Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The X-Factor In Musk's Human Transport Concept Gets A Boost

Hyperloop capsules being loaded with human and luggage cargo for a very quick and insulated trip that will be amongst the fastest type of public/commercial transportation devised by man. Image Credit: Daily Mail via Space X (2014)

The X-Factor In Musk's Human Transport Concept Gets A Boost

While standing in a long line at a Costco Wholesale during the Christmas season holiday, one may notice how communication from the checkout cashpoint to the central management office is accomplished.

The "Checker" at the cashpoint, with the all of the scanners, credit card terminals, and printers, also is equipped with a tube system that allows one to take checks, money, and other paper-based monied communications, place them in a cylinder, which is then placed in the tube and sucked through vacuum pressure where at the other end of the tube, the information is delivered almost instantly. 

Marshall Fields central communications (1947) - Before the invention of phones and fax machines, people in cities sent messages through a huge system of underground tubes filled with compressed air. Image Credit: chuckmanchicagonostalgia.wordpress-dot-com

Management is assured that these communications that result in good profits never become breached from point-to-point due the closed nature of this pneumatic tube system.

A typical Costco Wholesale cashpoint section where the pneumatic tubes of the money transfer system can be seen routed along the ceiling of the store. Image Credit: Flickr

This is the precise idea behind PayPal, Tesla Motors, and Space X founder and CEO Elon Musk. He believes that the findings of a recent 76-page report may go a long way in proving his pneumatic tube proposal/argument that a human transport system such as this vacuum "hyperloop" that is in use at all Costco stores is the future of human mass transportation from point-to-point.

Infographic of the proposed Hyperloop human transport system (video presentation link). Image Credit: via Space X (2014)

This edited and excerpted from USAToday -

Report: Elon Musk's 'hyperloop' idea could work
By Chris Woodyard - 12-22-2014 - USAToday

Enthusiasts behind Elon Musk's "hyperloop" proposal -- an intercity tube that speeds passengers riding in capsules at 600 miles per hour -- have taken the next step, producing a report outlining some of the big issues around the project.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies' 76-page report focuses issues surrounding a system that could connect San Francisco with Los Angeles. The report says, however, that there are many city pairs around the world that would be candidates for a hyperloop.

The 400-plus-mile trip would take less than an hour, compared to more than six hours of driving. The goal is to keep the ticket price in the $20 to $30 range, although the report points out that at total cost estimates of $16 billion, they could go higher. Still, it says, hyperloop would be a bargain compared to alternatives. "If this same overall price point were preserved for other city pairings, it could dramatically change the way people live and work in cities," the report says.
"The Hyperloop design uses a combination of low air pressure and magnetic acceleration to get people from LA to SF in just about 30 minutes," the report says. It would produce its own electricity from solar power.
Passengers would travel in aerodynamic pods the size of vans inside the tube. HTT envisions developing three designs -- one each for luxury passengers, economy economy passengers and freight.
HTT estimates that the cost of the system would be $20 million to $45 million a mile, as contrast from what it says are costs of up to $200 million a mile for conventional mass transportation system.
[Reference Here]

The report does point out one of the many problems of a self-contained closed loop pneumatic tube system ... how would passengers deal with an uncontrollable "Nature Calls" or a "Mile High Club"-like situation?

Good question.

... notes from The EDJE

<a href="http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/would-you-travel-from-la-to-sf-in-a-tube-video/question-4639050/" title="Would you travel from LA to SF in a tube (video)?">Would you travel from LA to SF in a tube (video)?</a>

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

AEM Infinity On Pirelli World Challenge GTS Camaros

AEM Infinity On Pirelli World Challenge GTS Camaros

Racer perspectives on the AEM Infinity ECU and its advantages over other engine management systems. Andy Lee and Geoff Reeves talk about how the Infinity has helped them advance their Pirelli World Challenge GTS Camaros.
[ht: with permission from AEM]

The Infinity EMS represents a quantum leap in technological capability over virtually all existing engine management controllers available today and eases the tuning process for even the most sophisticated engine combinations. It is quite possibly the most advanced programmable engine controller available.

  •     Compatible with most factory and performance aftermarket sensors
  •     Includes start up configurations (supported applications only)
  •     ECU set up wizard
  •     User interface features 3D graphics
  •     Internal simulator
  •     USB 2.0 High-Speed communications
  •     Tune using USB communication port (optional weatherproof extension cable sold separately)
  •     High-speed USB data logging to mass storage device (4GB included, tested to 64GB)
  •     Internal data logging playback mode on every channel, synchronized with all controls
  •     AEMdata data analysis software included
  •     2-Channel CAN included
  •     Runs on Windows-compatible software

  •     Airflow model based calculations
  •     Fuel control resolution to 1/10th of a microsecond (.0000001 sec)
  •     Multi-fuel capable
  •     Flex fuel compensated fuel, ignition and boost with blend
  •     Open-loop fuel pressure compensation
  •     Ignition table, 20x20
  •     VE airflow table, map vs. engine speed, 20x20
  •     Configurable coil dwell (RPM, voltage and load based)
  •     Individual cylinder ignition trim (RPM based)
  •     Individual cylinder fuel trim (RPM based)
  •     3D ignition trim maps (coolant and air temp)
  •     VE-based engine startup
  •     Real-time sensor diagnostics
  •     Integrated engine protection strategies
  •     Dual internal wideband controllers
  •     Target Lambda table, 10x10
  •     User adjustable charge temperature blend (CLT/AIT, engine speed dependent)
  •     O2 lean-out protection
  •     Electronic boost control (time based or target based)
  •     Idle control (stepper and pulsewidth)
  •     Programmable traction control, 2-wheel speed or engine acceleration (4-wheel speed with     Advanced Tuning Package)
  •     2-channel adaptive knock control
  •     2-step programmable launch control (3-step with Advanced Tuning Package)
  •     No-lift shifting (Requires Advanced Tuning Package)
  •     User configurable soft-cut rev limiters

... notes from The EDJE

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The 2014 LA Auto Show - Seven Points Of Diverse Interest To See And Take In

LA Auto Show's new logo bathed in green light. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

The 2014 LA Auto Show - Seven Points Of Diverse Interest To See And Take In

The LA Auto Show will always be a jumble of artfully engineered transportation solutions and vision displayed in a visual fashion that would rival an architectural design paradise. The Auto industry puts its best foot forward because this show is the first major North American auto show of the season each year - #LAAutoShow.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday (here's a suggestion on how to blow-off Black Friday and walk off Thanksgiving), the LA Auto Show, which has taken over the Los Angeles Convention Center, will be open at 9:00am through Sunday November 30th. The show features 34 global debut showings and around 60 overall reveals.

Here are seven visits on the LA Auto Show trade show floor to consider - presented to enhance the flow of one's visit to the show.

LA Convention Center LA Auto Show lay out of exhibits Begin your tour from Left to Right given the graphic. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Enter and begin your trade show tour from the South Hall (left side upper middle of graphic). Go directly to the back of the hall and visit the Chevrolet stand and visit a display that is not of an actual car, but a model based on a character in a video game - Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo.

Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo passing one of Jim Hall's original #66 Chaparral's in a video presentation. The Chevy Logo'd booth screen ran a video loop showing the creative process of the Chaparral 2X as well as some of the action contained in the Vision Gran Turismo game. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

First unveiled at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Press Days, the Chevrolet Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo concept is a futuristic racer with technology that Chaparral creator Jim Hall couldn't even imagine - laser propulsion, for example.

