Road America Road Trip! (A TDIClub GTG)

Matt-98AHU

Loose Nut Behind the Wheel Vendor
Joined
Apr 23, 2006
Location
Vallejo, CA
TDI
2014 Passat SE DSG, 2005 Passat wagon, 2004 Touareg V10.
I asked my manager for the August 20th weekend off so I could make my way to Road America for the American Le Mans Series event there. Going to see the Audi R10 TDI in person.

I am a veteran of several ALMS events now and have been to Road America twice. I know my way around pretty well and know the places to be for photos and gotta hang around the paddock before the start. Plus you get to walk on track when the race cars are lined up there before the start.

There's quite a bit going on during the weekend. The ALMS normally has a few other racing series that travel with it and race throughout the weekend. SPEED World Challenge Touring and GT cars commonly, Star Mazda open wheel cars (featuring identical Renesis rotary engines found in RX-8 road cars) and sometimes another open wheel series, Atlantics, races with them as well (normally they're with ChampCar World Series. Sometimes SPEED World Challenge goes with ChampCar as well). Last year, Trans Am was with the ALMS event at Road America as well. Trans Am has since become defunct. ChampCar did own them, gave it back to SCCA and for now SCCA is just sitting on the Trans Am name.

Anyway, I know a couple in the TDIClub chat have expressed intent on going to Road America for the ALMS event. I am posting to see how many others would like to go and possibly have a mini TDIclub GTG at the track and enjoy watching a TDI dominate the competition at the same time.
 

bhtooefr

TDIClub Enthusiast, ToofTek Inventor
Joined
Oct 16, 2005
Location
Newark, OH
TDI
None
I am also undecided, seeing as the Golf probably won't be built by then, and I'm driving a 21 MPG gas hog minivan right now, until I get a chance to fix the Civic (which now won't be until the Golf gets built and is done... :mad:)
 

one.nine

Veteran Member
Joined
May 12, 2006
Location
Folsom
TDI
2014 Q5 TDI
sounds good. well, i get married that day, dammit. however, i may come up there on saturday, whats going on on the 19th, seeing that i wouldn't be able to make it on the 20th.
 

leicaman

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 24, 2004
Location
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
TDI
2015 Golf TDI SE, 2005 TDI GLS, RIP
I think that Saturday is more interesting as you get to see them testing the car for Sunday and it is generally more relaxed. Lucky for me its only a few minutes away. By all means wear good comfortable shoes. I usually walk my head off looking at all the neat stuff at the track. Even though I have gone there since 1975, its always interesting.
 

mctdi

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2004
Location
se WI
TDI
2010 Jetta
I am going to try for Sunday. My Saturday is already full. I may also try to take time off on Friday, and go in the afternoon, too.
 

verdeo

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2003
Location
Jackson, Wi
TDI
2013 Passat TDI SEL, 2003 Jetta TDI wagon,retired, 2005 Passat TDI wagon, 2012 Touareg TDI
I just read this topic and will probably be there too. As leicaman and others have mentioned; anyone interested but concerned about accessibility, this is about the prettiest track in the states! You have access to most points on the (almost) 4 mile course. It's fast and furious.
Maybe we can work out a group buy for a tank of V power synthetic diesel?
 

one.nine

Veteran Member
Joined
May 12, 2006
Location
Folsom
TDI
2014 Q5 TDI
now only if we could get some people out there for RC tuning, I am sure there would be quite a few interested...I would.
 

FlashandFlare

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2005
Location
Princeton, Wisconsin
TDI
03,Jetta GLS Reflex on Blk leather, 06 Jetta Blk on Blk Pkg 2
Its just over an hour drive for me directly east. What is the consensus ? are ppl gonna be there on Sat, Sun or Both ????????

I got both days free, well sorta I am sure I will have to work Sat morning like normal.

Flash and Flare
 

leicaman

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 24, 2004
Location
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
TDI
2015 Golf TDI SE, 2005 TDI GLS, RIP
I will most likely be there on Saturday. Will there be a parking area where you folks will be situated at?
 

Matt-98AHU

Loose Nut Behind the Wheel Vendor
Joined
Apr 23, 2006
Location
Vallejo, CA
TDI
2014 Passat SE DSG, 2005 Passat wagon, 2004 Touareg V10.
Havn't decided about parking yet. There typically is plenty of free space not too far from the paddock. It's a huge track :) Currently my plan is to drive up on Friday, setup camp in the carousel campground that evening and be there all day Saturday and Sunday.

I'm also going to be taking a LOT of photos. Motorsports photography is my favorite hobby.. and it's turned out to be a very expensive one because I felt it was necessary to go the route of digital SLRs for proper on-track photography :) So I might be boring to hang out with throughout parts of the weekend because I will be camping out at a few of my favorite corners and simply snapping pictures all day!

