Sunday, April 29, 2018

ArtCenter Meet-Up With Recognized Automotive Designer Frank Stephenson

Frank Stephenson enjoys sharing the passions of the folks he designs solutions for. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

ArtCenter Meet-Up With Recognized Automotive Designer Frank Stephenson

An absolutely enthralling late morning and afternoon was spent with friends, scholars, fans and colleagues of "Rock Star" &  ArtCenter College of Design​ educated designer of the BMW MINI, rebirth of the Fiat 500, BMW X5 SUV, certain models of Ferrari​ - Maserati - Alfa Romero, and for the last 7+ years Design Director at McLaren Automotive - Frank Stephenson.

Listing of the documentary that Salon Pictures, with a distribution partnership through Lionsgate, found as an active project on the Salon Pictures website. Image Credit: Salon Pictures (2018)

A meet-up was arranged at ArtCenter for a few lucky folks to help give some background to a documentary being produced (Salon Pictures/Lions Gate) about Frank with a working title of ... My Design Life.

Simeon Panda and Frank Stephenson share some treasured stories, on camera, about body-building, challenges, perseverance, and cruising on Frank's wood hulled electric water craft in and around London. Good times. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

During this time that was shared, a production crew interviewed many of those who showed up at the gathering that was announced, almost in passing, through a Facebook posting on Frank's FB timeline.

Frank Stephenson signed several passenger side dash board panels of iconic designs he placed back into our motor culture consciousness. Here, Frank has signed the dash of a silver BMW MINI and is about to sign the corresponding accessories card the owner plans on mounting on the wall of his home. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

Beyond the engaging nature of Frank and the interesting design critiques of his own collaborative result of his produced road-worthy works, the breadth and nature of the people gathered stood as a testament in a most interesting wake trailing behind a designer's life lived.

Top of the line Fiat 500 Abarth brought to the meet-up by Grant Delgatty co-founder of the personal transportation device known as URB-E. Another winning design, another signed dash, and another story of the joy Frank's Design Life brings to all it touches. We all know - this is the easy part. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

On the critique side, Frank took on a recently purchased McLaren 720S, owned by @garagegoals.official, that graced our meet-up. The critique was entertaining, informative and insightful given the nature of our gathering.

With motion back and forth across the horizontal design element, Frank Stephenson illustrates his point that visually, and functionally, this area could have been handled differently. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

First, was the trailing "bubble" or accent-line indent just behind the front wheel and under the rear-view mirror. Frank's attitude from further reflection is that "less is more" and that the horizontal element that began at the wheel well accent curve should not be there - it was unnecessary and too busy. The finished look should be a continuation and fade out blending of the wheel well accent curve and that would be that.

Triangle in satin finish. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

Second, the triangle support guide at the leading, or front of the door, where the cabin side window is mounted should have been covered in a gloss black, as opposed to a satin finish or murdered out black, in order to repeat the reflective nature of the glass. After-all, the pillar that forms the roof structure is gloss black - notice how it fades into the background. McLaren offered as the reason for not changing the finish of this triangle element ... cost.

Two-piece vent finish solution. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

Lastly, along the McLaren's "signature" side body channel airflow vent access, this should have been a single defining piece, or cover. The two-piece cover that was the final solution leaves an eyebrow style edge or line that left the designer in Frank less than comfortable.

Ahhh, the ever-pursuing mind of a design perfectionist.

Frank Stephenson looks skyward as he waits for the production crew of My Design Life to finish another interview of some of the folks who had gathered at this impromptu meet-up at ArtCenter. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

A grounded career takes flight.

Frank Stephenson's next designing chapter will begin May 7th, 2018 for a Munich, Germany company who brought him on to shape a five seat version of their two seat prototype of a vertical takeoff and vertical landing 150+ mph autonomous air transport taxi.

