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2017 California Festival of Speed

 

My 2017 California Festival of Speed Experience

 

Story by Garey Cooper
Photos by Joe Barnet, Gary Labb, & Garey Cooper

 

 

History of California Festival of Speed


Since 2003, there’s been a Festival in Fontana, California, at what is now called “Autoclub Speedway”. Initially, the brainchild of Vince Knauf and a few other visionaries from the San Diego Region of PCA. It’s evolved to include the entire Zone 8 and drivers from the Porsche Owners Club (POC). It’s held in April and includes club races, a Time Trial event (TT), and many fan friendly activities within the extensive grounds of the Speedway.

 

Racers are always looking for pavement to run on, and the Speedway definitely has it! However, pavement to run on is expensive to rent. So, the organizers realized they needed more revenue than the typical race from run fees usually generated from a club weekend. Thus, the idea of a Zone wide “Festival” was created. It’s prospered since that time with a mix of on track racing and infield attractions based upon Porsche and Automotive life styles. It’s been held over three days in April with Saturday being the busiest day of attendance.  Having been the 2016 track announcer, I was surprised when I was re-invited for 2017. After several seconds of reflection, I accepted the honor and began to practice by saying over and over again; “Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG”…. good verbal exercise for a loudspeaker system designed to be heard above about 40 NASCAR Racers!

 

2016 vs. 2017

 

Last year the weekend was uncharacteristically rainy and cold.  Friday was almost a washout, Saturday a little better, and Sunday just being plain cold and windy so attendance in 2016 was dampened (pun intended). Maybe that’s how I snuck in for this year’s encore announcing performance.

 

How About 2017?

 

This year the weather was very cooperative - warm / hot and WINDY. In fact, on the afternoon of Sunday it was so windy the bathroom doors, designed to open outward on the lofty 4th floor of the central tower where the announcer’s booth is located, was either snatched out of your hand by the wind, or you were violently rotated around the door hinge and slammed into the opposite wall, glasses and dignity flying in the process. Forget any kind of comb over staying in place as well. The announcer’s booth is absolutely grand for viewing the track and the environs surrounding the track. This kind of seat would cost big bucks in any race as you can literally see the entire racing surface in air conditioned comfort! Panoramic and at the same time, lonely, quite small and insulated, as it’s a “sound proof booth” which is good, for the acoustics certainly, but leads to a very disconnected feeling when announcing. You speak into the mic, but you can’t hear anything other than your own quiet voice in a small windowed place. Outside your voice is booming to the foothills and back of course, but inside you can only hear a pin drop. So any feedback comes in the form of texts or mobile phone calls, “you’re coming across just fine” is an example which is my favorite. I tried a test announcement. Wow! I think my first announcements blew tiles off roofs miles away in Ontario. Way too loud! I thought I’d get calls from Ontario Airport saying planes landing heard me and requested different landing patterns as a result. Fortunately, volume-wise, everything got sorted out and we were off……to the races!

 

CFOS

 

CFOS is a three day speed fest with on track racing and in track displays and vendors. You can relish the sight of GT3 Cup Cars and modern GT3 RSR’s along with early pattern 911’s, 944’s, Spec Boxsters and Caymans being driven at high speed. In no particular order here are the things you can do at CFO: Volunteer, Autocross, sample amongst the various food trucks, view the 50 year 911 timeline, view the race cars and drivers much closer than you can at any other event. Buy stuff (includes jewelry made from crashed cars), talk Porsche with many of your fellow addicts and  / or get your Porsche Dyno’d.

 

It’s a wonderful weekend when the weather is cooperating and a “must see” for any of our PCA-OCR members. I had the pleasure meeting up with Scott Mann, the Chief Zone driving instructor, Greg Lush our own OCR President, Vince Knauf the man himself who helped start it all off; Tom Brown, current CFOS Chair, and Vickie Earnshaw the Queen of PCA Club Racing. Also stopping by the booth was Michael Dolphin long time friend and Zone eminence with young Malachi who I let practice his announcing skills. I also saw Steve and Michael Eguina, with Michael bringing along my old car, “Blanche Bickerson,” the 2007 GT3. Do I miss her? Yes! Please plan your next weekend in April 2018 to be at Fontana for this great event –

 

You’ll have a great time!

 

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Volunteering at the 2017 Festival of Speed

 

Story by Al Gutierrez / Photos by Joe Barnet

 

I joined PCA-OCR last year with the dream of someday racing my 2002 911 Cabriolet. I started attending the monthly PCA-OCR member breakfasts and met many nice, friendly people, always very welcoming and willing to talk about their love of Porsche, as well as, answer any questions. I became familiar with the various Porsche websites, the events; and last June I volunteered to help setup the Concours in Fountain Valley. This was my first exposure to so many Porsches, and what a terrific experience! Then, I attended an Autocross in the fall and that did it for me - I was going to learn how to drive Autocross! By volunteering, I got to meet many Porsche owners who freely offered advice regarding ownership and racing; but mainly their message to me was to always have fun and enjoy the Porsche experience.


CFOS’ three day event was my first time volunteering. The thrill of being at a big track and seeing so many different Porsches was like being a kid all over again!


I volunteered for the Traffic Control Group which has the responsibility for guiding everyone safely throughout the huge complex. 


For my first day, Friday, I was assigned to the CFOS Event Entrance checking credentials. It was an awesome spot to see all the super Porsches come through, and I really enjoyed it.

 

On the second day Saturday, I was at turn-9. The excitement of watching all the Porsches coming off the track, was like one colorful parade and absolutely thrilling.


Third day Sunday, was the ultimate for me – “The Hot Pit”. I was given the responsibility of directing the drivers in their cars through the tunnel as they went to their respective garage area to resolve any mechanical issues. Additionally, I had to be aware of distracted spectators walking around and make sure they were consistently safe.

 

In conclusion, I’d like to suggest to anyone interested in volunteering for CFOS to be flexible in their assignments, be prepared for heat, wear a hat and stay hydrated. Be patient and friendly toward everyone – you’ll have a fantastic time!

 

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