June 24, 2012 at 11:48 am #2921
I just got back from a college motor-sport design competition and track event in Lincoln Nebraska.
I was too tired at night to drive to Omaha and scout the College World Series.
At any rate, on Saturday, while walking around the pit area, I saw some Hoosier racing tires (nearly every team ran with those) with some interesting chalk marks.
The University of Kansas team had an awesome car and solid drivers. They won. I pegged them as a super strong team about fifteen minutes after I got to the track. Illinois had a very good car. Sadly, they busted a front wing late in an endurance run and the car become too tough to steer. A team from Brazil had a very fast car. Good drivers too. Damn Brazilian race car drivers. . .
Cal came in 15 out of about 80 entrants. The car ran strong but suffered some brake problems. Good driving kept them in the competition. They had been gunning for a top twenty finish this year, so fifteen exceeded their goal by a lot. Joseph says they want a top ten finish within the next two years. But for that pesky front brake drag they might have had a top ten finish this year.
Cool stuff. Rick — enjoy the picture.
June 25, 2012 at 8:42 am #2922
I love this stuff! As you know, for better or worse, any kind of auto racing is in my blood having grown up in the shadows of the Indy 500. But come on now, braking problems? You go faster without brakes! Tell Joseph I’m proud of him – we need some more American representation in the racing biz.
It’s a rotten shame that most of them have gone the NASCAR route instead of true open wheel racing. One of my sporting heroes has always been Dan Gurney. If he’s not familiar with him, tell him to read up on Dan – he was a true renaissance man of racing. He was (and is) a very intelligent man who not only raced and won at all levels (Indycar, Formula 1, stock cars, sports cars), but actually designed most of his own cars. Anyway, those motor-sport design comps are really cool – I’ll keep an eye out for young Joseph Robbins.
June 25, 2012 at 8:43 am #2923
The problem was that when the car heated up the brakes would grab. If they ran fast and tapped the brakes they would stick. That was a bit of a problem on the auto-cross and endurance runs. The drivers ended up avoiding the brakes entirely but never really got the car up to speed for fear that they’d need the brakes at some point and didn’t want to trash the vehicle. I was surprised to show up at the paddock and see Joseph tearing apart the brake assembly to redo something or other. I had no idea he knew how to do that.
He’s at a four day post-competition seminar now put on by Optimum G Vehicles Dynamics. The lead guy there is Claude Roulle. I’ve never heard of him but everyone at the competition spoke his name with great deference. They spent all day yesterday going over tires. Joseph said his head was about to explode by day’s end. Today is aero and suspension. Tomorrow is weight transfer and data acquisition. Not sure how they put everything together on day four.
Claude was highly critical of every car he saw. He really dug in. His highest compliment on the Cal car was for the steering system (Joseph’s design) which got a faint “Well, I suppose your steering is OK.” I’m told that counts as a big win.
One poor team miscalculated how much down force they’d get from their rear wing and it snapped the supports during a run. The Cal car runs without fancy aero wings and the like. I’m told that carbon fiber can be tricky to work with and it gets expensive.
Great fun. It’s too bad that the teams don’t get to drive other team’s cars. I’d love to see if other drivers could get more out of the Cal car. Nobody wants to let the competition trash their cars.
Joseph loves being able to apply what he is learning in class in a real world example.
Hey — how my team move back up in the standings?
June 25, 2012 at 8:43 am #2924
So what you’re saying is I should be ashamed taking my car to Jiffy Lube for an oil change?
May 16, 2016 at 3:59 pm #3479
I’m a sentimental guy. Rediscovering these old email threads and photos has been a glorious walk down memory lane. Time to update things here and there.
The picture that started this particular thread was taken at a competitive car design event that my older son Joseph participated in. My younger son, Michael, is now in the very same program. Michael tells me that working with carbon fiber is a bitch. I might be returning to that competition this summer.
Joseph was the first child born into the USML (May 1992). For those that remember, my team, the Mighty Red-Hots, was first called Joseph’s Mighty Red-Hots in his honor.
Joseph went on to become quite the car guy. He’s now a mechanical engineer at Tesla hard at work on Mark Blocker’s next car. Oh, and he’s about to get married in less than two weeks. While it was not planned this way, his wedding date will correspond with the 100th running of the Indy 500. Very appropriate! I know Rick will like that last part.
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