Really, lasers. Chevy says the mid-mounted propulsion system emits light pulses that are focused in a shroud, creating shock waves that generate thrust to move the car. If this existed in real-life, do not try to race nose to tail IndyCar style though ... no 'mushroom busting' areo here.

This unprecedented drive unit is also closely associated with the unique driver position in the car. 
The driver almost lays completely flat towards the front (head first), with all four of his appendages spread out towards the wheels when driving. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

The virtual system consists of a 671-kilowatt laser, lithium-ion battery pack, and an air-powered generator, and produces the equivalent of 900 horsepower. Chevy says that will warp the Chaparral 2X from 0-60 mph in just 1.5 seconds, and on to a top speed of 240 mph.

This model of an imagined Chaparral was sculpted and brought to life at the secret North Hollywood GM facility that gave us most of the innovative body styles found in today's Cadillac concept and retail cars.
[ht: Motor Authority]

After facing the back of the Chaparral/Chevrolet exhibit, one needs to turn left toward the GMC display and head on over to the Japanese luxury car manufacturer, Infiniti.

A 20 coat pale blue/silver "Liquid Sky" colored piece of transportation sculpture will most certainly grab the attention of any passer by. The Q80 Inspiration almost demands a 15 minute visit just to soak in all of the subtle design notes displayed in such a sophisticated manner.

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept tasteful front grille. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Sketching for the car started some 15 months ago, the ultimate goal to combine fresh and highly sculpted styling with an advanced carbon-fiber-and-aluminum monocoque to redefine what a flagship can be inside and out.

Did we mention that it comes with a silver-plated beverage flask mounted to the seatback and that said flask is listed in the specifications sheet as a “design flourish”?

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept exterior. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Every detail of this car was treated like a work of art. From it's long and low with a sleek, swept-back roof, precisely sculpted side panels, to its tightly horizontally vane-ed grille. The cabin is made more inviting by the rear-hinged "suicide doors" that open it up completely.

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept interior. Black interior materials in front, white interior materials in back. Notice the 'floating' center console in back. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

The grille is described as “organic and three dimensional, like the pulsing gills of a cruising whale” - never mind that whales have lungs and blowholes, not gills - and has active shutters that open at low speeds for cooling and close at higher velocities to mitigate aero drag. Slender hood vents forward of the A-pillars pull double duty as heat extractors and stylistic embellishments.

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept rear view with tapered back window. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

This Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept is a hybrid, with the batteries getting a boost from a 3-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine.

Next, continue on deeper to the left (near bottom of show floor graphic) to the Lexus stand where one is greeted by a 'can't miss' electric candy apple-ed yellow colored convertible with a white interior.
[ht: USA TODAY's Chris Woodyard & Car and Driver's Andrew Wendler]

Say hello to the Lexus LF-C2 concept.

The Lexus LF-C2 Concept is nothing if not interesting. Its bold lines and drop top design wowed the crowd at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. With its angular front headlights and villainous front grille, the LF-C2 will be one of the most eye-catching show cars at the LA Convention center.

Lexus LF-C2 concept from front view. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

However, the LF-C2 edgy looks could not save it from the anger of Lexus' dealers, who would have preferred the company spend its time and efforts on a crossover SUV with three rows of seats, reported Motor Trend.

According to the automotive magazine, Lexus' dealers launched a full-on revolt after the convertible 's reveal at the L.A. Auto Show — leading the automaker to kill off the drop-top that had been in the works for years.

Lexus LF-C2 concept from rear view. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

The Lexus dealer's preference for another crossover is reasonable. Crossover SUV's are cash cows for luxury automakers. Their high volume and high profit margins form the perfect combination for companies like Lexus — and in this case their dealers.

A high-priced luxury convertible, on the other hand, could sell with a decent profit margin, but it would never be more than a niche product.
[ht: Business Insider's Benjamin Zhang]

Walking back in the opposite direction, one may miss a gem of a car and a stand. The Alfa Romeo display area which features the new Alfa Romeo 4C in tucked in behind Maserati which in on a main aisle and the Hyundai/Bentley booth's back wall ... it is located in a bit of an alley way.

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

After decades of waiting, the Alfa Romeo 4C brings the famous Italian auto company back to North America. While this mid-engine sports car carries a price to compete against the Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche Boxster, and Jaguar F-Types; in reality, this wildly curvaceous Alfa is rawer and more outrageous than exotic cars costing twice the price.

Alfa Romeo 4C at speed during a recent Motor Press Guild Track Days event held at Willow Springs International Raceway 'Streets' track. Image Credit: Myles Regan (2014)

The snarling little turbocharged and direct-injected 1.7-liter 4-cylinder engine, nestled behind the passenger cabin, packs a great sound and plenty of power, with 237-horsepower available at 6,600 rpm and a stout 258 lb.-ft. of torque holding steady from 2,200-4,250 rpm.

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

There is a full-bore punch of turbo lag, however. Once you get the engine revving to 3,000 rpm, the 4C kicks you in the backside and launches itself down the road. It's actually a whole lot of fun, since the turbo is predictable and the car doesn't start sliding or tug the steering wheel out of your hands. So many turbocharged cars and trucks have absolutely smothered lag to the point of non-existence, it's refreshing to really feel that on/off nature of an old-school turbo at work.
[ht: NEW YORK DAILY NEWS' Nick Kurczewski]

Just inside the door as one enters the South Hall, and on your way out to the Concourse Hall, Toyota Motor Company has a few great concepts and conceptual reality on display.

The absolute best of these concepts is wrapped up in a hydrogen fuel cell package called Mirai.

The 2016 Toyota Mirai (which is the word for future in Japanese) is the first-ever hydrogen fuel-cell car to be offered for sale by a major automaker. It goes on sale in Japan next month, and will arrive in North America in the second half of next year in a limited, grid supported area.

Toyota firmly believes in hydrogen as the right solution for zero-emission vehicles. Toyota and Honda are both loaning money to third-party fuel providers to establish the first of what's projected to be a network of 100 stations in California. That's enough to support more than 10,000 hydrogen vehicles--but it points to the slow pace of growth for this latest clean vehicle technology. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

The four-seat mid-size sedan is effectively an electric car, with a 153-horsepower motor powering its front wheels.

But instead of storing electricity in a large battery pack, the owner refills the car's reinforced high-pressure storage tanks with hydrogen gas, which the car then converts into electricity in a fuel cell.

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

The big advantage of fuel-cell cars is their ability to refuel in 5 minutes or less and gain about 300 miles of range - something electric cars can't currently do, even with the highest-power DC fast charging variants.
[ht: Green Car Reports' John Voelcker]

You remember, Fisker, right? Great designer, penned some knockouts like the Aston Martin DB9 and BMW Z8, then thought he’d start his own automaker. That didn’t go well at all, even if the plug-in hybrid Fisker Karma was a stunner. We haven’t heard much from the man (aside from that motorcycle he designed) since he left his self-named automaker in early 2013. 

But there he was on Thursday at the LA Auto Show Press Days with that guy from Glapin Auto Sports - Beau Boeckmann, President and COO of the greater Galpin Motors Inc., pulling the sheet off the ROCKET, a custom-bodied Mustang with 725 horsepower, bold lines and several square yards of carbon fiber.
[ht: WIRED's Alex Davies]

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

“I’ve always wanted to design a Mustang,” Fisker told us. “I just never really had the opportunity in my career because the timing was never right.”

The interior of the ROCKET has been left mostly Mustang beyond some eye-grabbing red leather and carbon-fiber trim. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

When checking out the ROCKET from the rear, it's easy to spot the wider fenders that are beautifully blended into the integrated spoiler. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Henrik Fisker showed Beau Boeckmann early sketches at this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, and the two parties went from there. "When Henrik showed me his ideas, I got chills - it's literally the most beautiful Mustang I have ever seen," says Boeckmann in the company's release.

