The purpose of this blog is to inform those who are interested about my journey as one of three students from around the world who earned placements at Infiniti-Red Bull Racing as a result of the Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy. Family, friends, colleagues, aspiring engineers, and any other followers are welcome to visit this page and, if desired, give me feedback or ask questions. It is an effort to streamline documenting the next 12 months for all of these varying audiences, some of which do not participate in social media.

I have never written a journal, never written a blog. This is a first for me. This being the most meaningful and fantastic opportunity I could ever dream of, I would like to share best I can the details of what goes on in my day-to-day during the academy. I am incredibly honored to have won a placement at Infiniti-Red Bull Racing, and I seek to make this opportunity worth everything it possibly can be.

I will write once or twice a week, depending on the accumulation of events and catching up on the previous few days. If you'd like, you can sign up for email notifications for when I create a new post! See the link toward the bottom of this page. I hope you all enjoy, and thank you so much for visiting!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Beer, Cliffs, and Working at IRBR

It’s an incredible feeling when you are actually excited to go to work.  I think it’s then that you realize you’ve found a career that fits your passions perfectly.  Of course, we need distractions too, so life doesn’t become single faceted and you lose yourself in your work.  Come Thursday, a bunch of us from work went to the Concrete Pint Beer Festival.  It really was a bit weird in that it was hosted in what seemed like a union hall, but there were 110+ kegs of amazing local ale and cider.

Kegs on kegs on kegs!

And it was cheap!  The venue was an interesting choice, but the beer and company were great, and so we spent a couple of hours there.  I “sampled” the following:
  • Totty Pot by Cheddar Ales, a dark porter
  • Jack Spaniels by Gun Dog Ales, a blonde ale
  • Fuggle-Dee-Dum by Goddards, a red ale
  • Fendland Farmhouse Saison by Nene Valley, a saison (obviously)
  • Biggus Dickus by Nobby's, a golden ale

More kegs...Gleb, Sam and Will having a very interesting conversation

Yeah those names are all a bit ridiculous.  Nonetheless, the beers were all excellent, especially the porter and the saison.  I’ll have to road trip to some of these breweries over the next year!

Another roadtrip in the Q50!

Speaking of road trips, Christoph joined Jason and I last weekend for a day trip to the White Cliffs of Dover.  These weekend trips are getting to be a lot of fun, so I think we’ll keep them up!  The cliffs are amazing.  Ideally, we’d view them from up close as we take a ferry across the English Channel to France, but we were pleasantly surprised at the spectacular views from above.  Thanks to Jason for a lot of these pictures.

Career Roots

I want to go back to my career roots for a moment.  One thing I forgot to mention in my last blog post was about SRT Motorsports, where I had interned during the summer of 2013.  After an amazing season in USCR, for which the final race of the season was a couple of weeks ago (the same weekend as the F1 Japanese Grand Prix), SRT Motorsports took home the constructor’s championship for the GTLM category.  Kuno Wittmer won the driver’s championship, followed by Jon Bomarito.  Mark Goosens and Dominik Farnbacher got 4th and 5th respectively, so 4 of the top 5 drivers were the main Viper drivers.  Really remarkable.  So a huge congratulations to them!

Kuno at the Tudor USCR Night of Champions
Photo credit: Amanda Zileski

Working with the guys at SRT Motorsports and Riley Technologies was an amazing honor, and along with my time in Formula SAE, was no doubt something that helped launch me to the incredible opportunity I have today.  Thank you to Gary Johnson, Matt Bejnarowicz, Dick Winkles, Bill Riley, Ralph Gilles, and all of the great people of both Riley and SRT for helping me learn so much about what it takes to be successful in motorsport and beyond.

My first experience shadowing race engineers, at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Toronto, July 2013
Trackside with Ralph Gilles and Dick Winkles
My mentors Gary Johnson and Matt Bejnarowicz with SRT crew member Jim Menego at the Night of Champions
Photo credit: Jim Menego

Unfortunately, following that weekend, Chrysler announced they would discontinue the Viper racing program.  It’s definitely sad to see the program go, especially considering what it means to me on a

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

IPEA Extended Cut Videos

Infiniti and Infiniti-Red Bull Racing have put together some awesome videos on each of our backgrounds!  I'm really thrilled to be able to share these with everybody.  Thanks to everybody for their support...it means everything!  Enjoy!

