Event Coverage: SoCal R32 GTG Part V

After the last SoCal R32 GTG on August 29, 2004 at VF Engineering, everyone was asking the same question, “How are we going to out do that one, Eugene?” The 69 R32s that gathered at VF Engineering set a record that most thought would not be able to beat. But days after the event, Alexi from HPA Motorsports contacted me and mentioned that they were interested in doing something with SoCal R32 in the near future. Eight months and 43 e-mails later, it all came together.

And it came together in a big way. On Sunday, April 10th well over 100 R32s descended upon Speedzone in the City of Industry for what would be the largest organized gathering of VW R32s in the world. The official count yielded 108 R32s neatly parked in the reserved area of this family amusement center that features go-kart racing, miniature golf, video games and more. Attendees were not just SoCal locals either – a good number of R32s drove in from Kern County, San Francisco; Las Vegas and Phoenix for this event.

HPA Motorsports sent their full staff from British Columbia, Canada for this GTG and their crew manned their impressive trailer-tent which housed their legendary HPA Twin Turbo 550hp R32, the newly unveiled HPA FT-360 Single Turbo R32 and a HPA FT-400 Single Turbo Audi TT 3.2 DSG. These three impressive examples of HPA’s workmanship were surrounded by elaborate displays from co-sponsors Dunlop, BBS and Recaro. They worked tirelessly throughout the day answering questions from the attendees, even handing out t-shirts and arranging test drives.

In addition to the HPA cars on display, the SoCal crowd was also treated to the official unveiling of VF Engineering’s Stage IV 400-whp supercharged monster and the first public appearance of EIP’s Stage I turbo system for the R32. I believe this was the first ever GTG to feature 7 different forced-induction kits in addition to just about every other R32 mod available to the public. Truly, this event was a showcase for the tremendous amount of product available for a car with only a total base of 5,000 cars.

It’s really difficult to explain to others (especially my wife) why we all love to spend our weekends attending a GTG. But there is just something special about gathering 100+ enthusiasts on a Sunday morning to do nothing more than bond with others that share the same love for a very special car. Because of this, I purposely left the day’s event schedule simple, loosely planned and very laid back to allow the SoCal R32 members time to mingle and place a face to the screen-names that they’ve come to know as friends online. Some people just walked the parking lot, taking in the 108 R32s, others raced around in the go-karts for bragging rights, and others simply chatted with friends, old and new, about this obsession we call R32 ownership.

After lunch was served and Marcel Horn of HPA Motorsports had a chance to briefly speak to the gathered enthusiasts, it was time for the SoCal R32 Sponsor’s Pick Show & Shine car show. This event was simply a very informal car show that was judged by well-known industry people. They were asked to vote for their favorite R32 using any criteria they wanted. Selecting three top cars out of 108 proved to be a challenging task, evidenced by the fact that over 20 different cars received a nod from the judges, but in the end the winners were Chris Mora (QBNR32), Chris Barzman (CBARZ) and Adam Boucher (R32BUM). The winners, in addition to collecting bragging rights over all fellow members, received an amazing hand-crafted HPA trophy made from an actual turbo housing.

The GTG’s most anticipated event was held for last, the now famous SoCal R32 Sponsor Raffle. SoCal R32 is a true grassroots organization that does not collect dues, donations or advertising fees. Instead, sponsors are asked to donate substantial items for these huge GTGs and this event’s list of raffle items did not disappoint. The prize list grew to over $6000 in value and included:

– Hella R/S/S/R Tail Lights – provided by Exklusiv Motorsports

– Set of all 3 VF engine/tranny mounts – provided by VF Engineering

– EIP CCAI, Short Shifter and Motor Mount – provided by EIP Tuning

– OEM Slotted Brake Rotors – provided by Parts4VWs

– GIAC 4 program ECU flash and handheld flashloader – provided by GIAC/Torque Factory

– AEM Cold Air Intake – provided by NA Motorsports

– Wetterauer Performance Chip + Install – provided by Wetterauer

– Neuspeed Polished Upper Tie Bar – provided by Neuspeed

– 50% off CPP Adj. Control Arms – provided by Supreme Power Parts

– REVO ECU flash and SPS3 device – provided by Tuning Technologies and REVO

– HPA SHS Coilover Kit and HPA Short Shift Kit, – provided by HPA Motorsports

– Free suspension install and 4-wheel alignment – provided EF1 Motorsports

I can truly say that the day turned out to be a huge success, and not just because of the sheer number of R32s that showed up, but based upon the feedback from those who drove from very far away to attend. SoCal R32 continues to grow and it won’t be long before we break 150 R32s at a GTG, but till then, we have some smaller events planned that will continue to grow our member base and strengthen friendships that have been made over the past year. Look for these upcoming SoCal R32 events in 2005…

– SoCal R32 @ Dubwars 2005 (http://RDefined.com/dubwars); June 5, 2005

– SoCal R32 Invades Sin City, Las Vegas (Date TBD)

– SoCal R32 Technical Briefing @ GIAC (Date TBD)

– SoCal R32 @ Village Coffee Roaster’s Toys for Tots Charity Event (Date TBD)

Group Info:

SoCal R32

Group Organizer: Eugene M. Lee (info@SoCalR32.com)

To join the SoCal R32 mailing list, send an email to members-subscribe@SoCalR32.com

Official Website: RDefined.com

Special Thanks:

Bernie of dubNation for use of photos www.dub-nation.com

For more discussion on this story, click on the link to our discussion forums to the left.
For more photos related to this story, click on the link to our gallery at the right.