2015 AudiFest in Sonoma

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If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to participate in a national car club event, allow me to share what my 2015 AudiFest experience was like. I’ll disclose right away that I wasn’t able to partake in the track portion. I know, I suck, but I had a prior engagement that weekend (also known as a wedding).

That being said, I can share the part of the event that happened preceding the track day (and this is essentially what differentiates a big, national event from a normal track day anyway). You can reference my other posts to see what it’s like to do a track day.

The 2015 AudiFest was held October 14th – 19th at Sonoma Raceway. What makes this national event different than most regular track days is that:

  1. A greater number of people travel a greater number of miles to participate (over 200 people attended — some driving as far as Chicago — and over 180 cars entered in the track event)
  2. Typically, some of the higher-up employees from the manufacturer will attend (CEO, etc.)
  3. There are group drives and more activities to further bond (or perhaps learn to despise) some of these new people you just met

To start off the national event, there was a meet-and-greet at the local Audi Marin dealer just north of San Francisco that allowed club members the opportunity to meet the CEO and other Audi execs (something that you would normally never get the chance to do at other club events). Sadly, I couldn’t make it as I was working and the traffic going over the Golden Gate Bridge during rush hour is enough to make people want to leave their car and jump off of it.

Thursday was a different story, as I put in my request for a vacation day to check out what all the hoola boo was about. This was the drive day in which small groups of us were split up to do little “Audi trains” through Sonoma to take in the scenery and have a nice paella lunch afterwards. We made a couple stops in between to regroup, chat and take a big picture.

Here’s what our drive was like:

So what did I gain from this event? Well, it was really cool getting to see the Audi train drive through parts of Sonoma/Napa Valley (you really felt like you were part of the group), and I met some really cool people. Of course, it would’ve been nice to do the track day — I’ll just have to make sure I tell my friends that I am strictly unavailable for any weddings during the next club event.

P.S. The cost for membership into Audi Club of North America is only $50 a year (pretty much on par with other clubs and allowing you access to special events, discounts and more). The Thursday drive event (not track day) was about $150 (which included the Thursday drive through Sonoma and the fantastic paella lunch).

 

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I like to call this one Kermit.

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What did I tell you about hanging out with Porsches?

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After a good drive we all settled in for lunch at Viansa Winery in Sonoma

After a good drive we all settled in for lunch at Viansa Winery in Sonoma.

They put up a sign to keep the peasants out. Just kidding, it wasn't snooty at all — which was refreshing.

They put up a sign to keep the peasants out. Just kidding, it wasn’t snooty at all — which was refreshing.

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Three different paellas — yes please...

Three different paellas — yes please…

Just like the one in Florence!

Just like the one in Florence!

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