As Frank was overheard saying when asked, Why? "Look up, there's a lot of room up there!" ... as he smiled and looked skywards.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Frank Stephenson, @artcenteredu, Stewart Reed, @_Garagegoals, @simeonpanda, @urberides, Grant Delgatty, #FSACCD, #ACCD, #salonpictures #lionsgate #film #mydesignlife #la #california #design, @The_EDJE

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Andretti Autosport's Rossi Grabs Hold Of 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series Season In P3, P3, & P1 For Season Points Lead

Alexander Rossi attacks Turn 6 on his way to nailing down his third Podium finish in as many races in the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season with his first win at the 44th Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach - starting from the pole position. This win became his third in three years, along side his winning finishes at the 2016 INDY500 and 2017 IndyCar Grand Prix at The Glen - also, from the pole position. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

Andretti Autosport's Rossi Grabs Hold Of 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series Season In P3, P3, & P1 For Season Points Lead

Nevada City, California's own Alexander Rossi, after beginning the year as a member of the #TeamIndyCar promotion of Season 30's The Amazing Race paired with the future INDY500 driver for Dale Coyne Racing/Thom Burns Racing Air Force sponsored No. 17, Conor Daly, Alex has been on a strong and steady march to the front.

In the Amazing Race, teams work through challenges, in much the same manner as a "Scavenger Hunt", going from location to location to perform tasks and challenges ... throughout the world. The biggest #TeamIndyCar challenge imagined that would be encountered in this set up, because even though they are a part of a team, what they do on the track is ultimately in their control, is being a performance team sharing the performance through their shared functioning against each task against other paired teams in this reality TV series race.

Team IndyCar did very well completing many of the stages at P1, finished P4 behind the Professional Skiers #TeamExtreme at P3 - Kristi Leskinen and Jen Hudak, Dating Debaters #TeamYale at P2 - Henry Zhang and Evan Lynyak, and the $1,000,000 winning team #TeamBigBrother of houseguest showmance couple Jessica Graf and Cody Nickson.

Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly (L) have a chat with NBC Sports IndyCar race analyst Townsend Bell in front of Rock & Reilly's Sunset Strip, location of The Amazing Race Season 30 Episode 1 viewing party. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

Many would say that this is a great start to 2018, but Alexander Rossi was just beginning to make improvements. The impression one gets is that this is a driver who has taken what he has learned in his Freshman and Sophomore years in the IndyCar Series as a matter of team building, and with the freeing up of the racing platform, is staged to make a kind of racing history and domination during his Junior year that hasn't been seen since the ChampCar World Series racing days of Sebastien Bourdais and Newman-Haas.

After chasing and moving aside race leader, Schmidt Peterson's Rookie driver, Robert Wickens, on the final restart at Saint Petersburg, to hold on and finish P3 ...

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Rookie and Canadian driver, Robert Wickens (L) shares a kidding moment with Alexander Rossi during the Phoenix Grand Prix post race press conference. Wickens celebrated that he finished P2 with Rossi who finished in P3. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

... then chasing the brightest beginning for a Rookie joining the Verizon IndyCar Series by qualifying strong and leading the most laps through two races - yes, Robert Wickens again -  to finish a consecutive P3 at the first oval race of the season, the  Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix at ISM Raceway, Alexander Rossi rolled into Long Beach loaded for bear.

The weather was perfect for the now Forty-Four year year old rites-of-spring event and the team of the No. 27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda Dallara was well oiled by placing the car in the top classification throughout the three practices and nabbing the Verizon P1 Pole Award at the end of the three round Knock-Out Qualifications process ending with the Firestone Fast Six.

Before driver introductions and the command for "Drivers! Start your engines!", Alexander Rossi walks along pitlane and other teams pit boxes to get ready to race after qualifying at position one yesterday, along side of Team Penske's two-time TGPLB winner (2008, 2012) Will Power. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

In the Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach, Alexander Rossi and his support team, headed by the engineer who has been with Alexander for the two previous years, Jeremy Milless, were rarely ever challenged, even when the field was tightened up on restarts after four Full Course Yellow Flag caution periods for problems on the track. Alexander's car and his situational race awareness had him out front quickly and plenty of space by the time Turn 1 came upon the field. Alexander and the No. 27 led every lap, save for the times he relinquished the lead on pitstop rotations - he led 71 laps of the 85 lap race.

Q. You didn't turn a wheel wrong all weekend, and to have a weekend like that, is that as close to perfection as you can ever hope to have? --- ALEXANDER ROSSI: I suppose so. You know, you always look back on things, on what could have been better, but yeah, I think that the car was (pause) we nailed the setup really every session, which is very hard to do in this championship with the changing conditions and the different rubber that gets laid down.