After visiting the Concourse Hall, it is on to the West Hall (featuring Ford's re-freshened GT350 Cobra - a not miss) and Petree Hall.

The only automobile company to occupy their own hall is Porsche ... and what an environment to behold. The star at Porsche is the 918 Hybred supercar.

This excerpted and edited from Porsche website - 

It took Porsche years to develop a worthy successor to the vaunted Carrera GT supercar, but at last, the 918 is here - and it’s a plug-in hybrid!

The Porsche 918 Spyder represents an entirely new look at the supercar. It heralds the future of the sports car and you can be there at the start.Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

With a combined 887 hp and 944 lb-ft of torque from its mid-mounted V-8 and electric motors - one at each axle - the 918 delivers Bugatti-like acceleration, tenacious handling, and a 211-mph top end.

Pure. Energy. The world's first plug-in hybred supercar! Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

And of course, it’s every bit as exotic-looking as any near-million-dollar supercar should be, with a low-slung, targa body, and ultra-futuristic cabin.
[Reference Here]

Again, the possible best way to blow-off the Black Friday shopping rush or walk off Thanksgiving Turkey and/or Ham with all the fixin's would be to take in a day, or two, between now and weekend's end and visit the LA Auto Show running now starting each day at 9am at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Besides, one may just come away with a couple (7) of really cool last minute Christmas gift ideas!

... notes from The EDJE

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


2015 Audi  TTS with Mark Dahncke on right in background as seen on the opening day of the Los Angeles Auto Show. Image Credit: Brandon O’Brien / Motor Driven Images


Are you “connected”?  Or should I say is your car “connected”?  This is a key topic at the Los Angeles Auto Show which opened to the media on November 18th.

There were a number of programs dealing with the future of the “Connected Car”.  This is not the future in, ten years, but next year.  One speaker likened this to the “period of the muscle cars”. He stated that if you missed that era you will not want to miss this one.  Miss it?  I do not think any car owner will be able to miss it. 

So what does “Connected Car” technology entail?  Smartphone integration, voice activated systems, your car receiving software updates from the manufacturer (Tesla), automotive apps, and autonomous drive to name a few.  Only time will tell if all of these will last the test of time or prove their safety. Two of the manufacturers that presented their products were Audi and Volvo.

Audi has taken the centrally mounted CRT and moved it into the instrument cluster.  In collaboration with nVidia they have developed what Audi calls “the virtual cockpit”. A concept very similar to the “glass cockpits” found in all modern airliners and many newer private aircraft.  According to Mark Dahncke of Audi this will only be available as a standard feature on the 2015 Audi TT models. At this time, it is unlikely that it will be an option on other models.

Audi / nVidia Virtual Cockpit components. Image Credit: Brandon O’Brien / Motor Driven Images

The feeling is that since this is driver oriented it may not be appropriate in a larger sedan where the passengers may want to have control over systems. In the virtual cockpit the driver will have control over all common functions via the centrally mounted MMI controller with displays being easily viewed within the instrument cluster.  Future models may incorporate both the virtual cockpit as well as a centrally mounted CRT to allow for passenger interaction.

Instrument cluster set to Sport Mode. Image Credit: Brandon O’Brien / Motor Driven Images

What this author found interesting was the Google Maps mode which places a graphic map within the cluster showing current location and route.  Turning the MMI knob zoomed the picture in or out with instantaneous resolution correction.  The system will also show active traffic alerts and is voice programmable.

Instrument cluster set to Google Maps. Image Credit: Brandon O’Brien / Motor Driven Images

Close-up of the Google map viewed from the driving position. Note the presence of the tachometer and speedometer. Image Credit: Brandon O’Brien / Motor Driven Images

 On the other end of the spectrum Volvo, for a number of years,  has been working on the autonomous self driving car.  Eric Coelingh was kind enough to speak with me about the benefits of this type of vehicle. These cars a conventional in all aspects, i.e. they have brake and accelerator pedals and a steering wheel.  Like “cruise control” there is a button on the steering wheel that activates the self driving mode. If you are on a road and you want to drive, go ahead. But when the traffic is a mess, push the button and sit back.

the 2017 Volvo V60 Drive Me/Self-Drive. Image Credit: Brandon O’Brien / Motor Driven Images

The idea is that in this day of technology where more individuals are involved in accidents due to inattention (cell phones, messaging, eating) that a self driving automobile may be the answer to these safety concerns.  Also, traffic has become an increasing issue all over the world. More cars generally necessitate larger highways.  With our current fixed lane size, the only way to increase road size is to physically expand it. One concept that Volvo has is that with a self driving car lane size can actually be decreased possibly allowing for an additional lane without expanding the highway.

Eric Coelingh and the Self Driving Volvo V60. Image Credit: Brandon O’Brien / Motor Driven Images

In Sweden and in this country there are a limited number of partially autonomous cars being tested by Volvo. In 2017 Volvo will lease 100 fully autonomous cars to lessees in Sweden for a 1-year trial. This trial will be designed to see how the general public adapts to this new concept in driving.  If the test phase is successful we may see more self driving cars entering California.  

How nice would it be to be stuck in traffic on the 101 through LA and all you had to do was to sit back, answer your emails, or read your kindle?  The technology is here today and we are getting connected.
[Words and photographs by Brandon O’Brien / Motor Driven Images]

... notes from The EDJE

Saturday, November 15, 2014

App-Tronics Delivers 2015 SEMA New Product Award For The Connected Car

Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has an annual automotive aftermarket trade show held in Las Vegas during the month of November. This trade association consists of a diverse group of manufacturers, distributors, retailers, publishing companies, auto restorers, street rod builders, restylers, car clubs, race teams and more. App-Tronics SmartNav 5 gets honored with SEMA's 2015 New Product and eight Global Media Awards (shown here displayed with complete product solution in the booth at SEMA 2014). Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

App-Tronics Delivers 2015 SEMA New Product Award For The Connected Car

Like most of us, we look at new cars and say to ourselves ... wouldn't it be nice to have the car I am happy and comfortable with, be updated with all of these new electronic connected car functions (GPS with a built-in screen, back-up camera, hands-free Bluetooth connection to my radio for my phone, and etc.) right now, for less than a down payment or even the first year depreciation on a new car?

SEMA has awarded the SmartNav 5 replacement mounted mirror solution manufactured by App-Tronics LLC the 2015 Mobile Electronics Product of the year for its navigation capability and much, much more.

SmartNav 5 product booth graphic communicates form factor and advantages of the SEMA award winning App-Tronics Flagship connected car solution. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

This excerpted and edited from App-Tronics website - 

App-Tronics Flagship product, the SmartNav 5 is the first truly captive all in one up-datable rear-view mirror that gives the car's operator: 
  • A rear-view replacement mirror with a large embedded 5-inch capacitive touch screen with 600 nit brightness (brightest in product segment)  so it displays clearly even in sunlight
  • GPS navigation turn by turn directions from iGO Primo fully featured Navigational software
  • DVR continuous front-view recorder with its own SD card which preloads an ADR player for computer downloading
  • A SmartVision reverse (rear-view) HD camera to aid in backing-up
  • Available optional parking sensors can be added to the SmartVision HD camera function
  • Bluetooth 4.0 with smartphone and music integration directed thru vehicles audio system either by FM tuner/transmitter or 3.5 auxiliary port access from music and video players
  • Photo viewer uploaded from one of its two micro 32GB SD card slots
  • The unit uses a fast 800MHz processor with high internal memory
  • The entire system is encased within the mirror's housing

Again, all on a 5" capacitive touch screen, with OEM mounting available for nearly every make and model.

