Friday, July 22, 2011

Audi coverage of Waterfest 17 (2011)

. Friday, July 22, 2011

Last weekend marked our second annual pilgrimage to Waterfest. Set at Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ, and now in its 17th year, Waterfest is the largest VW/Audi event of its kind in North America. While the show started as - and predominantly still is - a Volkswagen-centric event, the presence of Audi enthusiasts and show cars has been steadily growing with each new year. That said, this year's show saw perhaps more four-ringed grilles than ever before.

Last year, when was still relatively in its infancy, we were - more or less - vagabonds; roaming the blacktopped isles with neither a booth nor show car to our credit. This year however, much has changed. First off, thanks to some prescient timing, we just happened to be testing a 2012 Audi A7 at the same time; which in turn became a very popular addition to Waterfest's exhibition field. Secondly, thanks to our recent collaboration with Audizine, we were able to roll to the show, park and chill with our new found friends in Audizine's famed "tent city."

As for the show itself, many four ringed rides made an indelible mark on us (not to mention 20k+ other fans in attendance). From vendor booths to the show car and exhibition lots, Ingolstadt's finest were on hand in force - rivaled perhaps only by those at a *little* show near Austria's Lake W├Ârthersee.

As Waterfest's Audi scene grows, so with it comes many new tuning styles and models of which the show cars are based. Although the A4 and S4 are still tried and true favorites, we couldn't help but notice how strong an appearance other models are starting to make, specifically that of the S5. On top of which, vendors were especially keen to bring out more than a handful of R8s - most being tuned, V10-powered variants of Audi's pinnacle supercar.

In addition to those originally bred on North American pavement, Waterfest 17 set the stage for a few unicorn, "euro only" Audis. Cars such as a factory B7 RS4 Avant at the APR booth, a first-gen S3 hatch at Forge's display and a second generation S3 Sportback at the Unitronic stand all were a very cool departure from vehicles we are used to seeing on this side of the pond.

On top of the acres of show cars present, Waterfest also boasts an autocross track, full drag strip and burnout competition. All of which provide more than enough opportunity for owners to pit their cars against one another in a professional, organized arena; helping quell that irresistible urge for some to "light 'em up" in a less appropriate forum.

Overall, we couldn't think of a better way to spend a hot summer weekend. From great cars to an even better camaraderie with those sharing our same Addiction to Audi, Waterfest is definitely a can't-miss event of the year. Anyway, enough talk, it's time to head over to our photo gallery and check out the eye candy.

Click here for our full Waterfest 17 photo gallery.

Words: Adam Bush
Photos: Matt Richards