My engineer Jeremy Milless and the entire engineering department led by Eric Bretzman was really on top of their game this weekend. I think we had two cars to win for sure, and I feel very sad about stuff that happened to Ryan (Hunter-Reay) kind of from yesterday afternoon, but Zach and Marco showed the strength of the cars in race condition, as well, today, and it would have been pretty cool for Zach to be able to get his first podium. He was really close (at P4).

This image was captured from the photographer's riser about the same time Alexander Rossi's attorney, Michael Maroney shot his Instagram image & message (look above & closely). Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

Q. Last year Andretti Autosport came here, all ran strong, all four retired with mechanical or electrical gremlins, and this year you all had incredible pace again, three of you ended up in the top 10, you won. That's got to be a little bit of extra sense of satisfaction to kind of get one back after last year. --- ALEXANDER ROSSI: Hugely. This was one that was circled on the calendar for us for a while, and last year was heartbreaking. I mean, if I wasn't -- didn't have the opportunity to win, Ryan had the opportunity to win. And to have all four drop out with mechanical issues, that's the way of the sport sometimes, and I'm glad that the balance of luck, if you will, kind of came back to us a little bit this year.

Yeah, I mean, there's a huge sense of satisfaction that we were able to still have the strength that we had last year, especially when we look back three years or two and a half years to 2016, when street courses were kind of the bane of our existence. To make that kind of strides forward that we've made in the past two years is pretty special, and very cool to be a part of on the inside, and as a driver to go from pretty much coming here and it being an undrivable situation to coming here and Friday through Sunday you have an awesome race car under you is a very special feeling.

Team Selfie - Alexander Rossi joins the crew of his NAPA Auto Parts No. 27 Honda Dallara in a new media Victory Lane celebration using the camera from a phone set out for all to see. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

Q. So you won at Indy - and Watkins Glen - and Long Beach --- ALEXANDER ROSSI: Those are three good ones, huh? Is that your question? (Laughter)

Q. That was pretty much the question, yeah. What does it mean to you? --- ALEXANDER ROSSI: I realized that when I was told on the podium that that was the case, and that's pretty spectacular. I certainly hope I haven't peaked too early with those three. But yeah, no doubt about it, I mean, if you're going to hit the wish list, those are the three. And yeah, I don't really have anything more to say than it's kind of hard to believe and hard to understand, and it's something that will definitely take a lot of time to appreciate, but we don't have that much time to appreciate it because this series just likes to keep us going, so we're on track here in another four or five days, and you're only as good as your last time on track, so we'll have to go re-prove ourselves again on Friday (next race at Honda Indy Grand Prix Of Alabama).

Top six in the season points standings after St. Petersburg and the Southwest Spring Swing (Phoenix Grand Prix & Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach). Image Credit: INDYCAR

As the points race begins to shape up early in this new age of the Universal Aero Kit with less downforce, there are only a few other teams and drivers that seem poised to be able to challenge the strength of the Andretti Autospot team of Alexander Rossi - assuming full race runs.

In the top six in the 2018 season points standings, one finds a broad diversity of outright challenges from three past IndyCar Series champions representing 9 season titles in P2 Penske Racing's Josef Newgarden (2017), P4 Dale Coyne Vasser Sullivan Racing's Sebastien Bourdais (2004-2007 in ChampCar), and P6 Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon (2003, 2008, 2013, 2015 in IRL & IndyCar).

Add to this mix, veteran drivers from advancing teams as P3 Rahal Letterman Lanigan's Graham Rahal who finished a season high 4th in the points in 2015, and P5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver James Hinchcliffe who has had one of his most steady season starts and seems poised to make a statement while being pushed by his longtime friend and current teammate Canadian Rookie Robert Wickens.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: @IndyCar Verizon IndyCar Series, Andretti Autosports, Alexander Rossi, NAPA Auto Parts, #TGPLB, #TGPLB44, Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach, Honda, @hondaracing_hpd, @TheEDJE

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Verizon IndyCar Series Immerses Hinchcliffe For Media Event