It has an easy to use interface allowing drivers to have has few as 3 icons on the display screen.

Further, the SmartNav 5 can be now fitted with the same wireless technology as our Stealth Interceptor policing radar detection systems are completely wireless, allowing this mirror/connected car interface to also receive alerts from the same front bumper mounted radar detector and laser diffusers in concert with the same up-datable red light camera and speed trap Stealth Interceptor database.

Customers will now be able to purchase or upgrade their SmartNav 5’s to include all of these components. 

This newest addition further demonstrates App-Tronics goal of setting an impossible bar to reach that will ensure SmartNav 5’s longevity as the best application rich rear-view mirror on the market.
[Reference Here]

The most important issue with the integration of such a robust driver electronics interface, as the SmartNav 5 represents, is the fact this SEMA Show 2015 Mobile Electronics Product of the year's installation to any existing automobile with a non-intrusive approach. No dashboard modifications will be required. No extensive electronic wiring harness intrusion is required.

The genesis of App-Tronics and the SmartNav 5 product solution came to Mark Tierno (App-tronics Founder and President) when he was working at a BMW dealership integrating electronic upgrade kits into owner's cars. The amount of wire and time to install available solutions such as radar detectors and GPS systems compelled him to create another way on how to connect a car's driver to all of the electronic tools that are now being made available in new car offerings that currently populate most new car dealership showrooms. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

If the solution is a mirror replacement installation and one is not confident with  electronic wiring, take the packaged solution to a professional to install. This is a direct replacement and it will be replacing the vehicle's rear view mirror. The packaging includes everything one needs to install the SmartNav5. Included is the Mirror, Wiring Harness for the mirror, Rear View Camera and wiring, and the Windshield Mount for the mirror ... installation is simple and the step by step instructions are included.

Another approach is a SmartNav 5 Clip On model. Adjustable clips and a cigarette lighter port power adapter allows this all-in-one solution to travel easily from car to "UN-connected" car to deliver all of the basic SmartNav 5's driver interface benefits. Additionally helpful to the traveler who drives a lot in rental cars.

Here, App-Tronics Founder and President Mark Tierno (image right) discusses the SmartNav 5 solution with a couple of interested marketers and installers of automobile electronics upgrade integrations. It is never a bad thing to have these type of discussions where the SEMA awards are being displayed ... in the booth at SEMA (notice the SmartNav 5 Clip-On image left of center). Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

SEMA's New Product Of The Year, great in itself, was not the only recognition App-Tronics LLC received. The SmartNav 5 was also recognized by the representatives from the Global Media Award panel gathered to review the show at SEMA in Las Vegas. For the tenth year, a panel of 26 journalists from leading international media outlets served on the Global Media Award panel. Journalists from 14 countries participated, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Honduras, Mexico, Norway, Russia, South Africa, United Kingdom and Venezuela.

Each judge was able to select 10 products out of 2,000 new products submitted for review as their professional choices for the Global Media Award. App-Tronics LLC received 8 of 260 possible Global Media Award presentations. This means that 30% of all the judges on the Global Media Award panel had the same impression of the SmartNav 5 solution over the field of 2,000 new products shown at this year's SEMA Show.

So, the answer is YES! One can update the car they are already happy with to today's modern electronically connected car standards for well under the the cost of a typical new car down payment or first year depreciation through the non-invasive installation (in most cases - just a couple of hours) of an award winning SmartNav 5 replacement rear-view mirror driver interface.

... notes from The EDJE

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bubba Rope's 'Gator-Jaw' Snaps Up A 2nd SEMA New Product Award

DSC00622 Two SEMA Awards Display - 800px.jpgWith two SEMA New Product Awards in only five years, Bubba Rope is able to proudly display the hardware back-to-back. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Bubba Rope's 'Gator-Jaw' Snaps Up A 2nd SEMA New Product Award

Maybe this isn't as winning a record as baseball's San Francisco Giants with their recently garnered third World Series Championship in five years, but the Giants only have to compete against 30 other teams or enterprises.

Bubba Rope, which started in 2009, won its first SEMA New Product Award in 2010 for the 2011 product year, has to compete against hundreds of new products from about as many 'teams' or enterprises, won its second New Product Award in five years for Gator-Jaw™ soft shackles.

DSC00614 - Gator-Jaw 800px.jpgGood thinking leads to an additional threaded strand product solution that really changes the playing field. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Bubba Rope's first SEMA New Product Award was for their lead product ... the Bubba Rope. "The whole thing is branding," said Jim Flowers, a manager in Bubba Rope's business development team. Introduced to the consumer market in 2009, the nylon, military-spec recovery strap's packaging took Best New Product Packaging honors at the 2010 SEMA Show.

DSC00618 - Gator-Jaw & Bent Steel Shackle - 800px.jpgAt a rated 32,000 pound breaking strength, combined with a property that allows the Gator-Jaw to float and weigh just a few ounces, steel shackles not only bend apart but become an old technology solution with functional problems to overcome. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Bubba Rope is a professional snatch rope that features military-spec quality and strength that surpasses any vehicle recovery strap on the market. Bubba Rope is a durable kinetic energy recovery rope (KERR) that outperforms typical recovery ropes, snatch straps and chains because it stretches, using its own kinetic energy to help recover your vehicle from the stickiest of situations. If there is mud, sand or snow where you drive, then you need a Bubba Rope!

"If you have a clear idea of what your brand is, it's a lot easier to figure out what doesn't fit," Flowers said. "It all starts with an extremely clear vision of what you want to communicate with your brand."

DSC00627 - Close-In - Gator-Jaw Demo - 800px.jpgJust find a strong tie-down or tow point and the flexible Gator-Jaw will hold strong to anything it is attached to at a rated 16 tons of stress. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

This excerpted and edited from Bubba Rope® -

Gator-Jaw™ soft shackles are made from Plasma® rope which is the highest strength synthetic rope available. These rope shackles are stronger than comparable steel shackles. Gator-Jaw™ shackles won't rust and are so light they float. Towing applications include: 4x4 off-road, agriculture & mining equipment and various marine uses - wherever a connection of a rope or tether needs to be attached to another heavy equipment object (or even connecting two ropes) without the possibility of the connection coming loose.

Advantages Over Steel Shackles:

Stronger than steel - 32,000 lb. breaking strength!
It floats - no more losing shackles in the water or muck!
Flexible - easily wraps around the most difficult pulling points!
One piece construction - no pins to fasten!


Off-Road Recovery
[Reference Here]

Bubba Rope's Gator-Jaw™ soft shackles are the perfect compliment to the well outfitted off-road emergency tools kit - perfect for any situation where attaching a rope or tether to a specified tow or anchor point without the weight or multiple part downsides to metal D-rings or clevises.

Be on the lookout for a Bubba Rope® "Gator-ize" type of solution for use with front and back mounted hydraulic winches.

Who knows ... maybe there might be another SEMA New Product Award in the offing.

