2010 TAG group photo Photo: James Bufkin
On January 30-31, the Texas Audi Group held a statewide meet in San Marcos, TX. The Texas Audi Group is an informal body of regional Audi clubs, such as the Austin Audi Club, North Texas Audi Group (NTAG), and the South Texas Audi Group (STAG). Audi enthusiasts from all over the state converged in Central Texas for the event.
Saturday began with a show & shine in the Embassy Suites San Marcos parking lot, which the hotel had cordoned off for the Audi event. This event was brief, because although the weather was clear and beautiful, it was very chilly and everyone wanted to get into their warm cars.
Jack Spinella, of STaSIS Engineering, enjoys some Texas hospitality at The Salt Lick. Photo: James Bufkin
After a short drive to an undisclosed parking garage at Texas State University for a group photo, the group then made their way to a legendary local favorite for lunch - The Salt Lick. Guests were served an all-you-can-eat buffet of The Salt Lick's excellent fare: BBQ brisket, sausage, ribs, and the usual fixins (as we say in Texas).
A drive through the back roads of Central Texas. Say, how did that Porsche sneak in? Photo: Maria Ramirez
After lunch, the club wound almost fifty cars through the scenic back roads of the hill country, between Austin and San Marcos. The route took them through Dripping Springs, Wimberly, Gruene, and New Braunfels, before turning back to San Marcos.
On Saturday evening, TAG held a banquet with guest speakers, silent and live auctions, a delicious dinner catered by the first-class conference center, and opportunities for club members and sponsors to meet and get to know one another.
Ken Thieme makes the rounds at the TAG banquet. Photo: Jimmy Pribble
TAG President, James Bufkin, gave an excellent presentation on the history of Audi, covering the first 100 years, the company's formation (as Auto Union), early Formula One racing, it's brief ownership by Mercedes, and through the modern era, including the development of quattro, its success in rally racing, and even the timely reminder that Audi suffered its own unintended acceleration debacle, predating Toyota's woes by almost 25 years. After the presentations, there was a live auction (crazy steals and deals), and some final words about the track event on Sunday, before the meeting was adjourned...to the bar.
"You might want to just stay in your car for now. My bad." Photo: Jimmy Pribble
Sunday began cold and early. Drivers began arriving at Harris Hill Road (H2R), only to discover that TAG's Chief Driving Instructor had locked the keys to the track clubhouse in the track clubhouse. The crowd considered setting fire to the Chief Instructor's car to keep warm, but thankfully, the helpful staff at H2R arrived on short notice and everyone moved to the toasty indoors.
The drivers signed-in, got their information packets, and there was a brief drivers meeting. Eric Beverding, from H2R, gave a safety briefing and Ryan English, from TAG, explained the schedule of events and coordinated instructors and students. Drivers were divided into three groups: a student group (all with instructors), an intermediate group (some with instructors), and an advanced group. Every skill level was present, from complete novices to professional racing car drivers.
Audi A4 flying down the front straight. Photo: Philipp Hubner
For such a mix of cars and drivers, on-track incidents were few. There were a couple of minor spins and offs, but H2R is a very forgiving and safe track, with very little to hit. There were a few mechanical issues as well. One TT popped a turbo hose and an ill-handling Coupe GT was diagnosed to have a front subframe bolted...well, to nothing really. But, both of those cars still managed to get through the day. The most disappointing mechanical failure was a spectacular fuel leak from an Audi Quattro rally car. Bystanders tried everything, including chewing gum, to stop the leak, but to no avail. The Quattro leaked all 20 gallons of fuel into the trunk of the car (eventually siphoned to fuel cans) and sadly, the car never left the trailer.
Beautifully restored old-school Audi UrQuattro. Photo: Jimmy Pribble
Buzz from the drivers inside the clubhouse was good. As they would come in from their sessions to warm-up, drivers and instructors would start with their exciting stories from the track. By all accounts, it was a great day. TAG officers tell me that planning for future events is already underway. If you were at this event, share your experience in the comments.
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