European-make vehicle owners have been congregating at the Navy Pier lot for over four years.
  • European-make vehicle owners have been congregating at the Navy Pier lot for over four years.
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On June 12 at 7:30 p.m., about 30 European vehicle owners met by the USS Midway on North Harbor Drive south of Broadway, downtown.

"The Qualcomm/SDCCU parking lot is one of the best in the country because it has real-life dips, there’s holes in the asphalt."

Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, and other European-make vehicle owners have been congregating at the Navy Pier lot for over four years to talk about the happenings in their auto building and racing hobby.

Word on the street is that their races at the SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm Stadium) parking lot, won’t be around for much longer.

The gray USS Midway is a “killer-backdrop.”

“That’s lame,” Kevin said. “I haven’t raced there but I will some day.”

A middle-aged man said, “[You] better hurry …. them days are numbered.”

This night, Kevin took photos of the Euros with his Nikon d7000 camera.

Jerry's VW GTi. He will return to SDCCU July 7 for the sports car course.

The clubs try to reserve their section of the parking lot for the predominantly German-make vehicles, then as the sun sets and the general public and tourists filter out, they line up the vehicles by makes, models and eras. If one chooses, his/her vehicle can post up on one of the “sweet-spots” in the lot, for a photoshoot with the downtown skyline, the waterfront facing Coronado, and the gray USS Midway — as a “killer-backdrop.”

“I’m not certain about the closure of the [SDCCU] tracks,” said Shawn, the owner of the blue Audi station wagon that’s got an aerodynamic roof rack.

Kevin took photos of Shawn’s blue “twin-turbo-grocery-getter” with the downtown lights gleaming from behind.

“I’d call RaceLegal.com and find out,” suggested Shawn.

“We just have dates until the end of the year and we just haven’t posted them yet,” said Darrin H., director of operations for the RaceLegal 1/8 mile drag-races that have been held at Qualcomm Stadium parking lot since the early 2000s.

“We will continue to race here until they say we cannot,” she said.

During our discussion on June 15, Darrin was uncertain about the stadium’s plans or if the parking lot will be available for the San Diego drag-racers in 2019.

“If the stadium is going to rebuild or tear down,” she said, “they can easily incorporate our 1/8 mile track; we just have to have the community behind us.”

On the RaceLegal section of the city website, it states in part: “Year 2003 data show a 99% reduction in organized illegal street racing activity in San Diego and a 79% improvement in illegal street racing involved crash mortality/morbidity. Year 2004 produced a 55% improvement in illegal street racing crash involved death and injury.”

Jerry’s been racing his VWs at the RaceLegal events since it “started at the then called Sports Arena parking lot then it moved to Qualcomm”; he also raced on the Sports Car Club Of America race courses that are also held in the same Qualcomm parking lot, since the 1990s.

“The one that’s gonna get hit the hardest is Sports Car Club,” he said, “because they need real estate. It’s not just a straight 1/8th mile, it has a bunch of curves and some straight aways. The Qualcomm/SDCCU parking lot is one of the best in all of the country because it has real-life dips, there’s holes in the asphalt, there’s elevations you go up and down, and then you got the water gutters. It changes the dynamics of racing which makes it bad-ass. So what track you are gonna wanna race on; one that’s just flat or one with all of these turns and change of elevations?”

“I believe they (SDCCU) have told us the lots should be available into 2020,” said Kris Roberts, “but we will take it as it comes.”

Roberts is a chairperson for the San Diego chapter of the Sports Car Club of America. “We have an active lot subcommittee looking for alternatives and plan to hold test events with at least one other location later this year,” he said.

Club members are looking into the Naval Air Station, North Island and Cal State University, San Marcos; as options.

“That’s our location,” Darrin said regarding the stadium parking lot which is a quarter mile west off of the I-15 and Friars Road exit. “If it goes away, we cannot survive [because] we do not have an alternative site planned. We are assuming that we are ok until the end of the year, but we also know that anything can change.”

Next month, Jerry will be back at the USS Midway to show off his 1983 VW GTi which is powered by a 2.0 liter 16 valve motor and a turbocharger. He’ll also test run it at the RaceLegal event on July 6 and then return to the SDCCU parking lot the next day to race on the sports car course.

“If the [SDCCU] races end, that's gonna hurt a lot of people that have been doing this for decades. The closest Sports Car Club track is in Fontana and the closest for the drag racers is at Barona.”

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