... notes from The EDJE

Sunday, October 19, 2014

New Format MPG Track Days Off To A Good Start

Motorsports Journal/Performance & Racing Tech Talk managing editor Edmund Jenks takes the first drive of the day at Big Willow in the new 5th generation Dodge VIPER T/A production two-seater super car. The Yorange 2015 Viper has not been outfitted with the SRT performance division’s 707-horsepower Hellcat engine (which was available in a lime green Charger and also driven at Big Willow) but its 8.4-liter V-10 engine is now rated at 645 horsepower, up 5 horses on the previous model year. Torque remains unchanged at 600 ft.-pounds. Production of this particular model in specialized colors (Competition Blue, Yorange, and Venom Black) will be limited to 96 units. Image Credit: Albert Wong

New Format MPG Track Days Off To A Good Start

The Motor Press Guild (MPG), the largest automotive media association in North America, re-launched its annual Track Days media event with an all-new program this week on Oct. 14-15 at the Hilton Pasadena, the Rose Bowl, and Willow Springs International Speedway.

Pulling in elements from business retreats and professional conferences, the re-imagined MPG Track Days program included a discussion panel led by A-list media, presentations from industry executives and exclusive test drives of more than 50 new cars, trucks and SUVs on public roads, closed courses and an historic raceway.

Chris Kersting, CEO of SEMA, the trade association representing the $33B automotive aftermarket industry, shared his insights on the latest parts and accessory trends ahead of the SEMA Show. The SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show, scheduled for November 4-7 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and plays host to more than 130,000 attendees and is where the industry comes to do business. For the first time in the Show's nearly 50-year history, the general public will be invited to partake in the action at a separate event called SEMA Ignited after the Show closes.

MPG Track Days “Secrets of Success in Automotive Journalism” panel shared many strongly held opinions in a lively and open, back and forth, forum. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

MPG Track Days' professional media panel this year, entitled "Secrets of Success in Automotive Journalism," was moderated by Sue Callaway, editor-in-chief of THE AUTO 100 and senior contributing editor at Fortune magazine. Callaway and the panel shared insights on what it takes to be an influential journalist in today's complex media world. Panelists included "BJ" Chris Woodyard, auto industry reporter at USA Today; "The Retiring" Mark Vaughn, west coast editor at Autoweek; "Just a grateful blogger" Michael Harley, west coast editor at Autoblog.com; "From radio to video" Micah Muzio, managing editor for video, Kelley Blue Book; and "Managing Motormouth" Michelle Naranjo, editor-in-chief at Autobytel.com. A second panel discussed the role of technology in the auto industry, from design to driving.

As in years past, MPG journalist members drove and evaluated vehicles from nearly every automaker in various environments on road, off road and on track. A back-to-back comparison test of compact SUVs and luxury sedans were staged at the historic Rose Bowl, followed by a street drive through scenic Pasadena. On-track drives at Big Willow and Streets of Willow courses were held at the historic Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, CA. An off-road course through the hills overlooking the Raceway hosted a selection of trucks and SUVs, including the incredibly capable 550hp Lingenfelter Chevy Reaper pickup truck.

The much anticipated, limited-edition Reaper, a no-nonsense performance off-road edition of the 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 pickup, is now available at select General Motors dealerships nationwide. The heavily customized Chevy Silverado that can be ordered with a supercharged 550hp 6.2L, comes in red, white, gray and black with a long list of standard features: three-inch lift, long-travel off-road suspension; Fox Racing shocks; 20-inch exclusive Reaper wheels mounted on General Grabber LT tires; and a Lingenfelter performance exhaust system. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

"Our track event has always provided a vital comparative driving experience for professional journalists to evaluate several cars in a short amount of time," said Joni Gray, MPG president. "This year, we've stepped up our program with newsworthy speakers and hands-on instruction to provide our members with even more content to fill the stories, reviews, TV segments and podcasts they create in the automotive media space."

MPG members were treated to a special ride along in a 2015 Nissan GT-R NISMO - one of only three in the country -- with 2011 Nissan GT Academy winner Bryan Heitkotter.

On the evening of Oct. 14, the gala dinner prepared by celebrity executive chef Gina Rodriguez was served. Rodriguez was a contestant on Food Network's hit show, Chopped. In the morning following the dinner, members were transported between the Hilton Pasadena and Willow Springs on Wi-Fi enabled luxury corporate coaches, which allowed members to network and be productive on the 90 minute ride each way.

MPG Track Days was open to all Motor Press Guild members, but only journalist members were credentialed to drive vehicles.

For information about becoming a member of MPG, please visit www.MotorPressGuild.org, or follow us on the MPG Facebook and Twitter pages.

Presenting Sponsors:
SEMA - Specialty Equipment Market Association
Nissan North America

Sponsor provided street drive cars lined up on the parking lot tarmac at the Southwest front entrance of the Rose Bowl complex. Journalist members had an enjoyable time driving a neighborhood street course that had all cars pass by a California Highway Patrol field office just off of the 210 Freeway. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Participating Sponsors:
Volkswagen of America
Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America
Mercedes-Benz North America
Ford Motor Co.
Subaru of America
Kia Motors
Hyundai Motors
Chrysler Corp.
Alfa Romeo
Honda North America
BMW North America
Porsche Cars North America
Land Rover
Tesla Motors
PR Newswire
(ht: Doug Stokes - MPG Track Days Committee)

... notes from The EDJE

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Irwindale Event Center's "Night of Champions 2014" Has Tight Points Battles In 3 Of 5 Events

The crazy-wild Lucas Oil Terminal Velocity Jet Dragster will be making a special appearance on the oval track and is scheduled to do a spectacular "burn down" (and that means to the ground) of a cast-off automobile or two during the "Night of Champions 2014" at IEC. Image Credit: Irwindale Event Center

Irwindale Event Center's "Night of Champions 2014" Has Tight Points Battles In 3 Of 5 Events

Irwindale Event Center's "Night of Champions 2014" Presented by 805 will be held this coming Saturday, October 18, 2014. Five Speedway divisions and one west coast touring series will take to the banked asphalt at Irwindale with five 2014 track championships at stake all on one exciting night.

NASCAR sanctioned Pick Your Part Super Late Models. Image Credit: Irwindale Event Center

The featured NASCAR sanctioned Pick Your Part Super Late Models division have put on great show at every race this year and now head into their final race with the first two competitors tied in points at 274 each. It just can't get any closer than a tie for first place points after completing the first six of a seven race championship season.

The leading duo: Toni McCray from Highland has won one of the six races, finished second twice and has a string of good finishes to her name, and Corona's Jason Patison has a three-race winning streak in the "Supers" going in.

Stringing together a lot of very good finishes, Linny White (Fontana) is right there in third at 272 points, only 2 scant clicks behind McCray and Patison. If anyone doesn't think that Mister White is coiled-up like a cobra and ready to strike, they've been watching the wrong races. Almost like a one-race "chase", the first points for this one have been figuratively reset to zero and there's Linny looking for a way to grab that 100* smackers and win the whole Super Late show on the very last go-round.

Image Credit: Irwindale Event Center

... And the Seidner's Collision Centers Mini Stocks division are only 2 points shy of a tie coming in on Saturday night. Covina's Dusty Morgan has not won a race all year but smart driving and a string of top finishes sees him here two (full) points up on Robby Harryman from Anaheim (316 -314). Harryman has won two races in the eight-race series, but also had a couple of not-so-hot finishes, keeping the points close and the competition (Garrett Green from Long Beach is only 4 points behind Harryman in third!) so tantalizingly tough and tight among the mighty mini stocks.

Universal Studios Hollywood™ Bandoleros division. Image Credit: Irwindale Event Center

Thirty-eight points separate Twin Peaks' McKenzie Eshleman from Lomita's Ryan Vargas in the Universal Studios Hollywood™ Bandoleros division. Vargas has been perfect in 2014, winning each and every one of the ten "Bando" events run thus far at Irwindale.

