Autocross Schedule

Next Phoenix/AZSolo Autocross:

Apr 6th - AMP

Nearby Autocrossing:

Tucson Website

Sierra Vista Website

Las Vegas Website

San Diego Website

Cal Club (LA) Website

Matt Soeffner

Driver Profile: Matt Soeffner

by Dave Lahey


First off, it is pronounced "Sefner" like Hefner, even though it is spelled "differently" (if you were to get really phonetic about things). But Matt doesn't seem to mind; "Just don't call me late for supper!" ;^)

Matt was born on the Island of Oahu in Hawaii in 1973 and eventually moved to the state of Oregon where his Dad took a job with Anheuser-Busch in 1980. (That might explain the interest in fine brews and frothy mugs!)

Weekends that don’t involve autocross, you will usually find him somewhere on a trail hiking. "Growing up in Oregon as a child offered plenty of opportunity to explore the wilderness and hiking has always been a passion since." Last year he hiked Phoenix’s 7 major summits all in one day; South Mountain, Camelback, Piestewa Peak, Lookout Mountain, Shaw Butte, North Mountain and Papago. "It's quite a challenge at 22 miles and almost a mile of vertical elevation gain!" He says that Yosemite is probably his favorite place to hike, as the scenery is simply breathtaking, but the Grand Canyon is a good challenge as well, and a heck of a lot closer! (Ah, another adventurer that needs to talk to Don Sattler about the yearly June hike down and back out?)

Matt works at "a little Japanese restaurant" in Scottsdale called Taneko waiting tables. "Not the most glamorous job," he says, but it does have some perks. He has met more famous people over the years than he can remember, "and it really has allowed me to expand my wine knowledge." He has taken several wine classes and has considered becoming a wine sommelier in the future. Not only is he a wine connoisseur in the making, but knows where all the cool micro-breweries are and good places to eat. A road trip with Matt to Tucson is not only a good experience for the co-drive, but a stop at Bison Witch's deli and froth bar is good for the food, beverages and scenery!

He says he has always had an interest in cars, with a curiosity in how they work and function. Of course being a teenager, he wanted a fast car and it had to be cool looking too! His senior year in high school he bought his brilliant red ’66 Mustang and built it to be a drag strip terror. However as the project moved along he found that drag strip cars are really only fun at the strip and not very enjoyable on the street, so wanting to drive the car more and be more practical, he started looking for another means to enjoy the car's potential.

Being a member of the local Mustang Club, he was invited to one of the local Corvair club autocross events at Tempe Diablo stadium. He was hooked!!! The first few years he only attended their one event a year though, as he wasn’t aware of the SCCA program in town just yet.

Another Mustang club member, David Branson, who he had noticed M.I.A. at some of the Mustang club meetings (because he was out autocrossing), introduced him to the SCCA Solo events. "Its been a fun addiction since," he says, "The Mustang has completely gone from a drag strip car to a somewhat decent handling V8 powered car." But the addiction didn’t stop there…

He noticed that those little MX-5 Miatas were noticeably quicker than his V8 powered Mustang , and knew that they had to be easier to drive! No power steering in the Mustang, and a HUGE turning ratio. "Driving a ’66 Mustang with 450 HP on street tires is like trying to ride a wild bull" With a changed needed in his daily driver, he bought his first ’99 Miata (the silver one-legged model), and has been tackling ST2 ever since. In the cool of the 6-event summer series up in Flagstaff this year, he took second place in street tire class and took 1st in street tire in the Phoenix Summer Series.

He is currrently driving a green '99 Sport Miata (yet another recycled Scott Meyers car!), and has his sights set on the 2008 Spring Series ST2 trophy, "although there is a lot of friendly competition in the way." But you folks had better watch out. Matt will be running on new 195-50-15 RE-O1R tires, and Matt's driving is certainly improving every time out.

You will always see Matt picking up cones at the end of the day and helping out with whatever needs to be done at our events. On occassion, the Mustang still makes it out to an event to shred some tires, make some noise, and provide some exercise to keep those Popeye forearms in shape, but mostly he is in the Miata these days. Yes, he finally got the one with a Torsen in it, has put in Koni shocks and the Racing Beat front swaybar, and even tried out some Kumho Victoracers at the November practice day that he got with the car. Perhaps they were a little old, so that did not quite go as planned, but it was different and fun!

We welcome Matt to the fold, and you can most likely see him at all the Arizona events; smiling, laughing, and driving his butt off in whatever the car du jour happens to be. So, say hello, talk a little wine if you like, and look out ST2 guys, here comes that same old Miata, but with a different driver!

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