Patrick Hoffstetter checked out Ride.Drive.Give this past weekend at Austin’s very own Circuit of the Americas.
When I think of a charity event or benefit, I usually think of black tie events, catered to hell and back – the worst kind of stuff. A dour event with little celebration. That’s why I was blown away by what the Center for Child Protection here in Travis County was doing. Forgoing the usual swank, they traded a suit and tie for a race suit and helmet by hosting an event at the Circuit of the Americas. Bringing together the big kids in all of us at an event that really gets the blood pumping.
Before we get too far however, let’s talk about the amazing cause that we gathered for. If you are an Austin native, I assure you that you have seen at least some of the Center’s work. From the billboards around town talking about child abuse, to helping local children get through their trauma, the Center for Child Protection has been an invaluable resource for Travis county’s most vulnerable citizens. The event it’s was the third time that the center had held an event at CotA, and it looked to be the most impressive yet.
Ride.Drive.Give is a simple idea, gather some of the most impressive cars in the Austin area, gather some of the best instructors in the area, and bring them all to a world class racetrack. Featured this year was the ability for donors to ride in hypercars such as the Porsche 918 Spyder, or the McLaren P1. Wanna go for a full racing experience? Have a Pro driver like Jeff Mosing take you around in his Porsche 911 GT3 cup car. If riding isn’t your style, you could bring your own car and take it out on the track yourself, seeing what you can do for yourself. And even if you don’t have a sports car of your own, the Longhorn Racing Academy was on tap with their collection of cars to instruct in.
Besides the action on track, there was a lounge for drivers, volunteers, and participants to chat, relax, and celebrate the work that was being done. Also on tap were racing simulators to get some extra wheel time in, without having to leave the very lovely air conditioned paddock area. In the lounged I saw many friends and colleagues of mine, all happy to be at a place we love for a great cause. The energy of the event was electric, and even if a mistake or two happened, I never saw anyone upset. Tara and the rest of the Center staff were accommodating and lovely, and were able to fit me in for a ride or two. Being on track with some of the most amazing machines on the planet, and knowing what a beautiful event it was reminded me how special the Austin experience it is. At the end of the day, it was hard to believe that this was all done for the kids, all the while letting us all play around like the big kids we are.
After all was said and done, the event raised more that $161,000 dollars for the foundation, which will let them continue to help kids that are going through the hardest parts of their lives. And this money is going to actively help the kids that need help. Last year alone the center provided almost 6,000 services to children alone. And events like this will not only help the center keep going as they have for 25 years now, but will also show to everyone in the Austin area that those of us in the automotive community are dedicated members of society. That and maybe getting more people to experience the lovely facility that we all have in the Circuit of the Americas. I was assured that this event will be happening next year as well, so maybe visit the center’s website and see if you can help make next year just as exciting as this one.