Under any other set of circumstances Eshleman would be said to be having a great year, the young lady notching high finishes at every event, but then there's Vargas winning every race that see the two 38 points apart first from second. Now factor in Allison Gay from Lakeside who is only 16 markers back in third. There are two races and 150 points still on the table for these youngsters (50 on Friday night and 100 for the finale on Saturday). Can Vargas go undefeated for an entire season?

Stand by (better still, the public is urged to go to www.irwindaleeventcenter.com right now and grab a whole handful of discount tickets for October 18 to witness the battle for a shot at track history).

Irwindale Race Trucks division. Image Credit: Irwindale Event Center

Running race nine of a 10-event 2014 season, the Irwindale Race Trucks division points leader has what looks (by the above standards anyway) like a huge 40 point jump on second place, but we must remind again that this one is for 100 (not the standard 50) points.

Already crowned as the 2104 Lucas Oil Late Model division champion, Rancho Cucamonga's own Ryan Partridge has a 40-point lead over his neighbor Christian McGhee (from Claremont) who, in turn has a 20-point advantage over rookie sensation Lacie Price from Bellflower. Partridge has won the lion's share of the IRT races this year (7 of the 9 run so far) but the Irwindale points system (and some very good driving by youngsters McGhee and Price) have kept the show close and the championship outcome to be determined on October 18.

In what is the largest lead in divisional points for the Irwindale championship events running on Saturday night, Alta Loma's Brent Scheidemantle will lead the INEX Legend Cars division onto the Speedway's low-banked (and tricky) third-mile track with a 72-point cushion over Studio City's Aaron Wells (442 to 370).

This will be the tenth and final race of the 2014 season for these very popular and very quick little motorcycle-engined replicas of early NASCAR stockers. Chad Schug (Oak Hills) is third only 20 back of Wells in the closely-matched "spec" series. There's a hundred to be had in the points pile, which means, of course, that a misstep can cost a lot to a frontrunner in terms of final placings on the points page in the big book of racing for 2014 at Irwindale.

The Spears S2 Tour Series will be back for their final Irwindale visit on October 18 with young Brandon Weaver from Bakersfield leading the points with 1,428 after the first seven of their 10-race touring season. Nastasia Dodd from Bass Lake is 129 points back at 1,299 with Bill Waters (Simi Valley) only 10 behind her. Johnny Butler from Arcadia and Kenny Smith from Oak Hills round out the S-2 top five at 1,261 and 1,180 points respectively. The S-2's are a locally-designed and built "spec" (all components and engines are identical) class and the racing is always razor-sharp and exceedingly close.

In addition to all of the above high-level championship short track competition, the crazy-wild Lucas Oil Terminal Velocity Jet Dragster will be making a special appearance on the oval track and is scheduled to do a spectacular "burn down" (and that means to the ground) of a cast-off automobile or two.
Figure-8 Chain Racing (two cars chained together on each team). Image Credit: Irwindale Event Center

The night will also feature the return of Figure-8 Chain Racing (two cars chained together on each team) in a wild exhibition event!

For those who attend and are over 21, Firestone Walker Brewing Company will be on hand with $2 beers for all of their brands on site, including their very popular 805 - hence "Presented by 805!"
(ht: IEC)

... notes from The EDJE

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pagenaud Leaves Honda For Chevy's Team Penske

DSC06491.JPGSimon Pagenaud poses at The Gorve in Los Angeles with the Verizon IndyCar Series championship prize ... The Astor Cup. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Pagenaud Leaves Honda For Chevy's Team Penske

At the end of a post finale MAVTv500 race press conference at Auto Club Speedway, a question was quickly posed to Simon Pagenaud as Simon was leaving the room - "Hey Simon, great year! What are your plans for 2015, any changes? Pagenaud replied with a large smile and a twinkle in his eye, "Just wait, in a couple of weeks there will be a big announcement - there may be a surprise." Since Simon was quickly leaving the room, there was no time for a follow-up.

Fast forward to about one month later. Rumors swirled around the future of Simon Pagenaud and if he just might jump to Honda's new alliance with McLaren in F1 and campaign for Honda in this new effort in the other top professional open wheel racing series here on mother Earth.

After all, Pagenaud has been very closely associated with Honda so as to have him viewed as a factory driver for most of the company's competitive efforts. So much so, that Simon Pagenaud took on the challenge of Pikes Peak last year in a specially outfitted IndyCar powered Honda Odyssey. Sadly, the effort did not produce great results other than the promotional value ... the Odyssey's time (12:54.325) was beaten by a turbo diesel-powered Freightliner that was being promoted by Banks Power (12:49.211).

On Monday, September 29, 2014, Simon Pagenaud officially became a member of a four-car team that may just have the most talented group of drivers to grace a team in American open-wheel racing - Verizon IndyCar Series' Penske Racing.

DSC07887.JPGSimon Pagenaud as he waits to qualify his last Honda-powered Dallara DW12 at the MAVTv500 held at Auto Club Speedway. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

An Interview With:


MERRILL CAIN: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm Merrill Cain with Team Penske, and thank you for joining us today for this special media teleconference. We hope everyone saw the news this morning that Team Penske is proud to welcome aboard Simon Pagenaud in the fourth car for the organization's Verizon IndyCar Series program beginning in 2015. A four‑time IndyCar race winner with a championship pedigree who has finished among the top five in the Series Championship in each of the last three seasons, we are happy to be joined by Simon Pagenaud along with Penske Racing President, Tim Cindric, to discuss today's announcement.

Simon and Tim, thank you for joining us on the call this afternoon.

We'll begin by getting some opening comments from both Tim and Simon who are at the Penske Racing facility in North Carolina today and we'll open it up to questions for media on the call. Simon, first off, congratulations on today's news and welcome to Team Penske.

SIMON PAGENAUD: Thank you. It's a very special day in my career. This is a stepping stone in what happened for me in this life. It's an honor to be part of Team Penske, a team that I've always dreamed to drive for, so a very special day.

MERRILL CAIN: Simon, obviously, this is a great opportunity for both you and the team. Can you just talk about what this means for your career overall, and also what you're looking forward to as you complete a powerful four‑car Verizon IndyCar Series lineup for the team starting next season?

SIMON PAGENAUD: It's definitely the next step in my career. I've been working my whole life as a race car driver, and now was perfect timing for Team Penske to come and work together. I'm really excited to get to work with Helio (Castroneves), Will (Power), and Juan Montoya. So having three teammates like them is definitely a huge help as a driver to complete the steps and it's going to help the team as well. I'm really excited. I think it's a tremendous opportunity for my career.

MERRILL CAIN: Thank you, Simon, and we hope the off‑season goes quickly for you as you get ready for 2015. Tim Cindric, why was now the right time for Team Penske to expand into a four‑car team and why was Simon the right driver to add to the lineup going forward?

TIM CINDRIC: It's the first time we've run four cars with Team Penske, so it will certainly be a challenge. But when you have someone like Simon who may seem as though maybe this has been something that we've looked at here in the short‑term, that's not necessarily the case.

Simon Pagenaud on Front Straight - LMP2.jpgSimon Pagenaud teamed with Gil deFerran to win Gil's last professional race as a driver at the 2010 ALMS race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It turns out that deFarren started his career in North America by winning his first professional race driving for Jim Hall here at MRLS. Image Credit: Motorsport.com (2010)

Simon had obviously had an association with (former Team Penske driver) Gil (de Ferran) back in the Sports Car days when we were running the ALMS program, and that's where we took notice of what his capabilities were. You know, really this has been the opportunity that we've had to bring him on board.

If that meant changing to a four‑car program, that's what we were prepared to do. We feel like any time you can expand an organization, certainly it's satisfying to know that we can continue to add to the Team Penske heritage, and bringing Simon on board was certainly an added plus to that. So, certainly looking forward to the challenge ahead.

