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!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Heading Home for the Holidays!

Last weekend, a surprise delivery came in the mail from my parents.  Inside were some awesome gifts for all three of us!  My mom made some personalized Christmas stockings with candy and New Jersey lottery tickets, and the best part of the candy was some Jersey shore saltwater taffy.  There were also some ornamental stockings and three Santa hats.  We were all very excited to receive that, and that got us in the holiday mood, which has continued through the week.  And, if I wasn’t already missing home, I am now!

Plus two more for the other lads!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Wrapping Up

As I said in my last post, Seb is off to Ferrari.  But before leaving completely, the team had one last hurrah for him at the factory.  You can see the great guy that Vettel is when he lets his guard down.  as speeches were delivered from Adrian and Christian, his emotions were clearly visible.

Christian joking with Seb at his final factory visit
A couple of awesome videos celebrating his years with Infiniti Red Bull Racing and as a part of the young driver program were played, and it reminded us of his fantastic journey with the team and of the passion we all have for motorsport.  It’s hard to not fall in love with moments captured in images like this one:

Seb bows to his car after winning the 2013 Indian Grand Prix and sealing his third championship

Seb was also presented with a gift basket full of cheeky Italian-esque gifts, including pasta, a red Speedo, an espresso cup, and a typical Italian puff jacket.  One last gift was a statue of a bull commemorating his four world championships.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

End of the First F1 Season and a 6-Legged Thanksgiving

The weekend following Hope’s visit, it was time for the last grand prix of the season in Abu Dhabi.  A culturally rich city that’s also on the top of my list to visit, Abu Dhabi and the Yas Marina circuit hosts the second of two races during the F1 calendar that are held under the lights.

With Vettel about to depart to Ferrari, the team at the track hosted a warm welcome for him as he arrived to the garage.

Danke Seb has been the theme for his departure from the team.  The team as a whole has lots of great memories with Seb at the wheel, and I'm honored to have been able to work with him!

Hope's First Visit

Now to the personal side of my life for a bit.  My girlfriend, Hope, visited for the first time the week before Thanksgiving.  She lives in Michigan, where we had met in the early summer of 2013.  At the time, I had been interning for SRT Motorsports at the Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills.  I decided to go back to CrossFit, something I had started in 2012, and I found CrossFit Bloomfield, a box relatively close to my hotel with better reviews than others in the surrounding area.  Hope was a coach there, and we immediately got along and built up a good friendship.  We joke about who asked who out first, but we both know it was her ;)

Hope and I met here, at CrossFit Bloomfield
We both love it!

Oh, and she is also a professional massage therapist.  Winning.

Catching up!

Wow, it’s been a bit too long!  I’ve slacked off a bit lately, as it’s been hard to get myself to sit down and write, so I apologize for that.  Time to catch up on November!

Actually, let’s go back to the end of October.  On Halloween Friday, I had race ops support with the team at the factory for the US Grand Prix.  Of course Friday was just the first two practice sessions, but it was great to see the buzzing atmosphere in Austin, Texas.  That’s definitely on the top of my list of cities to get to at some point, as well as to go see the wonderful Circuit of the Americas racetrack. 

How much more American can you get??

The following morning, Will, Jason and I headed out to do a little Halloween party shopping.  The three of us had decided to host a Halloween party at our flat Saturday evening with a bunch of people from Infiniti Red Bull Racing and some other friends.  We ended up at a warehouse with an upstairs office for what seemed to be custom-tailored costumes.  Weird.  Will made friends with this skeleton.

Will's new best friend!

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

Thursday, 25 September 2014


On Saturday morning, Jack, Will, Jason and I relaxed and (re)watched Senna.  If you haven’t seen this movie documentary, you must do so now.  We’ve been setting up our laptops to play on the TV and using our awesome UE Boom Infiniti-Red Bull Racing edition Bluetooth speakers.

One of our UE Boom I-RBR edition speakers

These speakers are unbelievable.  You can use two of them in a stereo mode, and they make for awesome additions to our flat.  We got them when the three of us were in the Paddock Club at Silverstone as VIP guests during the British Grand Prix.

Paddock Club at Silverstone during the British Grand Prix in July

The First Week

Phenomenal.  That’s how I’d describe my first days in the design office.  I’ve been thrown right into the mix, which is where the biggest difference about working in the offices of Infiniti-Red Bull Racing compared to my previous experiences comes into play.  The amount of resources and speed and efficiency at which they operate is incredible.  Personnel, hardware, software, IT support, training…we are able to get anything we need to do our jobs nearly instantly.

I was tasked pretty much immediately, and my previous blog post mentions the type of work that I’m doing.  Being able to sink my teeth into projects so quickly is not something I’m used to.  It typically takes days to get software installed, for example.  The process side of things is just quicker here, and I’ve been able to hit the ground running.  The first week included sessions on the simulator with a younger driver, which is a lot of fun, as well as validation being immersed into the data acquisition and analytical software packages.  For me, this is extremely exciting.  I’m already using Matlab on a daily basis, looking at telemetry, and doing a bit of refresh training on NX (CAD software).  This computer work is all within the context of the cars and the simulator, meaning that my work results are tangible.  My deliverables will have measurable impact, which makes my job more stimulating than simply staring at a bunch of screens.

Working into the evening hours, #BecauseRacecar

Monday, 15 September 2014

The Beginning of Something Special

FINALLY!!  The big day has arrived!  Jason, Will and I all got up early to make sure we were awake and ready for our first day working in Formula One.  Fortunately we didn’t have to report until nearly 10am today.  Our real workdays will start an hour or more earlier, of course.  We were super excited as we drove to work for the first time.

Pulling into work for the first time!

When we got there, we met the film crew and did a bit more arrival filming.  Rob Gray, one of the chief designers who had been there throughout the assessment in July as a judge, met us first and welcomed us to Infiniti-Red Bull Racing.  We then went through some more HR stuff, got a short tour of the facilities, and went on to lunch with some of the industrial placement students.  These other students are in their third or fourth year of university study, so they’re all slightly younger than us (much younger than me, of course haha).  They have been at I-RBR for a month to two months, and they were great to talk to, very welcoming and keen to discuss backgrounds and interests.  Two of them, Gleb and Sam, are also part of the vehicle dynamics group, which is where I will be working.

Arrival to the UK

Wednesday, 10 September 2014 - Sunday, 14 September 2014

On Wednesday, I finally arrived in the UK, 2 days behind schedule due to delays in getting my visa.  I departed Philly at 10:15pm and arrived at 10:15am local time at Heathrow.  Flying on a 787 was a pretty awesome surprise, and it was mesmerizing to watch how much the wings flex.  For those of you who aren’t aerospace nerds, the 787 is the first jumbo jet to use composites as the primary structural materials, and this will change how planes are built.

View of 787 wing over UK