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[Oregonian] Cindi Lux Profile from the Oregonian Newspaper

6/29/02
By Sam Moses

{mosimage}"Family legend has it," says Aloha's Cindi Lux, who will be racing a BMW 325i in the upcoming Rose Cup races, "that I was conceived on the night of my father's victory as a car owner in the first Rose Cup race in 1961.

"I guess that makes me a Rose Cup baby."

Forty-one years later, Cindi Lux is a self-made woman: a self-made racedriver, self-made driving instructor and self-made business person, in that chronological order, if not current order of priority.

Lux tells her story while tooling at high speed around Portland International Raceway, behind the wheel of a powerful and highly touted new BMW 745i luxury performance car. She's leading a corporate driving-skills program for Campbell Productions Autosports, of which she is the director.

Growing up on a farm in Yakima with two older brothers, she was always around cars. Her brothers were drag racers, and long before that her grandfather raced in the famous La Carrera Panamericana (Portland's Hershel McGriff won the first one in 1950), and her father, Dick Hahn, owned the Ferrari that won the first two Rose Cups in 1961 and 1962.

But the little sister never really got her turn with the cars, nor did she get any financial help from the family when she went racing years later. "My father was quite firm in telling me that if I wanted to do it badly enough, I'd find a way. He told me racing wasn't a necessity in life. He'd be there if I got sick, or needed money for food or rent, but not for racing.

"So what I learned was how to earn my keep. It was the best lesson he could have taught me. I learned how not to be timid, or you'd starve at the dinner table."

Still without knowing she was a racer at heart, Lux went off to the University of Puget Sound and studied public administration and political science. She interned with the Tacoma Police Department—a very rough town in those days—and saw enough to know she didn't want to be a cop, while having her eyes opened to the reality that she was an "adrenaline person."

After skiing away all but her last $200 at Mt. Bachelor—"my black-sheep side at work," she says with a shy smile—she flew to Los Angeles to look for a job. She landed one at Toyota, and her destiny with four wheels was now on track, literally. A couple years later she took a driving course at Willow Springs Raceway, and on graduation night slept on the floor of the classroom; there were races she wanted to watch that weekend, and she didn't have the money for a motel. It was a small show of dedication that impressed her instructor as much as had her speed on the track.

Of course, she may have already been saving for her first racecar. Almost immediately, she says, “I maxed out all my credit cards to buy my first car, a Dodge Shelby, even though I had no place to store it, no tools, no crew and no more money. The only thing I had was the desire to go racing.”

In the 14 years since then, she has left a trail of track records all over the west. She has won her class in amateur sports car races 60 times, taken 36 pole positions and claimed eight championships. In 1992 she was named Driver of the Year in the SCCA Northwest division, and in 1999 was Oregon SCCA Pro Driver of the year.

That was the year the Women's Global GT Series was originated. Tryouts were held at Road Atlanta, and Lux announced her presence by cutting the fastest lap among the 70 contenders, 41 of which qualified. She went on to take the championship in the six-race series with one first, two seconds, two thirds and one fourth-place finish. And in 2000 she took another overall win, at Sears Point.

{mosimage}After her years at Toyota, Lux had moved back to the Northwest in 1992 and begun her career as a driving instructor in '93. She still races (in addition to driving the BMW 325i in the Rose Cup races, she'll be racing a Corvette ZO6 in the Rose Festival Sports Car Invitational on June 15), but the business side of her behind-the-wheel life makes the commitment difficult nowadays. As Director of Drive Programs for Campbell Productions Autosports, with her partner and chief instructor Tim Liefke and a staff of 26 more instructors, she guides high-performance car enthusiasts around Portland International Raceway, teaching them important skills along the way. The programs may be for individuals, corporate employees and guests, or car dealers. Recent clients have included NAPA Auto Parts and Kuni Automotive.

Lux is also president of her own company, Lux Performance Group. She has done presentations at new car launches for Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Ford, Honda, GM, Nissan, Acura, BMW, Lincoln-Mercury, Isuzu and DaimlerChrysler. In July she'll begin a three-month tour of eight tracks around the country, doing product training for Mercedes-Benz dealers.

But for the next couple of weeks her corporate hat is on the shelf, and her racing helmet is on her head. Her father, Dick Hahn, will be there to cheer on the little "black sheep" he raised on the farm in Yakima. No doubt with pride, he'll be able to say, "She did it my way."

About Cindi

Dedicated, fast and fearless; Cindi Lux is recognized as one of North America's most talented and versatile drivers.

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Lux Performance

Besides racing and building some of the top level race cars, we also perform specialty engineering and prototype services.

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