During on-track activities, I will at times take my car to move to the other end of the track. I have walked the whole track a couple times--and it is quite a hike. Once you've done it a couple times in a day you have to begin to ponder motorized transportation alternatives ;)

During races like these, there is typically some fun stuff to do off the track as well. Many very nice, privately owned sports cars will be scattered around the track. Often times there will be a "Car Corral" for specific makes/models. Corvette and Porsche Corrals being the most common. Whole areas reserved for Corvette parking only, another for Porsche parking only, etc.

At Road America (as is the case with MOST ALMS races, but not quite all) your general admission ticket will also get you access to the paddock. You get to walk around, watch the teams work on the cars up close before sessions. And there will be MANY teams out there as there are typically a number of racing series that travel with the ALMS and compete mostly on Saturday (usually two will also compete on Sunday morning). I mentioned a few in my initial post.

There is a multi-configuration go kart track near the carousel campground which was used by drifters last year. It didn't appear to be a competition, just a demonstration. Those are always fun to watch. Cars as far sideways as is imaginable yet still under control. The tire torturing can be heard quite a long ways around the track when there is no session taking place on-track. I have heard that the drifters will be back at the go-kart track this year as well (the Briggs and Stratton Motorplex is its official name).

There is scarce seating supplied around the track, usually not a bad idea to bring your own seats. Even though the provided seating is somewhat scarce, you can find an open seat easily. They don't typically fill up (most people seem to prefer to sit at the place of their choosing with their own setup.

Road racing (particularly with the ALMS it seems) is a very laid-back, car-guy experience. It's normally not a giant drunken party as NASCAR is (12 Hours of Sebring being an exception... Nothing wrong with that either!). The cars are the stars. Just take your time and soak it all in. You don't have to go or be anywhere, there is no assigned seating. See and do as you want when you please.

For those interested in meeting up at the track, PM me and we will exchange cell-phone numbers.

While working on our own cars is something we'd do at a normal GTG, I think the focus will be more on the event at hand; namely watching the ultimate TDI-powered vehicles in action. There's plenty to see and do at an ALMS event! There's a reason their TV ratings have been outstripping American Open Wheel racing recently (with the exception of the Indianapolis 500, of course). It's an intruiging product and being at one of these events is a very neat experience for car-enthusiasts.
 
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leicaman

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 24, 2004
Location
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
TDI
2015 Golf TDI SE, 2005 TDI GLS, RIP
You have not experienced track photography at RA until you have spent an afternoon lugging around a 400mm f2.8 AF Canon lens and a secondary body along with a lens a several spare battery packs. At the end of the day you feel about an inch shorter or so! :)
Matt-98AHU said:
I'm also going to be taking a LOT of photos. Motorsports photography is my favorite hobby.. and it's turned out to be a very expensive one because I felt it was necessary to go the route of digital SLRs for proper on-track photography :) So I might be boring to hang out with throughout parts of the weekend because I will be camping out at a few of my favorite corners and simply snapping pictures all day!

During on-track activities, I will at times take my car to move to the other end of the track. I have walked the whole track a couple times--and it is quite a hike. Once you've done it a couple times in a day you have to begin to ponder motorized transportation alternatives ;)
 

Matt-98AHU

Loose Nut Behind the Wheel Vendor
Joined
Apr 23, 2006
Location
Vallejo, CA
TDI
2014 Passat SE DSG, 2005 Passat wagon, 2004 Touareg V10.
leicaman said:
You have not experienced track photography at RA until you have spent an afternoon lugging around a 400mm f2.8 AF Canon lens and a secondary body along with a lens a several spare battery packs. At the end of the day you feel about an inch shorter or so! :)
No, but I did hike around Sebring (although that track has no elevation changed whatsoever, unlike RA) with a backpack full of gear at around 35lbs.

I had two bodies in it as well plus a small video camera. I took out the extra stuff I didn't after one day of lugging all that around and just took one body with me (20D.. other is a Digital Rebel (300D)).

I don't have any monster of a lens like a 400 F2.8, though! I make do with a 70-200 F4L and a 1.4x Sigma Teleconverter if I need it. A friend let me try his 300mm F2.8 IS at Indianapolis during the Indy Pro Series race, Formula 1 weekend... what a MONSTER. He did kindly warn me that he was not responsible for any financial issues that may result from me trying out the lens and then HAVING to obtain one. heheh. I have held off on it so far! The F4L I've got is very lightweight, though. Great for hand-held shots if you have to (erm.. like when I forgot my monopod for the aforementioned Indy F1 weekend).

But anyway, I can understand what it's like to feel an inch shorter after lugging around such weight a whole day (or 4 as was the case at Sebring this year).

