attended the event...it is understood that Thunderhill isn't exactly around the corner. Many individuals attended the event from Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Minnesota, and of course, California. A special thanks also goes out to the instructors that volunteered their services.
The next event for the West Coast is the 2nd Annual Driving School and Driver Safety Seminar at the Spring Mountain Motorsports Park in Pahrump, NV on April 8-9, 2000. Are you coming?