Open Questions:

Q. Tim, we know that each individual driver will have their own individual team, but it seems when you're going to add a fourth car to the organization, you've never had four cars before. Maybe just talk a little, if you can, about some of the logistical hurdles you guys need to jump over to add another driver and another car? It's probably a lot more difficult than it actually sounds like.

TIM CINDRIC: It's a good question. When you look at the landscape right now, and you're looking at even how Andretti runs their program and the team continues to change and develop up until the first race. Typically we don't really put our teams together year to year, even when we stay with the same group of people. We don't necessarily designate them as the No. 3 car mechanic, No. 2 car mechanic or engineer, what have you, until later in the off‑season. So I think that would be the same case.

Personnel is the first challenge that you have, and logistically how do you place four cars, how do you put them under the tent? How do you debrief? How do you put together what you need for our overseas trip now at the Brasilia race and those sorts of things? Certainly a logistical challenge, but more importantly the personnel is always what makes the difference, so that becomes your biggest focus.

Q. Simon, you seemed to thrive with a bigger team. I mean, you've got three primary guys that you can feed off of and debrief with. Talk a little bit about the wealth of experience and success that those three guys have had over the years and how you're going to use a lot of that to develop even further as a race car driver?

SIMON PAGENAUD: It's a tremendous opportunity. I've got Helio, a three‑time Indianapolis 500 Champion. I've got Juan Montoya, and Will Power who is now a champion of the Verizon IndyCar Series, so it's great. It's really going to be a very interesting season next year. Feeding off each other will be an important task. We all work for Team Penske, and that's how it works here. I'm really excited about it, and I think it's a perfect - like I said, perfect timing in my career.

Q. Simon, we started talking to you in July or August about all the people interested in you. Could you just talk about what it took to get you. As good a partner as Honda was, and maybe this is one of the few opportunities that a race driver gets or was the fact it was Roger Penske? I know it was a tough decision, but just maybe talk in your words as far as being torn maybe between staying with Honda or going to maybe one of the great opportunities a race driver gets?

SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, it's a good question. As a driver, you grow, and there are teams that you look for and there are teams that you admire. Team Penske has always been a team I've always admired. The Penske way has always been something that impressed me, and I felt like I would fit the mold really well. I don't think any driver would turn down any opportunities from Roger Penske, so it was because of my interest in this team, it was the decision I made. I have to thank Honda for the past and for everything that they helped me to do. But, like I said, I just admired this team so much, this is my decision.

Q. As far as Ben (Bretzman), the engineer that Simon has had, will he come on board as Simon's engineer next year?

TIM CINDRIC: We haven't started the process. This is the first step and we haven't spoken to anybody in Simon's team at this point in time. So after today we'll start that process. Honestly, I don't know him. I've never met him, so don't really know what that is. He hasn't contacted us either. So I really don't know what the next steps are there. We have some depth here, but we'll certainly look to add from outside where we can.

Q. It just seemed that when Will (Power) came over, he brought Dave (Faustino). It just seems like the natural progression.

TIM CINDRIC: Well, if you remember, David didn't come for a year until after Will was here. Will didn't mention David to me. I didn't know David Faustino until after the first year Will was here, and Will never mentioned his name until Derrick Walker mentioned him to me. Derrick was the one that said I should talk to David. It was never Will.

I know it's interesting, and I asked Will, I said, it's interesting you hadn't brought up David's name? And he said, well, I just wanted to be here first, and I figured you guys would figure out the rest. But if we could have David, that would be great. I said, why didn't you tell me a year ago? (Laughs)

Q. Simon, congratulations. You mentioned your teammates earlier, Helio, Juan, but Will is the big talking point. You obviously had a bit of a rivalry this year. How different will it be being teammates with Will compared to when you were rookie in Champ Car and you two were teammates at that point?

SIMON PAGENAUD: Well, Will is a champion. He's a tremendous driver. Yes, we've had contact on track and all that, but you need to grow as a driver. We're quite mature now. We've known each other for a long time and been good teammates. I enjoyed very much working together at the time. I think it's going to be our job to make it work for the team at Team Penske. It's a great opportunity, certainly for me, but for all of us here. I don't see any problem. I don't see any reason why it won't work well. Actually, it is going to work well.

Q. As a follow‑up, with leaving Honda, is it at all bittersweet given what they've been able to do for your career?

SIMON PAGENAUD: They've done a lot for me, that's definitely the case. It's been a great relationship. It's been a fantastic three years in IndyCar with Sam Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, but then you have to choose some decisions in life. And like I said, my dream has always been to drive for Roger, and I got this opportunity and I made this decision.

Q. Some of the feedback I've already started to get in this announcement is that now Andretti and Penske each have four cars. How do you answer that with what's good for the goose is good for the gander kind of thing as far as the overall sport?

TIM CINDRIC: I guess we didn't really look at it as car count. We looked at it more as opportunity from our end. I think you see it in all the different sports, whether it's IndyCar, NASCAR, what have you in terms of car count, obviously raises your odds in some ways. But if you don't do it right, it can also be a distraction, and we've seen that within our NASCAR program. We've been a stronger team with two guys than we were when we ran three cars. So I think it really depends on when you add those cars and what your capabilities are.

I think if there was a time for us to add a fourth car, it was now. To where we feel we've at least got people in the right places. And our focus of expanding is really just a matter of enhancing what you have, and also adding a car rather than really trying to catch up in some ways. I think what we learn from the NASCAR side of it is if you don't have the two cars right, it's hard to add a third car. When we brought back the two cars in NASCAR, it benefited us in terms of our approach. So we felt like if we were going to add a fourth driver that really there wasn't another guy to consider.

But Simon is someone that we've been interested in, as I said earlier, since he drove Sports Cars for Gil, and this is the first time we've had an opportunity to get together and who knows when the next time might be, so you just have to make a decision.

Q. Do you think this is good for the sport to have three teams so dominant in terms of their car count?

TIM CINDRIC: I think that's for somebody else to judge. You saw what the Schmidt Peterson team was able to do with one car and you look at the number of race winners they had this year, and there were two four‑car teams out there this year. You look at the number of race winners that were at IndyCar, I'm not sure it really matters.

Q. Simon, have you talked to Will since the decision was made?

SIMON PAGENAUD: No, I haven't talked to Will yet. I will certainly do that very soon. We're actually going to a Verizon event tomorrow all together with all four drivers. So we'll have time to chat about it and that will be an interesting day.

Q. Is this a Verizon car, or are we that far down the line yet?

TIM CINDRIC: No, the answer is no and no. As far as a Verizon car or are we that far down the line, we're obviously starting to work on the sponsorship package for that program, but it's not necessarily a Verizon car. It's not necessarily not a Verizon car. We haven't talked to Verizon other than letting them know that Simon is coming on board. We certainly have some sponsorship programs that we're working on, and Verizon is part of all of our cars, so that's yet to be determined.

Q. When did you seriously consider adding that fourth car, and was that decision based on the fact that a driver of Simon's caliber was available and you didn't want to miss the opportunity to lock him up for the long‑term?

TIM CINDRIC: When did we start considering it? I would say pretty much all season long it's been in the back of my head because I've known what Simon's obligations were, based on the discussions we had before. This is a business you have to be kind of looking ahead to be sure that you're prepared. So in my mind that thought had been going on throughout the season. But we really hadn't crossed that bridge or talked about it in seriously until it was time, really.

Q. Simon, have you had much interaction with Rick Mears in your time with IndyCars, and have you looking forward to benefiting the role he plays with Team Penske?

