In every racer’s life, there comes a time that requires us to trade in horsepower and the smell of burnt rubber, for cribs and dirty diapers.
A time when the need for speed, becomes the need for a nap.
This was the case for Paul Azan, a good friend of ours, here at Active Autowerke. Paul started racing regularly back in 1990, but was forced to give it up shortly after his second child was born in 1995.
Thankfully, Paul’s hiatus was but a brief pit stop, thanks in part, to Active Autowerke. By 2009, Paul had purchased a ’99 M coupe, and once his dear friends Karl and Mike Hugh got wind of it, the race was (quite literally) on. A humble goal was proposed; transform this already capable car into something a little more track-oriented. However, after testing the waters at a couple of high-performance driving events, full-blown racing fever infected the trio of Paul, Karl, and Mike…Who would have made a great 70’s folk-band now that we think of it. Although it took four years, the time finally came to identify another potential victim – this time, an E46 coupe – and set to work creating a monster.
Work began in Fabruary of 2013. The initial stage of the build was probably the most challenging part for Paul. All the planning and double and triple checking of all the parts put a lot of pressure on a man who was still juggling a career and raising a family. However, like any good friend, Karl helped lift some of the weight off his shoulders by guiding Paul through the entire process.
It just so happened that during this time in-between projects, the Hugh brothers had been hard at work perfecting the art of building weekend racecars from the ground-up. In fact, Paul’s full competition-spec cage was actually the second one they had the chance to fabricate with Active’s new and improved equipment. Within six months, the car was nearly ready to terrorize South Florida’s racetracks.
Though the car was new, Paul was ready to rely upon his considerable amateur experience to guide them in his first race back on a competitive road course. The odds were stacked against them in their maiden voyage at Sebring. Paul had his work cut out for him, qualifying 29th in a field of 63. Of course, the wet conditions at the track did nothing to help ease his anxiety. However, Paul picked up right where he left off; with a BMW built by Active Autowerke, and a well-thought out plan of attack, he placed 3rd overall and 2nd in his class!
Inspired by the solid outing, Paul dove head-first into the SCCA’s ITR class. The reasonable costs, ability to hone his skills as a driver, and the fact that it was just plain fun were the deciding factors in selecting ITR. He wasn’t looking for fame and fortune; he simply wanted to get involved in some grassroots racing – and introduce his son to his personal passion.
By 2014, Paul had traversed across the state, hitting Homestead, PBIR, Sebring, Daytona, and competing in various Enduros. In seven different events, the car amassed 5 class wins, getting faster with every outing. Wanting to maintain his momentum, Paul competed at Homestead Miami Speedway in early September, finishing 2nd in his class and 3rd overall, beating his previous personal best time by four seconds!
Fatherhood naturally leads to many sacrifices in life, but there is a lesson to be learned here: a man’s (or woman’s) inner speed demon will always live on. Plus, once the little tykes get older, you’ll be ready to share a lifetime passion with them. A wise man once said, “if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” We feel that if you can raise a child, then you can build a racecar…especially with Active Autowerke by your side!