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!

The week was productive!  Monday evening was particularly exciting for me on the personal side of things.  Despite working out at home and at work, I’ve been trying to get back into CrossFit for a while now, and I finally pulled the trigger.  I went to CrossFit Core Performance in Bedford.  It’s a 30 minute drive from work, but totally worth it for these awesome facilities.

CrossFit Core Performance is a beautiful place

I was sore, in a good way, for the rest of the week.  The people were great, too, which along with knowledgeable and talented coaches will make the box (gym) a good experience.  While different things work better for different people, CrossFit has produced by far the best results for me as well as being the most fun groups of people.  I look forward to continuing there a couple of times per week, complemented by workouts on my own, and making some new friends!

Tuesday after work, I headed into London since we had a meeting with Infiniti on Wednesday morning and some friends were in town.  I went to meet up with my buddy Neil, who was spending a few days in the city on his way back from a family wedding in India.

Neil and I have known each other since 2011.  He was one of the first kids I knew at Terps Racing when I came on as part of the Baja SAE team, my first endeavor in the world of motorsports engineering.  In Baja, we build an off road vehicle similar to an ATV or dune buggy, and it’s a lot of fun.  It is challenging in its own right, and at the University of Maryland, we generally use this as a way for underclassmen to get introduced to working in the SAE competition environment without overwhelming them.

Neil was one of my better friends through our mutual time in Terps Racing, and he graduated a couple years before I did (even though I am older).  In Terps Racing, he served mainly as a project manager and also had a very good technical understanding.  Nowadays, he lives and works in Texas, far from the east coast, so we don’t ever get a chance to catch up.  Looking back on it, the days of Baja were some of the most fun I’ve had.  The small team we put together, along with our fantastic supervisor, was a great one.  I did that for two seasons, and Neil was there for both of them.

Alongside Neil, Baja SAE was my introduction to motorsports engineering

Neil with the team in Alabama in 2011, getting "driven crazy" by Dave in the shop, and with the team in Wisconsin in 2012
When we met in Soho on Tuesday night, we realized we were of course both wearing our University of Maryland hoodies.  Terp pride!  His friend Christina had joined as well. Christina is also from the US but currently pursuing advanced education in Newcastle, a fun town in northern England that I have yet to visit.  The pubs in Soho were packed, so we trekked over to meet Tommy who was in Holborn while we caught up and told some old stories.

We finally caught up with Tommy about 30 minutes later and found a pub he recommended, called Lowlanders, shortly thereafter.  The beers here were fantastic, including a wide selection of great European beers and American micro imports.  I was thoroughly impressed.  Having not eaten yet, I had a good steak, cooked rare to Neil’s apprehension, with bearnaise sauce and sweet potato fries.  From my experience, I must say that whoever says British food as a whole is bad (though some things are questionable, like baked beans with breakfast) is living in the past.

Since Tommy and Neil shared the Terps Racing connection, it was easy to have a great time together.  We talked endlessly about everything.  In the middle of our meal, Tommy found out he had passed the PE (Professional Engineer) exam.  This is a big deal in the US.  It’s somewhat analogous to the bar exam for lawyers, almost.  In law, you need to pass the bar to practice your profession.  Though in engineering there is no universally required exam, you do need to pass this exam after working under a PE to, among other things, be able to sign off on things that affect public safety.  Otherwise, your career will hit a glass ceiling quickly.  Since Tommy is a fire protection engineer, this is very important.  So, congrats Tommy!

Lowlanders with Neil, Christina, and Tommy!

Lively celebrations took place, and we stayed until after the pub closed.  I said goodbye to Neil and Christina at the next Tube station.  We had a great time during our opportune meet-up!  It was late, so Tommy and I walked back to his place, where I crashed for the night.

The following morning, I met Jason and Will at Infiniti’s office in London to go over our first few months.  It was nice to reflect on the great experiences that we’ve had thus far and to voice our considerations for the IPEA program as it moves forward into future years.  After a productive few hours there, the three of us grabbed lunch before heading back to the factory.

Lunch was at Chipotle (yep there’s a few in London), which was a first for Will and the first time Jason or I had been to one since arriving in the UK in early September.  We have missed it!

Nom nom nom nom nom
Walking back to the Tube

Following a long work day, we continued our holiday spirit by putting up an artificial Christmas tree.  Will’s grandmom had given it to him since she didn’t use it anymore, and Will’s parents found some decorations for us to use.  More Christmas music was played, and Christmas joy was spread throughout the world.  Or at least to those who could see our tree from the window.  Either way.

Dawwwww.  Christmas!
Work was also intense this week!  After a late Thursday night and busy Friday, Jason and I finished out the work week by relaxing on Friday while will went into London with some friends.

Oh, and something else awesome happened this week!  I made my first set of college loan payments!  As much as I don’t look forward to pumping money into paying off the incredible stack of loans from my studies, I do look forward to getting rid of that immense burden.  So, that was a huge and proud moment for me as I begin my journey toward complete financial freedom.

As I said early on in this post, I’m really missing home.  So, I’m on my way back today for a week!  I am really excited to be flying back, even though I know it will absolutely fly by.

Earlier in the week, Will had playing a country song and asked if I knew it.  Of course I did, and I continued to play Luke Bryan on Saturday as I drove around finishing some errands.  It reminded me of how I’m looking forward to some of my favorite American things

  • Driving on the right (in all aspects) side of the road
  • Actually seeing wildlife
  • Listening to country music on the radio (sorry Hope!)
Dealing with Spotify in the meantime
  • And of course, Wawa!

Bascially the best thing ever.  An east coast convenience store with everything, open 24 hours.
For example, it helped me get through a long night with my aerodynamics coursework

But most of all, I can’t wait to see my fantastic family and friends and to spend Christmas with them.  Miss you guys, and see you soon!  Signing off for now.

On the way home for the holidays!  :)

I hope everybody has a great Christmas, or whichever holiday you celebrate, surrounded by good beer, plentiful food, great friends and loving family!

Merry Christmas everybody!!


  1. Hey Eric, I am a fellow American pursuing a career in Formula One. I hope to study in the UK in the future and am saving up to live abroad. I was wondering what expenses and costs are like coming from living in the states? Any help would be greatly appreciated and keep up the great posts!

  2. Very cool! Glad to hear it, and thanks for reaching out! Unfortunately, I have a very skewed idea of what the costs are in the UK, as the IPEA has given us shared accommodation and a company car. However, from my research, it's relatively expensive to what I was used to in the US. Renting can be reasonable depending on where you go (not London or other posh cities), meat is expensive, produce is cheap, going out for food or drinks is expensive, car insurance is high, and fuel prices are very high. I'd compare the standard of living, in my experience, to being in a mid-size metropolitan area in the US. I know this is only qualitative, but that's all I've really got... the rest is Google.

    Thanks for your support! Good luck with your studies.

    1. Thank you so much for your reply, I know you must be busy! That's more or less what I figured just wondering about the details. I was also wondering if you could do a post about what you think helped make you a successful candidate and what you think the judges looked for the most during the competition and ways to prepare for that? Basically any insight about how to win the competition and be a good engineer, Thanks again for any feedback and enjoy the rest of your holiday!