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A Quick Trip To Ohio

Eddie LePine, Tim Brookhart of White Allen, Jack Webster and David Pawlik by the Audi R8 at the book launch. [Jack Webster Photo]

Eddie LePine, Tim Brookhart of White Allen, Jack Webster and David Pawlik by the Audi R8 at the book launch. [Jack Webster Photo]

by Eddie LePine

Racing season is over, and normally this time of year I am making my schedule for the upcoming season and deciding which races I will be covering with my writing partner and photographer Jack Webster for racingnation.com.

The first weekend of December, however, I made a quick – and I do mean quick – trip to Dayton, Ohio and the surrounding area to support the introduction of Jack Webster’s new racing photography book “Racing Pilots”.

The launch of the book was planned for Saturday, December 2 at White Allen Porsche in Dayton, a fantastic dealership that has a very storied motorsports history going back decades. The dealership has a special meaning to Jack, as they were a sponsor of the Porsche Fabcar that he was the team manager for back in the 1980s.

On display at the book launch was Jack’s old Porsche Fabcar, just back from a successful run at the Classic 24 at Daytona, where it finished 3rd in the Group C class.

Also on display were two historic Audi race cars, courtesy of Brad Kettler of Kettler Motor Werks and Audi. The original Audi R18 Ultra from Sebring in 2012 was present along with perhaps the winningest Audi R8 chassis – the 2005 Le Mans winning car.

When Jack picked me up at the airport along with David Pawlik (who along with me was an investor in the publication of the book) he told me we were taking a quick trip to College Corner, Ohio, a sleepy little town on the Indiana border where we would be able to see something very special.

Special indeed. We went to Brad Kettler’s shop to meet Brad and take a private tour of his incredible facility.

Anyone involved in racing knows about Brad Kettler’s contributions to racing history – from his involvement with Porsche to his engineering of a multitude of Audi’s Le Mans victories. Brad was more than gracious, as he gave us the “behind the scenes” tour of his facility.

Of particular interest to me, since I am very big into racing memorabilia, was the huge collection of bodywork from Audi race cars that Brad has stored in the attic of one of his buildings. Gulf pieces, Joest pieces, Champion pieces – it was all there. Brad made a point of not throwing anything away and now it is all coming in handy. Many of the pieces are fixable and can be recycled for use to keep R8s running in historic races around the world.

If you own an Audi R8 prototype and want to race it, Brad is the guy you have to see for spare parts and service – he literally has all of the existing Audi R8 parts and spares. And what he doesn’t have, he can make for you.

If you are racing a current model Audi R8 LMS, Brad can take care of all of your needs there as well – from spare parts to entire cars, he is the director of Audi Sport Customer Racing in the US.

All of this, along with Audi’s historic race cars, are at the multiple buildings that make up Kettler Motor Werks in College Corner, Ohio of all places.

Things were quite hectic at Brad’s shop the Saturday we arrived, as the transporters had just left for Daytona and the preseason test that was to take place the following week. Again, I can’t thank Brad enough for both taking time from his busy schedule to give us a tour of the shop and come to the book launch event as well.

The book launch went very well and was attended by a large group of motorsport enthusiasts. The proceeds from the event went to support Jack’s daughter Jean, who is battling Breast Cancer, and it was great to meet her and see that she is doing so well.

On Sunday morning after the event, Jack took me back to the airport for the trip back to Florida. I had been in Ohio for just about 24 hours, but it was well worth the trip. From Kettler’s shop to the event at White Allen it was a whirlwind day and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

By the way, the book is awesome and covers racing from 1971 to the present day. You can secure your copy at racingpilot.com.

I’ll see you at the races…..

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Eddie has been involved in motorsports for over 30 years as photographer, columnist, and driver. Eddie also is now a retired racer (well, retired unless a good ride pops up).