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Old 3rd May 2018, 16:15   #1
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Default The Gingerman Raceway Track (Michigan) - Gridlife with a VW Golf GTI

First let me start of by quoting what Wikipedia has to say about Gridlife.

Gridlife Midwest. Gridlife is a series of annual Music and Motorsports festivals held at Gingerman Raceway (since 2014) and Road Atlanta (since 2016) GRIDLIFE events feature daytime events such as road racing, Time attack, drifting, car shows and concerts with contemporary EDM, Hip Hop and Alternative music in the evenings.
Here is a video of what to usually expect at Gridlife. Surprisingly when I was going through the video, I actually saw myself in it! @2:34. You can see me with my girlfriend in black and our friends.

General Information
It was the most memorable time of my life. I went there in 2017 and I sadly missed out this year. If you're into cars, this is the place to be. It was a 3-day camping event. I had early access pass so it was 4-days for me. Everything was open almost 24/7. Everyone had to bring their own equipment from home. We had three tents, one canopy and one generator. Oh did I forget to mention we also had BBQ and a mini stove to make food? Now, I'm strictly against drinking and driving, and I know Alcohol discussion is not really allowed, but in this case, it was more along the lines of smoke and walk aimlessly while eating food and looking at cars. Since it was on a private property, and while there were police officers, we could do pretty much what we pleased. Don't believe it takes a genius to realize this place would reek of weed and gas. I mean, you can't really go wrong with either in my opinion.

Below is a map of the place. I took it off Google Maps and tried my best to accurately represent what the place was like with legends.
  1. Red: Camping - This was camping for people with GA Pass. This is where most people were parked and had their tents.
  2. Green: Trackside Camping - This was camping right by the track. Cost a little extra but was worth every single penny. Waking up to burning tires is a great feeling.
  3. Teal: RV Camping - This was a camping site for people who bought RV's to the event.
  4. Pink: Stage - This is the stage where the music festival took place. We had great DJ's including Keys N Krates one night.
  5. White: Vendors - Anyone could have been a vendor. You had to pay the event organizers some money to have your booth there.
  6. Purple: Spectator Area: While there were other spectator areas, this was great since you had access to almost all the viewing angles of the track.
  7. Blue: Track Padlock - This is where all the track cars and their trailers were parked. Also the place where one would enter to the track, and inspect their cars.
  8. Yellow: Car Show - You could have entered your car into the car show if you wanted. You would get tenting space near by and there were prizes as well.
  9. Black: Track Crew Camping - This was a camping site for everyone who participated on the track and their crew.

The Gingerman Raceway Track (Michigan) - Gridlife with a VW Golf GTI-gingermanmap.jpg

First Day
3 PM - We reached the South Haven, MI to the camp site and to our surprise, while we were early, there were people who were there before us waiting in line to get in. We waited for some time, and they let us through to the campsite. It was a slow process going in, but once we were there, we were escorted to the campsite and had to drive through grass to get there while there were rocks flying into the cars. This was the only downside of the experience. A bit picky sure, but when your car is already low, even little bit of rock chips effects you . Below is a video taken by my friend of us waiting in line. You can see my White MK7 GTI and me in grey shirt. I was really fat back then.

4:30 PM to 7:30 PM - The first few hours, all we did was setup the camp, canopy and the kitchen. Once done, we drove few miles down the road to Walmart and got all the supplies needed to survive for 3-days without having to leave the campsite again. This includes food, batteries, towels etc. By the time we were done, it was nigh time (We did take quite some time for all the shopping). All the videos posted in this part are taken on the first day. Hence you don't see a decent crowd yet. That, and people were still setting up their tents, so not many were out there enjoying.

8 PM - Once everything was setup, we decided to relax and listen to music. There was nothing much to do since the event technically started the next day. There were no cars on the track either and all we really did today was relax for all the work we did and become not-sober.

Day 2
11 AM - Woke up to the sound of drifting cars and burning tires. I was extremely excited as it was my first Gridlife since 2014, and I wanted to know how much things had changed. Boy was I in for a surprise! There were established players coming to the track including Falken Tires, BC Racing, AEM etc. First thing I did after waking up (and having coffee), is to go and see whether it was drift time, or track time. Welp! Turned out to be drift time! We just sat there for few hours just watching cars drift around. Here are few videos from that.

