AITP 2019 Q&A
Weʼve come to the end of another thrilling event that yet again brought Audi enthusiasts together from all over the UK. We travelled back in time to see the beauty of what Audi once was, whilst admiring the present, and we even saw a glimpse of what the future may hold with the unseen, 3D-printed Audi TT Safari.
We thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this yearʼs event, it was a pleasure to see so many new and familiar faces at the QT show stand. With every event that we take part in, we always try to give something back to the community. As many of you will know, this year we hosted a raffle that included the prize of either a FOC stage 1 Revo map or a FOC service, MOT or a x4 wheel alignment correction. Every entry received 10% off any of the above.
After the event, we caught up with the man whoʼs been running AITP since the day it started – our very own Calvin Chinsang. Being the creator, we wanted to give you an exclusive insight into his story.
Q&A with AITPs Calvin Chinsang:
1. Why did you set up AITP?
I have been going to VW events for many years, I started to see the Audi following growing. But Audi always seemed to just be the “tag along” brand at these shows. Which in essence is true as they are predominantly VW shows.
It seemed Audi owners needed their own event. Working for Audi back then, I knew that Audi owners were, the more family orientated owner. With this in mind, I set up Audis in the Park to be as all inclusive of all age groups as I could.
2. What challenges do you face in organising the event?
Wow, where do I begin? I know the age old saying “you canʼt please everyone all the time” but thatʼs exactly what I try to do… please everyone!
With such a wide age range of visitors, what pleases one, doesnʼt always please the next. We try to give a happy medium and try to break down the them and us boundaries and make the event as relaxed and as all-inclusive as possible.
New tighter, stricter Health and Safety regulations, licensing policies can be challenging but we understand that a lot of these things need to be in place to make sure everyone has a safe enjoyable day.
Aside from all these procedures and policies we need to have in place, even before we open the doors, one of the absolute biggest challenges is being the “face” of AITP. There
are 2 sides to being known as the man behind Audis in the Park. The good side, where
everyone praises and applauds your efforts and appreciates the amount of blood sweat and genuine tears it takes to put the show together, and then there is the tricky side of being the “face” in answering all the direct messages, sometimes 15-20 a day even though I have an entire page on the websites dedicated to FAQs.
3. Any facts/key stats that you have from previous/this year’s event (ie numbers/ turnout)?
Numbers? Hmm, I stopped counting attendance numbers years ago. 100 cars or 10000 cars, it doesnʼt matter as long as people have a good day, sounds cheesy but thatʼs the basics of what a car show should be about, people enjoying themselves, not numbers.
A few facts from this years show – Audi Tradition from Ingolstadt in Germany (aka The Motherland) brought over 3 very special cars. Cars that have NEVER been seen in the uk before. This alone was a huge eye opener for me as it started to dawn on me that AITP must be kind of a big deal for Audi Tradition to showcase these cars at MY little show! People have said that AITP 11 (the event we have just had) was probably the biggest yet. This amplifies the opinion of Audi Germany that there is no bigger Audi event in the World.
4. Why Audi?
Good question! I think working for the brand for 11 years highlighted to me why Audi is a prestige brand. Itʼs a bizarre thing, once you own an Audi, itʼs very rare you leave the brand for something else, and if you do, itʼs not long before you are back in an Audi.
In my youth (sounding prehistoric now) I was heavily involved in the Classic mini scene. Competed in numerous London to Brighton Mini runs and various Mini events. So yes, the world could have been a very different place if I’d taken a different route! AITP might of never existed!
5. What are your future plans for the event for the next few years?
This is an easy one…..There are no plans! AITP 11 will probably be the last……but it is probably. Running the event puts an incredible strain on me. Physically, emotionally and mentally. I am 50 years old next year after all!
That being said, I am a never say never guy and who knows what a few months/years break will bring.
If the event does continue, I always want to raise the bar year on year. Raise the profile of the show and entice even more European visitors.
6. What makes AITP different from other Audi/car events?
Audis in the Parkʼs motto, that is the benchmark for the show is, “Old, New, Standard or Modified…if itʼs an Audi, itʼs welcome”….. we pride ourselves on being all inclusive. We do not only allow out and out show cars on the field. We welcome 200,000 mile daily drivers to park alongside brand new Audi R8s. There is no “them and us” “Mines better than yours” at AITP, we are all there for the love of the brand.
Having a “face” behind a show is a big selling point for us as people support people. Become faceless where nobody even knows who is the organiser and suddenly people start to resent the event and not support it.
As above, I have been to all sorts of cars shows in the past, you get to know what works and what doesnʼt, what elements of each show you like and what elements of each show you donʼt like. Cherry pick the best bits and push out the bad bits. It seems to have worked for the last 11 years so we must have done something right.
Every single element of the show is done for a specific reason. Hand on heart, NOTHING is overlooked!
7. Since running AITP, what are your most memorable moments?
Apart from winning Audi Personality of the year award in 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, Iʼd have to say being invited to Barcelona by Audi Tradition for the launch of the new Audi A8. Apparently only 3000 people worldwide were invited and only a handful (3) from the UK…me being one of them! When asked “Why me?” they replied, “We see you as an influential person in the Audi community”.
Sitting around a table at an Audi club presidents meal, surrounded by people from North America, Italy, Slovakia, France and them all knowing about AITP… that was mind- blowing!
Being allowed access to the Audi storage facility in Germany where they store all the one off cars, the concepts, the historic race cars, the legendary rally cars… all sat in one place not open to the public. These things stick in your mind forever. And to ice the cake, having 3 cars brought over especially for AITP 11 that have NEVER been seen in the UK before.
8. If you could choose to own any Audi thatʼs ever been made, what would it be and why?
Thatʼs a tough one! I love the classics, the SWB sport quattros, UR quattros, Audi 80 cabriolets, Audi 100ʼs etc but also love the out and out raw power, while still having the practicality of the RS6. Can I have 2 or 3 instead? (although I think Iʼd still struggle to choose)!
9. Where do you see AITP in 10 years time?
I see it as a memory! Running it now near on kills me so I doubt Iʼd make it to my 60th birthday if it carries on! Could someone else run it and continue the legacy? Maybe, but the general consensus is that nobody could run AITP like Calvin runs AITP!
10. What car do you drive? If itʼs modified, what have you done to it?
I drive a 1997 A4 2.8 quattro saloon. It is heavily modified but subtly! Air ride suspension being the most obvious. However, everything else youʼd need to know your cars to notice the differences. Narrowed rear number plate recess to match the 5 digit personalised plate. RS4 front grill, Facelift tail lights and headlights with one off custom internals and lens etched with the AITP logo. Carbon interior door and dash trims, A8 5 spoke “Fat Five” wheels, larger diameter front brakes and an Audi themed boot build. My wife also has a 2001 TT Roadster also on air ride suspension. Running 18” multi spoke wheels, custom boot build, clean engine bay with hydro dipped engine covers, Seat Cupra front splitter, complete custom Ferrari tan leather re-trimmed interior.
We also have a Skoda Citigo – got to have a daily driver thatʼs cheap as chips to run! Lastly a VW T5 Camper van which we converted ourselves from a plain white builders van!
11. Finally, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche or McLaren?
Lambo! German reliability with Italian styling and craziness! And for the record, our cats name is Murcielago!
We hope you all enjoyed our Q&A with Calvin, some very interesting topics of conversation and points raised – weʼve learnt a LOT!
For everyone who loves the Audi brand as much as we do, we hope this isnʼt the end of AITP and we hope to see it back bigger and better than ever next year!
A special thanks to Calvin for taking part in this Q&A.
Until next time…