Special thanks to Crossfit HamiltonTerps Racing, and the University of Maryland Department of Mechanical Engineering for helping with my portion of the filming!

My video:

Jason's video:

Will's video:

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Big Rocks and a Pub

After getting back from Japan, we were hungry, so Will led Jason and I to our first experience at the UK staple, Nandos.  It’s no Sardi’s, but I’ll admit it’s pretty good food.

Not the best picture, but you get the idea.  Sauces on sauces.

When the weekend came, Will went to London while Jason and I hung out and watched college football on Saturday.  Seeing Maryland play, even if Ohio State did a number on us, was awesome.  It felt like home for a bit, and Jason and I went outside to toss a football around the courtyard.  Our skills were clearly lacking, but whatever.

On Sunday, we woke up early to watch the Japanese Grand Prix.  Both drivers were doing reasonably well, but that wasn’t important.  For those who don’t stay up to date on F1 news, Jules Bianchi, driver for Marussia, had a terrible accident around lap 44.  There had been a torrential downpour prior to the race, and rain continued to fall during the race.   After Adrian Sutil spun off the track, a yellow flag came out, and marshals worked to remove Sutil’s car from the track using the standard tractor.  Though he had slowed down, Bianchi went off the track at the exact same spot, and he crashed into the back of the tractor, sending it a foot into the air.  Absolutely horrific.  You can search for more details, but Bianchi is in very critical condition with a major head injury.  Along with the rest of the F1 community, we’re all hoping for his recovery and sending prayers and thoughts to him and his family.  #ForzaJules

The RB10 nose and Ricciardo's helmet, showing support for Jules

As I’d imagine most people reading this know, Sebastian also has announced that he will leave Infiniti-Red Bull Racing at the end of the year.  It’s a melancholic feeling once you’re part of the team to have your four-time world champion driver leave, but as we are new to the team, it’s hard to


On to the big story of last week…a trip to Japan!  Actually, our trip was off to a great start as soon as we walked out of our flat in Milton Keynes.  We had a taxi waiting for us.  So, we proceeded to load our bags into the taxi outside after confirming the name under the booking with the driver.  A minute later we found out the destination for said taxi was to be Cranfield University rather than Heathrow Airport, and the booking name had been confused because the driver spoke very broken English.  We awkwardly grabbed our bags back out of the taxi.  Thankfully the intended taxi wasn’t hard to find, parked about 20 yards away.  We hopped in, made damn sure it was our actual ride, and made our way to the airport.

Getting ready to board at Heathrow!

The flight to Tokyo from London is 12 hours going, 12 and a half coming back.  So what did we do on the flight out?  Learned!  My girlfriend, Hope, studied abroad in Japan and retained a lot of the language and cultural knowledge she picked up while she was there.  Let me just say, there’s no better opportunity and character-building experience a college kid can have than to study abroad.  If you’re reading this and you’re a student, do it.  You can wait an extra semester or two to graduate if you need to!  It’s very unlikely that you’ll get such an easy chance to immerse yourself into a new culture while you’re at such a young age, and the experience is absolutely incredible and life changing.  Get out of your comfort zone and go study abroad!

Anyway, Hope generously took the time to record some video and audio clips of some basic Japanese words and phrases, along with emails about unique cultural norms.  These were an invaluable way to

Pistons and Props

On the Sunday before our trip to Japan, Jason, Will, Will’s friend Jess, and I all went to a regional cars and planes show called Pistons and Props in Sywell.  It is only in its second year as an annual show, but the cars and planes that arrive are really cool.  Races are run for all sorts of classes of cars, with barriers (by barriers, I mean hay bales) set up alongside the airport runway the event is held at to protect spectators.  Will's dad also joined us and hung out for the day, asking us questions about how our placements were going and the backgrounds of me and Jason.  He's a really genuine guy and has been involved in the automotive industry for a long time.

Among the attendees, some of my favorites were the following:

These six Ford GT40's

Morgan Three-Wheeler