3 PM - Around 3pm, we went back to the tent, had some food and decided to be not-sober again. You will hear about that a lot throughout the post. Since that is what we really did throughout our trip. Regardless, once that was done, we decided to play few games and take a dip in the pool. The pool was actually made on the bed of a pickup truck. You could see a simliar one in the opening video of the post @1:47. The one in the video was a small pickup truck. We did it in the F350. Sadly I don't have many pictures left since my phone was formatted. Everything you see here is gathered from whatever is left. But it is safe to assume with the amount of heat above us, this was extremely refreshing.

7 PM - We were all hungry again, and decided to go out of the campsite and go to Taco Bell instead of cooking whatever we had. Because that's what you do when high! Once we came back, it was time for the music festival. We spent the rest of the night dancing at the festival and enjoying the night. Here are some few videos. After 12, they shut down the music and had a smaller tent built for silent disco.

Day 3
1 PM - One of the reason why we woke up so late, is because we decided to randomly go around the whole campsite looking for a place to party, which we did find. So sleeping wasn't really an option until 6am. Moving on, today we decided we would have enough of drifting since they were the same cars, and go around the track padlock, car show etc. Of course, this is after eating lunch, and being non-sober again.

4 PM - Sadly a lot of pictures are missing for the reasons listed above, but here are some of the pictures that we took from the Track Padlook and the car show.
  • The organge car is my friend's Del Sol with a Honda Civic front end. That is a boosted 4-banger as well. (It's on bags. He really doesn't drive like this.)
  • The red car is a Scion FRS with a Toyota GT86 rebadge and yes, that is a Ferrari 458 Engine in the front.

The Gingerman Raceway Track (Michigan) - Gridlife with a VW Golf GTI-22092887_1659914154041288_155160479_o.jpg

The Gingerman Raceway Track (Michigan) - Gridlife with a VW Golf GTI-delsol.jpg

The Gingerman Raceway Track (Michigan) - Gridlife with a VW Golf GTI-22069007_1659914147374622_63630494_o.jpg

The Gingerman Raceway Track (Michigan) - Gridlife with a VW Golf GTI-22068929_1659914174041286_764735902_o.jpg

The Gingerman Raceway Track (Michigan) - Gridlife with a VW Golf GTI-22095654_1659914130707957_88093617_o.jpg

The Gingerman Raceway Track (Michigan) - Gridlife with a VW Golf GTI-4fy75a3-imgur.jpg

The Gingerman Raceway Track (Michigan) - Gridlife with a VW Golf GTI-eonxem7-imgur.jpg

10 PM - Time for some more music. Tonight, it was Keys N Krates time. They're a famous EDM band. You can listen to some of their music by clicking on the link below.

Keys N Krates Soundcloud

Here is a video for that night.

Day 4
Today was final day for the event. I had signed up for track time with cars in my class. The last day was for mainly people who signed up for such events and have to drive on the track. I started the day by running through checks and making sure the car is in perfect condition and can perform on track without any issues. This was important as I had to drive back home today, with the same car. I checked my coolant level, oil level as well as my brake fluid. During this time, my car was fully stock. Including the tires. Once I had gone through the checklist, I removed everything from my car, including everything from the glove compartment (That is a requirement when driving on the track). I drove to the inspection site where they inspected my cars for any loose parts. I was notified that I had to remove the hub caps (which I forgot). Spent 20-minutes removing the hub caps. Sadly the way the stock GTI wheels are made, the hub caps have absolutely no gap for a screw driver or something along the lines to fit in and have it removed. I had to remove all 4-tires, and remove the hub cap that way.

Usually I'm not a nervous Nancy, but since my friends were watching me compete, and having one friend in the car with me, it was a bit nerve racking for me and I was mortified. I kept my mind on trying to get the fastest lap time for a FWD Hatchback, and just decided to gun it. Below is a picture they took of me and video I took from my GoPro.