SIMON PAGENAUD: I am very much looking forward to interact with Rick. We've had a few words on the racetrack, but just as competitors and very respectful words. I'm always looking up to those kind of drivers, like I did with Gil de Ferran, so it will be really awesome for me to get to have good stories with Rick.

Q. Simon, could you talk about the resources at Penske with both what's available to you and plus the depth of all the talent that you're going to be working with when you get there?

SIMON PAGENAUD: Yes, it's a good point to bring. The big advantage of a team like Penske is definitely all the resources that you can have and all the research and development that you have available to make the car better and improve. As you know, I'm someone very technical, and that is the side of the sport that we enjoy. What better fit for me? There wasn't any better fit. So it's pretty exciting going into 2015 that way.

Q. Do you feel that perhaps you're going to be able to add to some of the deep history of the Penske legacy?

SIMON PAGENAUD: I surely hope so. I mean, as a driver, when you walk into a team like this one, the goal is different. You're here to win. That's the bottom line. The goal is to have complete success with the contract.

Q. Congratulations, Simon, and Tim, too. There was some suggestions that Nissan approached you about possibly driving their new P1 car in Le Mans in the World Championship. Can you comment on that at all, and if you gave any serious consideration to such an offer if it came?

SIMON PAGENAUD: I've always been interested in Sports Car. I've had a great career in Sports Car. But as you can see, my goal was to go back to IndyCar in 2012, but it was a successful time and great opportunities ahead. So, yes, I've been in talks with Nissan. It's been good talks, but I was very interested in my opportunities in IndyCar, so that was the bottom line.

Q. Joining Penske in IndyCar, it would be like if you joined McLaren or Ferrari in Formula 1?

SIMON PAGENAUD: Yes, the Penske heritage is huge in racing. What Roger Penske did for the sport is amazing in America and worldwide as well. It's truly an honor to be part of the team now, and I'm very excited to get to work with everybody here. I'm just super excited and really impressed with the organization already.

Q. Do you feel that for the timing it's a different thing to be the little French man on a smaller team than a big one and it's another thing to be part of one of the big teams?

SIMON PAGENAUD: That's an interesting question. I don't think nationality has anything to do with success. It's who you are as a person, and who you think will win. I definitely feel like on the Team Penske side and my side it could be a really good fit, and that's why we joined the two ends of the link.

TIM CINDRIC: We worked with a smaller French guy before in (Romain) Dumas.

Q. Congratulations both of you. My first question is for Tim. I know in the past there have been times where you weren't able to go from two cars up to three cars because of sponsorship considerations. Simon is a great talent. What was it about this that you feel confident that you can collectively stage a fully good four‑car effort bringing in all the financial resources it will take?

TIM CINDRIC: The fortunate thing is obviously we have an owner that is committed to winning and committed to opportunity. That doesn't mean we can't make a business case behind it, but obviously, to make this decision, we have to have those resources in place or at least to the point where we're confident enough that it can stand on its own.

So I think it's a little bit different than the Montoya situation because that one, honestly, we didn't have one discussion whatsoever. This one, I think we also have some processes in place to where we feel like there is some potential beyond our existing sponsors. But at the end of the day, that is the secondary thing for us in terms of this opportunity. I know that sounds backwards sometimes, but we've been fortunate to have a really good marketing team, and with the off‑season the way it is, we feel like we've got more time than you typically would have to raise those budgets. So, obviously we're willing to take that chance.

To have four cars, there is efficiency in doing that. The first car costs the most, and then each one after that costs a little bit less. That's not always the case for the driver, but it is the case for the sponsor, in a way.

Q. Simon, if you could talk about the path it's taken to get to this ride? Obviously one of the best rides in the history of the sport. If you could talk a little about the road and the path that it's taken for you to get here?

SIMON PAGENAUD: Of course. It's my path in America has been very interesting and challenging at times, but quite a good adventure. I came here in 2006 and won the Champ Car Atlantic championship. Then I went to Champ Car, had a good time being teammates with Will Power and unfortunately the series folded. 

So I found a home with Gil de Ferran and a great organization, and then I had an opportunity to drive Le Mans in the 24 Hours.

So I had the chance to have really good rides and to shine in those good teams. I'm really happy to get in contact, basically with Team Penske and Tim Cindric. 

So that was, I think, Sports Car was a very important moment in my career. It helped me to learn a lot by technical aspects of the car and set‑up, and also to be known as someone who could share and work as a teammate. Then the next step was coming back to IndyCar with Sam Schmidt, and I can't thank him enough for what he did and the opportunity he gave me. We had great success and it allowed me to have a great opportunity today with Team Penske.

Q. I know that you've had quite a bit of success with Sam, but how stunned were you when the initial overtures came from Team Penske?

SIMON PAGENAUD: Well, I worked pretty hard. I worked really hard, and the goal as a driver is to go out and win races and win championships. So you always hope for the best. You always hope that you'll get the best opportunity possible. There's been a lot of interest during the winter which I truly was honored about it. Luckily enough I had a very good opportunity with the team that I always dreamed to drive for, so the decision from then on was pretty easy for me.

Q. Do you have a car number yet or something you're leaning toward?
TIM CINDRIC: 22. 22. Thanks for asking.

Q. Simon, you've been honest the last couple of years - (you've) got to upgrade (your) oval track program, and I think you've made strides. But you've never had a strong teammate that had oval experience. Now you have Montoya, Castroneves and Power, and now Rick Mears. Maybe that is the one missing piece of your career right now. As far as looking ahead, that's got to give you more optimism than anything?

SIMON PAGENAUD: Yes. It took time for anyone like Dario Franchitti or Will Power to win on oval, and I think it's the natural progress and natural improvement. I feel definitely ready to take on the fight on the ovals, and definitely having someone like Montoya with so much experience on the oval and Helio by my side will be huge.

I'm actually really looking forward to our first test together on an oval some day. That is definitely going to be an interesting one for me in that sense.

Q. Have you determined the first test dates for Simon yet? How different is this year's first testing program going to be considering you have the aero kits coming, but it's a little bit of a waiting period until that point?

TIM CINDRIC: Yeah, I think understanding where the aero kit test plan is probably the best answer for that as we try to work through that for Chevrolet. Chevrolet has done a lot of work on the aero kit program over the past couple years as I'm sure Honda has. But understanding what the best approach is for utilizing their days and how they plan to utilize their days, we're still working close to Chevrolet on that and trying to incorporate Simon into that at some point in time would be great if we get that opportunity.

But certainly before the year is out, we'd like to get him in our car at some point in time. We're actually pouring the seat for him here today, so we'll have that piece out of the way. Really, after that I guess I don't have a specific date, but I can say he'll be in the car before the end of the year.

Many are now left asking ... what in the heck did Honda do to warrant such a level of defection to the manufacturer of the other engine and aerodynamic body work for the Dallara DW12 in the Verizon IndyCar Series - Chevrolet?

Last year around this time, Target Chip Ganassi Racing jumped to Chevrolet, and with the merger of Ed Carpenter Racing with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing earlier this month - CFHR will be running Chevy-power leaving Honda without rising American star driver Josef Newgarden.

And now this - Simon Pagenaud leaves Honda for Team Penske!

At least, now, Pagenaud will not have to be concerned about being bested by a 10,000 pound mule for a rolling cross-country shipping container.

In 2015, what is Honda going to do to buttress its dwindling American open-wheel prospects? Of the three four-car teams, only one is powered and supported by Honda - Andretti Autosport. Maybe their answer will lay in providing better Aero Kits!

... notes from The EDJE