This should be fun :)
 

leicaman

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 24, 2004
Location
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
TDI
2015 Golf TDI SE, 2005 TDI GLS, RIP
Not to mention Elkhart has about some of the best tasting track food anywhere. :) I plan on bringing my 500mm lenses along with my tele-converters. My favorite corners for images are turn 5 and 6 with the Canadian Corners being a close third. As deceptively simple as it may seem, my boss got a great crash sequence a few years back on turn 1. But what is almost the most interesting is walking around the paddock and seeing all the team action up and close. I am excited to see this uber-diesel car.
 

Matt-98AHU

Loose Nut Behind the Wheel Vendor
Joined
Apr 23, 2006
Location
Vallejo, CA
TDI
2014 Passat SE DSG, 2005 Passat wagon, 2004 Touareg V10.
leicaman said:
Not to mention Elkhart has about some of the best tasting track food anywhere. :) I plan on bringing my 500mm lenses along with my tele-converters. My favorite corners for images are turn 5 and 6 with the Canadian Corners being a close third. As deceptively simple as it may seem, my boss got a great crash sequence a few years back on turn 1. But what is almost the most interesting is walking around the paddock and seeing all the team action up and close. I am excited to see this uber-diesel car.
They opened up a new section of the track to spectators after the exit of the carousel last year. Built a new, paved walk-over bridge (Suzuki bridge, I believe... not a competitor with Toyota, I guess ;)) You can get fairly close to the cars as they blast towards the kink (I don't think I needed to exceed 150mm in that spot). The background is almost a vertical hill going back upto the campground. It's a very neat spot, great for pan shots (no head-on shots there).

I've also done a bit of head-on shooting at Turn 6. It's a nice spot for sure, but my setup is a tad bit on the short end for it. But still works out nicely.

I always seem to have more fun at a race when I've got photography buffs to hang out with ;) That's one of the reasons I look forward to the USGP at Indy so much. I know a couple photogs down there. Very fun-spirited bunch. Good times are always had and of course there is endless photography sharing and talk.
 

Matt-98AHU

Loose Nut Behind the Wheel Vendor
Joined
Apr 23, 2006
Location
Vallejo, CA
TDI
2014 Passat SE DSG, 2005 Passat wagon, 2004 Touareg V10.
Digital photography has its ups and downs.... It makes it easier to take many more photos and to also correct some issues better than you can with film. I think the quality in most cases is better as well...

The downside? It makes it easier to take many more photos... I feel overwhelmed with the amount of photos I have to sort through from several events now!

But tonight I edited one special photo for you guys. I cropped it to be wallpaper-friendly.

From Sebring;



Believe it or not, that's at ISO 800! Noise Ninja is your friend!
 
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whitedog

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Location
Bend, Oregon
TDI
2004 Jetta that I fill by myself
Matt-98AHU said:
Digital photography has its ups and downs.... It makes it easier to take many more photos and to also correct some issues better than you can with film. I think the quality in most cases is better as well...

The downside? It makes it easier to take many more photos... I feel overwhelmed with the amount of photos I have to sort through from several events now!

But tonight I edited one special photo for you guys. I cropped it to be wallpaper-friendly.

From Sebring;

Note the one red light in front of the Number 2. THat means it was in first place. I bet the bottom light hardly gets used at all...:D

BTW, thanks for the wallpaper.
 

Matt-98AHU

Loose Nut Behind the Wheel Vendor
Joined
Apr 23, 2006
Location
Vallejo, CA
TDI
2014 Passat SE DSG, 2005 Passat wagon, 2004 Touareg V10.
FlashandFlare said:
Its just over an hour drive for me directly east. What is the consensus ? are ppl gonna be there on Sat, Sun or Both ????????

I got both days free, well sorta I am sure I will have to work Sat morning like normal.

Flash and Flare
There isn't a consensus. Not many have PM'd me. This weekend will likely be a couple meet ups. Leicaman, for example, won't be around for race day, but will be on Saturday. So far only one other person has confirmed will be there on race day. I have PM'd a couple others to probe if they're still going. I will continue doing that tonight as I likely won't have much of a chance to log back on to the internet this weekend (there was wireless internet access at the track last year, though! I'll have to check prices).
 

leicaman

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 24, 2004
Location
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
TDI
2015 Golf TDI SE, 2005 TDI GLS, RIP
Well, as it turns out, Leicaman gets to go to race day, but I will be on the clock. I have to shoot the race and another assorted feature. Friday and Saturday I am using my reflex Nikkors adapted via a Stephan Gandy adapter to my Canon Eos 1d, but Sunday, I will use company pool lenses. I rattled a lot of frames today using zone focus techniques.
 
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