G8 Extravagana History
It was just another car right? It just happened to be the last, most powerful Pontiac ever made and iIt also happened to be rear wheel drive to boot. So how did we, the Florida G8 Car Club, end up with one of the most successful people and car gatherings in the US? Well, the roots are all too simple and provided for the foundation that allows us to have the magnificent G8 Extravaganza today……
It all started of course with the purchase of the G8. Who knew what that car would end up becoming and who knew the type of people that would be buying that type of car……most of us started on the G8 Board forum page. It was, and still is, the largest forum for G8 owners. There was no other means to find out who had what, who was doing what to their rides, etc.
Everyone who started the original G8 Extravaganza met there….we would post up meet and greets, when we were going to the track, etc. Usually about 4 or 5 of us would show up together. We soon realized that some pretty incredible people were owners of these cars. They were not your typical high octane car nuts and gear-heads, but more family oriented who know and appreciate cars and performance….The great thing about the owners of the G8 is that they are not from one particular age bracket, but span decades which is a testament to the marketing for the G8. Pontiac was killed off way to soon. This car would become iconic and it definitely has lived up to that billing.
In 2011 a few of us, Isaac Suarez, Jason Parrillo, Mark Anderson, Jacob Hardy, and Jared Blumberg decided we wanted to meet more people because, well, we just enjoyed being around other G8 owners. We had been talking to folks from Georgia, north Florida, South Florida and Tampa! The original idea of the Florida G8 Extravaganza was the brain child of Mr. Isaac Suarez. The rest of us helped to organize and plan the event.
The first Florida G8 Extravaganza was literally a BBQ held and Mark Anderson’s house on Friday night, the spirited drive on Saturday morning, down time in the afternoon, and then a car show held in a bowling alley parking lot while we bowled that evening. The tradition of hanging out in the parking lot until the wee hours of the morning was born here! Prizes were simple, people’s choice for best car, and furthest travelled, that was it……It was all held in the Altamonte Springs area of Central Florida and we had a total of 14 cars for the event. Sunday was another cruise to the beach and drive on New Smyrna Beach. We had folks from Tampa, South Florida, Orlando, Jacksonville and Valdosta, GA.
The 2nd Annual Florida G8 Extravaganza was again held in Altamonte Springs, we got a hotel and set up some rates, the format was the same except that Friday night was a meet and greet at Tilted Kilt, the spirited drive on Saturday morning, formal car show in Longwood that evening and then another beach day cruise on Sunday. This time we had 24 G8’s and we immediately saw the potential for this event. We did T-Shirts for the 2nd Extravaganza and we had prizes again……We had folks from Tampa, South Florida, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Valdosta, GA
After hosting two G8 Extravaganza’s the Orlando based planning committee decided it might be a good idea to pass the torch….We had met some great people during the first two years and there was plenty of enthusiasm. Charles Phelps gladly accepted the challenge, took the torch and started planning for the 3rd Annual G8 Extravaganza in Tampa. That is when the name changed formally to the Southeast G8 Extravaganza with 55 cars.
For the 3rd annual Southeast G8 Extravaganza, we focused on taking things to the next level. We started a Friday night Meet and Great in the Hotel Parking lot, where Charles served Hot off the smoker BBQ and Sausage while playing DJ. As people began arriving from out of town, and getting settled in, they had a chance to meet those that they had only chatted with online, compare notes, and stare at some awesome G8’s. In the morning, we rolled across the street to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. By the time we exited, the clouds were upon us! We decided to forge on, and continue with the “Spirited Drive”, partially in the rain. While no cars were lost, there were some moments that were memorable, and the looks on the locals faces as we passed their homes with 35+ G8’s was classic. Unfortunately, we also caught the attention of the police at the 1/2 way point, but all was resolved. From the Spirited drive we made our way to BMR Suspensions new warehouse for tech sessions on Suspension, Detailing, and Engine tuning. Rounding out Saturday evening, we hosted a G8 Car show at Sonic’s. Sunday we were once again greeted with clouds but several continued on for a drive to lunch at the historic Bayport INN, followed by a walk on the beach @ Pine Island.
The 4th annual G8 Extravaganza was held in West Palm Beach, Florida. It brought in 85 G8s and over 100 cars total. It was the first year we introduced sponsors to the event. With the sponsors involved we were able to start the event raffle and prize money. Which later allowed us to secure private track rentals and larger turnouts. The Extravaganza is the only event of its kind. It like a family reunion that you want to go to and enjoy and have fun. For some it’s the people others it’s the prizes and the rest is just the pure fun of the event. Whatever it is, it has cars and enthusiast coming in record numbers year after year.
We had the track night at Palm Beach International Raceway during their normal test and tune Friday night. The best part about the event is everyone is willing to help everyone else. Whether it’s your first time down the track or your 100th time everyone is willing to help you improve. There will always be friendly trash talk to go along with racing among friends.
Saturday morning we started our spirited drive which ended up a sprinted drive. Followed by a tech session and Q&A at Redline Motorsports. We followed that up with a dyno runs at Lashway Motorsports.
Saturday afternoon/evening we had our Car show with the raffle and trophies awards. The weather delayed the show but only temporary after all we are in Florida the rain never last too long, which took us right in to the nonscheduled event and that is the after party. We hang out have fun talk cars and about the events that took place during the weekend. And of course trash talking.
Last year we celebrated the return of the 5th Annual Southeast G8 Extravaganza to the Tampa Bay Area…and we took things in a new direction. The first thing we did was to schedule the event earlier in the year. We felt having it April/May vs June/July would allow for better weather. Based on the success of the previous years test and tune 1/4 drag night at Moroso, we stepped up to the plate and rented out Bradenton Motorsports Park for a private track event on Friday night, making this it’s own “event within an event”. the turnout and response from this was overwhelming, with people getting in as many runs as they wanted, someone got over 30 runs! We started out Saturday morning with the first ever Scavenger Hunt that lead G8’s all over the Tampa Bay Area, with several participants winning cash prizes. Saturday afternoon began the car show, as well as the Vegemite eating contest, and ended with Unicorns (that’s all we are going to say about that). Sunday followed tradition with a drive to Clearwater beach.