Hello everyone. My name is Ben French and I am excited to be running to be part of the Board of Directors in our great San Francisco region of the SCCA. Before I ask for your vote and share with you some of my goals for our club let me tell you a little about myself for those of you whom I have not yet met.
I have been a car enthusiast my whole life making a profession out of the automotive industry upon graduating high school in the mid-1990s. Now as the Automotive Department Chair for American River College, I get to share that passion for cars with hundreds of young people throughout the greater Sacramento Region. Like many motorsport enthusiasts, I started racing karts and later I began autocrossing with the Sacramento SCCA chapter in the early 2000s. In addition, I did numerous track events over the years and recently I was fortunate enough to obtain my competition-racing license and have begun coaching other drivers in the art of performance driving. Over the years, I have been the president of classic car clubs; I have managed numerous budgets, and planned many regional activities and automotive events. My racing adventures have always included my friends and family and I now have two great kids who have both raced karts and have become pretty good drivers themselves.
It is thinking about my kids and the many other students I meet every day that has persuaded me to run for the SCCA Board of Directors. I want to help ensure that car nuts like ourselves always have a place to race and multiple ways to have fun with cars. The SCCA has lots to offer a motorsport enthusiast. From our great autocross events, to the successful SCCA track night program and of course our wheel-to-wheel racing events. Where else can you be right in the action with the track first responder crew, or be scrutineering high performance racecars. However even with all the SCCA has to offer the reality is that times are changing. I have heard many complain how kids are no longer in to cars. I am here to tell you that is not the case. Yes, there are more distractions for kids today and yes there are many more barriers to getting your driver’s license; but I meet thousands of people every year who are just as passionate about cars as ever. One only has to look at the popularity of the SEMA show or the sheer number of high performance cars you can buy today to see that the market for car enthusiasts is strong.
Therefore, the question becomes how we get these car enthusiasts to be active members with in the SCCA. For that, I have many ideas but all of these condense down to three critical areas. SCCA exposure, good vibes and fun events. The truth is that many kids don’t know about the SCCA and what we do. Every time I take the race car out to a car show or a high school career day it is a huge hit. Want to reach young people and get them to race on the track and not the street talk to your local Drivers Ed teacher. I know there are many ways we can expose this club to the next generation if we make a concerted effort to do so. I also listed good vibes. This is a critical element, are we welcoming, are we having fun. I am big proponent of the inclusive summer camp approach of making sure all our participants have fun and this starts with what I call a good vibe at every event. Lastly fun events. Maybe it’s time we try new things to encourage club crossover activities. Things like have a club race and an autocross on the same weekend. Invite the autocrossers to do a lapping session during lunch. How about a car show at a race or even a drifting exhibition.
This club has been managed my many great people for many years and although I have numerous ideas to help the future success of the region I have always been one to learn from the experience of others as well. Whether it was some of the great master mechanics I learned from early in my career, or some of the great racers I compete with now I have always been one to learn from others. With this, I would be a board member who is willing to learn others while integrating fresh ideas. As a board member my goals would be to look for ways to make racing more affordable, to further develop and improve our volunteer incentive system, to reach more people and boost membership and most importantly have great time with others having fun with cars.
With this I would appreciate your vote and if you are interested in sharing your stories and passion for racecars and motorsports with other please don’t hesitate to contact me. I look forward to talking with you at the next SCCA event.