The Gingerman Raceway Track (Michigan) - Gridlife with a VW Golf GTI-14920049670008c0430af6932199fa0bc80a21e17e637121a54d2e52ba592ea10890c1fa4a93.jpg

My Experience on track:
Please note, my experience is subjective and may not reflect everyone's experience. First let me start by saying I had a wonderful time driving at this track. I've driven at different tracks before, however, the cars were made for the track. In this case, I took my daily driver just for the sake of it.

However, this track was excellent to drive on. Had great curves, properly marked Apex, and since it was a relatively small track, it wasn't hard to memorize. Within the first 5-minutes of the first session, I was able to drive at a good pace. There were a total of 4-sessions. 20-minute for each session. There were different category of cars, and I was in stock hatchback class (Only FWD).

However, it wasn't all sunny and beautiful for me particularly. While I getting ready for my last sessions, I heard a noise coming from the passenger side rear tire. After careful inspection, I found a nail stuck inside that tire, which was extremely inconvenient. Sadly my session ended right there as I didn't have any spares with me. Now, that wasn't the worst bit. I had to drive 4-hours back from Michigan to Chicago the same day on the same tire. I could have bought a new one, but the track was in a remote location and the time was 7pm on a Sunday.

The only solution I could think about at the time was to repair the tire myself and drive home hoping nothing would happen. Oh did I mention, it started raining soon after? It just wasn't my day to be honest. Regardless, I strapped on a Donut, and went to a local Automotive store with the speed of a Turtle. Once there, I bought a tire repair kit, removed the nail, patched the tire, removed the Donut, put the tire back on, and drove home. Yes it was as annoying and painful as one can imagine. Considering how tired I already was from racing and working on the car beforehand. All in all, I removed my tires in total of 3-times that day. One for removing the hub caps, once for putting on a Donut, and another for putting on the original and removing the Donut.

All in all, it was amazing 4-days I spent with people who love and have a passion for cars the same way I do. There are some days in your life that you will remember forever. These were my 4-days. I met some of the most wonderful people during the stay, as well as had a great practice run for my track driving. If anyone does go to United States or does live there, please do go to Gridlife once. They do the event twice in a year. Gridlife Midwest, which is in South Haven, MI, and Gridlife Road Atlanta, which is in Atlanta, Georgia. This is what heaven looks like if you're into music festival, camping and waking up to burning rubber, loud V8's, the Turbo whistle, Whining Supercharger or the sound of a Non-catted Exhaust. Since I'm in India due to business related issue, I wasn't able to make it this year. But I will definitely be there for the next one.

Other Fun Facts
On the second day, when the music festival was over, and the silent music was over, there were three of us who still wanted to party. Loud music on the stage was prohibited, however there were no restrictions on campsite music regardless of how loud it is. We decided to go around the campsite looking for people to party with when we ran into this lady who had a can of coke. She asked us if we wanted the can which contained Jack Daniels in it. We were skeptical and asked if there was anything else inside along with Jack Daniels. She innocently and while smirking relied with a resounding "No". We figured, "Hey! Free drink and coke!". Turns out, she wasn't kidding. The can had absolutely no coke or anything else. She removed the coke from the can, and filled the can with Jack Daniels. Was it weird? Sure! But boy was I impressed!

Last edited by sxenimit : 5th May 2018 at 05:50.
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Old 6th May 2018, 14:31   #2
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Default re: The Gingerman Raceway Track (Michigan) - Gridlife with a VW Golf GTI

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Moving to main forum. Thanks for sharing
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Old 7th May 2018, 12:18   #3
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Default Re: The Gingerman Raceway Track (Michigan) - Gridlife with a VW Golf GTI

Wow! This is a proper event for current generation petrolheads.
P.S. That GT-4586 is a drool-worthy build.
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Old 8th May 2018, 03:52   #4
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Default Re: The Gingerman Raceway Track (Michigan) - Gridlife with a VW Golf GTI

Originally Posted by VTEC_Powaaaa View Post
Wow! This is a proper event for current generation petrolheads.
P.S. That GT-4586 is a drool-worthy build.
Absolutely a perfect event for petrolheads. It would be nice to host something of such nature in India. Do a first-one. I'm currently trying that myself along with opening up my automotive business. We will see how it goes.

Not to mention, that GT4586 actually crashed and the next day he was back on the track. Which is amazing for a car of such nature.
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