We've been covering what's affectionately known as Camp Steeda since its inception. While it's appropriate for the Steeda crew to move its campus to Sebring International Raceway for a little open-track camp out, the event is actually the opening event of a whole season of On-Track events put on by the Special Vehicle Team Owners Association, and its official, lengthy moniker is the SVTOA National On-Track Event Sebring Sensation/Camp Steeda 2005. We just call it Camp Steeda for short, but it's not short on fun, and it's been growing each year. This year was sold out, with 100 participants, and the host hotel, Chateau Elan, sold out three weeks after registration opened.
In previous years, the event was only run on an abbreviated section of the Sebring course, but this year, the full 3.7-mile track was at the disposal of Camp Steeda participants. The on-track festivities began Saturday with classroom work, and on-track warm-up sessions, like braking maneuvers and a short autocross. After more classroom work on Sunday, participants received in-car instruction while they opened up their Fords (and a few oddballs) on the historic road course. It was great seeing everyday cars mixing things up with Steeda's famous race cars.
If the usual on-track action weren't enough, our pal and SVTOA Southeast Regional Director Gene Pavliscsak had big-time support from the home office. Several heavy hitters from Ford and Ford SVT attended Camp Steeda. Headlining the celebrity SVT guests were Director, Advanced Product Creation and Special Vehicle Team, Hau Thai Tang; Manager, Ford Racing Performance Parts, Jamie Allison; and SVT Chief Engineer, Jay O'Connell. Even more popular than the SVT engineers were their creations-the Ford GT and the Shelby Cobra GT 500 show car. The Shelby was just there for ogling, but rides in the GT were auctioned off with the proceeds going to the Big Brothers, Big Sisters charity.
So, whether you were one of the 122 drivers or 400 spectators, Camp Steeda was a fun lap around the Blue Oval. See you there next year.