When I was Regional Director of the Ferrari Club of America, a guy asked me for time to talk with our owners and enthusiasts about his concept for a members only, country-club-style-race track just outside of Chicago.

He didn’t appear intoxicated so I thought what the hell, quietly walking toward a phone in case I had to call the mental health authorities.

Far from ill, Mark Basso captivated folks that night, broke ground soon after, and The Autobahn became another one of those ideas I wish I would have come up with.

10 years and 400 members later, Mark is one of the owners of one of the most successful tracks around and we caught up over lunch.

 

Mark Basso and I Talk Autobahn

Mark: What started as a track quietly evolved into garages for owners to house their cars, places for prep and repair, or simply areas to hang with family, friends, and other members. 6 days a week, 7 months a year, 4 different racing series, lots of open track time, all designed to make sure the membership experience is open to every level of skill, from novice to pro.

Dave: I have many clients that are members, and they all seem especially enthusiastic about the different types of racing available:

  • Miata Series: 20-30 cars, zoom-zoom
  • GT Series: based on power to weight ratio
  • Senna Series: Formula Mazdas, painted in vintage Formula 1 colors
  • Chase Race: Street cars are OK in this handicap races where cars are started at intervals, no passing in the corners, as faster cars chase down the slower cars–makes for one exciting finish!

 

 

 

Mark: As much as we are proud of our racing, we are equally proud of programs for police departments, corporate outings, business meetings, and teen driving.

Interested in the teen driving program, Mark told me of how The Autobahn had put together an educational program to teach licensed teens to drive, with the emphasis on safe driving under all conditions.

Mark:

This is an intense one day program that teaches safe driving attitudes and advanced defensive driving skills at the only facility in the Chicago area large enough to safely conduct these exercises.

Your teen will get behind the wheel of one of our Mazda fleet vehicles, not a simulator. We are setup year-round to create winter driving conditions and teach techniques including emergency braking, skid control, crash avoidance, and vehicle familiarity and maintenance.

Through the creation of various accident scenarios your teen will learn the skills of how to handle a car, the importance of awareness and the potential results of distracted driving and excessive speed. Parents are invited to meet the instructor team and get behind the wheel of the Mazda fleet to execute several key drills while the teens are in their morning classroom session.

The Autobahn is a special place for those that love cars, and need an outlet for their passion.  Learn to drive better an any age, come spectate exciting racing, or snag a membership and build the garage of your dreams.

Contact Mark, mention my name, and let him give you a special tour of the facilities.

See you on down the road,

Dave

CLICK HERE FOR THEIR WEBSITE

 

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About the Author: Dave Miller

Dave Miller drives the fastest, coolest, sexiest cars on the planet. He travels the world uncovering the hidden gems in luxury transportation, meeting the owners, and connecting with extraordinary car enthusiasts. Dave is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and writes for various publications. In addition to DriveWithDave.com, you can follow Dave's adventures via Drive With Dave Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and tune into the Drive with Dave Podcast via iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud.

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