April 2020 President’s Message
I don’t think anyone could have ever imagined seeing all the signs of Spring outside the window without also having a full calendar of Porsche events from which to have to choose. I certainly never imagined having one of the most gut-wrenching decisions of my club presidency (thus far) be needing to decide when to communicate the official cancellation of our May 3rd autocross. But here we all are. We are truly in unprecedented times that, while challenging in every way imaginable, are, in fact, an amazing display of unity across all walks of life, all ages, all sexes, and all races around the world…even Ferrari and BMW lovers. The decision to attempt to “flatten the curve” and protect the safety and health of all by putting significant aspects of life on-hold has shown what we truly value most: each other. Messages of solidarity and hope are pervasive if you dare to look for them, and as difficult as it has been…and as difficult as it is likely to remain for a while…it is clear now more than ever that we will make it through this together, hand-in-virtual-hand, no less than six feet apart, for better or for worse. Like all social organizations, Redwood remains in a holding pattern of indefinite length in terms of in-person events of any size. Even with an eventual “return to normal”, it will be a measured return, and will unlikely be like any normal we remember.
As just mentioned, the first Redwood autocross of the season, originally planned for May 3rd, has been officially cancelled. The same is true for all events across Zone 7 regions (and beyond) for at least the next month or two. The 2020 Porsche Parade, planned for June in Palm Springs, was officially cancelled earlier this month. The Parade Team is working hard to find ways we can still have fun, announce National Awards, recognize accomplishments, share Parade memories, and fill the void of not being able to gather in person. They advise we all stay tuned to our social media, watch the national website, and read E-Brake news for more information.
There are no definite plans with regard to what’s next in terms of resuming in-person events; we’ll have to wait until our stay-at-home orders are lifted and then see under what conditions more traditional events might possibly resume before anything definitive can be planned. This is true for most of the country at present. PCA National is advising us to do what we’ve been doing thus far; prioritizing the health and safety of our members by following state and local advisories, and keeping the club running administratively so that, when we can resume activities, there is very little lag in the restart. Creative ideas for virtual events are starting to surface so that we can all continue to care for our mental health by enjoying each other’s company as we do what is necessary to ensure our physical health and that of our communities.
A focus on online racing with PCA Sim Racing on the iRacing platform has captured the imagination of many. In fact, the PCA is not alone in this craze; IMSA, SCCA, and other racing-centric organizations are all moving to virtual racing to fill the void left by the cancellation of live events. Some of this has resulted in a fun mix of talented amateurs, some with only a glimmer of hope for a ride in the seat of a real race car, rubbing virtual fenders with well-known professional racers in heated battle, and is a truly amazing spectacle. Zone 8 is hosting three such virtual races online on April 26th as part of their California Festival of Speed Online celebration that cannot take place in a traditional, physical sense this year. I think many, myself included, will be taking notes to see if it is something we might want to explore for an event in Zone 7 later this Spring. Other online social events have been suggested, including virtual wine tastings, virtual happy hours, or virtual [fill_in_blank] gatherings using online conferencing solutions like Zoom, Skype, Discord, and others. If you have an idea or wish to host something with your fellow club members, please reach out to me with details and how I can help.
Speaking of virtual meetings, the Redwood Board will be having a Zoom meeting this month (last Tuesday of the month) to catch-up on key administrative activities since we have not been able to meet in-person for a while now (this will be a closed meeting…board members only…to ensure this first go is as efficient as possible for closing on critical business). A Zone 7 Presidents’ Meeting will be held on May 2nd via Zoom where the PCA National President will be joining us to provide a club-wide update. We will also hold a virtual AX Happy Hour for autocrossers to socialize via Zoom on May 3rd (RSVP at http://msreg.com/AXhappyhour). There should be some more discussion and activity coming out of those meetings with regard to “what’s next”.
If you have questions, concerns, or just need to reconnect, feel free to reach out to me directly.
Thank you and stay safe out there!
I have been on the Redwood Region board since 2015, serving as Secretary (2015-2016), Vice President (2017-2018), and President (2019-Present). This club and the people in it have helped to add tremendous joy to my life. Serving on the board and volunteering time is my way of trying to give some of that joy back.