Posted at Instagram with the following caption: James Hinchcliffe of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports winner of last year's Long Beach Grand Prix of Long Beach meets up with large Sea Bass. #whatablast #IndyCar@indycar #tgplb #tgplb44@hondaracing_hpd @honda Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

The Verizon IndyCar Series Immerses Hinchcliffe For Media Event

IndyCar performs its first ever underwater media event with sport diver and racecar driver Schmidt Peterson Racing's Mayor of Hinchtown, Canadian James Hincliffe. The Verizon IndyCar Series in concert with The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA and American Honda Motor Co., Inc., set up an interview session with members of the motorsports media in advance of the 44th Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach with last year's winner James Hinchcliffe, who drives the No. 5 SPM Honda, and the appreciation bubbled up all over this Southern California treasure.

Blue Cavern - Aquarium Exhibit - presented by American Honda Inc.

Modeled after Blue Cavern Point, a kelp forest along the northeastern coast of Santa Catalina Island. This exhibit represents the underwater habitat you would find along our coast and around local islands.

Kelp forests provide shelter, food, and breeding grounds for many species, including other algae, marine mammals, fish, birds, invertebrates, and plankton. Some animals to look out for are leopard sharks, California moray eels, California sheephead, giant sea bass, and our divers!

This was a great promotion upon which to begin the second chapter of IndyCar's Southwest Spring Swing, having just completed its second round of a seventeen round racing series season at ISM Raceway with the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix.

James Hinchcliffe managed to lead 20 laps last Saturday before fading on the final restart to finish sixth. Combined with his fourth-place effort in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 11, it has the driver of the No. 5 Arrow Electronics SPM Honda sitting sixth in the standings. However, even after strong performances on two different track disciplines – street circuit and short oval – the 31-year-old Canadian isn't ready to anoint his team as a championship contender.

“We got two out of four,” said Hinchcliffe, who readies for the next round as the defending race winner of the Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach, set for this weekend beginning Friday with its first practices, Saturday Knock-Out format qualifications ending in the Firestone Fast Six with the Verizon P1 Pole Award going to the top qualifier, finishing off on Raceday Sunday (4 p.m. ET, NBCSN and Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network).

“We’ve still got a road course and a superspeedway to try, but we’ll see. Between short ovals and street circuits, that’s half the calendar and Detroit is a doubleheader. Who knows, St. Pete was one race, it was everybody’s first race. We can’t be too confident going into Long Beach," continued Hinchcliffe.

“There are a lot of great cars and there is still a lot for us to learn. But as a team, considering how much we had to overcome in the off-season with new people, dealing with the new car, coming off the back of being one of the (Honda) development teams, we didn't get much of an off-season to regroup, refocus and get everybody integrated. So honestly, I just can’t say enough about the team and all the guys and girl at the shop.”

This weekend, The Mayor of Hinchtown will try to do what no IndyCar driver has done in more than a decade - return to Victory Lane at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach which is in its 44th year.
[ht: Aquarium of the Pacific & IndyCar]

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Honda, IndyCar, Aquarium of the Pacific, Blue Cavern, James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, The EDJE

Saturday, April 7, 2018

French Front Row Will Start Phoenix Grand Prix

"I mean, obviously he [Dale Coyne Racing race engineer Craig Hampson] knows me very well.", said Sebastien Bourdais in the post qualifications press conference. "I think everybody is very conscious of, trying not to upset my wife too much, meaning, keeping the thing on the black stuff, away from the walls. I don't think they really want to do anything too crazy. Honestly, when the weekends go like that, because we unloaded the car we had at the test, and we tried something, didn't get a really good read on it, so we came back and really did some very fine-tuning to it. We got through the qualifying line, and I really knew what I had. That's the best possible way to go qualifying." Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

French Front Row Will Start Phoenix Grand Prix

Champions - 2 from France and one from Austrailia - crowd the first three positions of qualifications at Phoenix Grand Prix.

In a oval qualifications each-by-each session at ISM Raceway held between 5:00pm and 6:00pm with the sun and desert temperatures dropping, Team Penske teammates and IndyCar season champions, driving Dallara Chevys, Simon Pagenaud (2016) and Will Power (2014) held down the top two positions over the rest of the field until the last Dallara Honda, prepared by  Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan, took to the track.

Four-time season champion Sebastien Bourdais deaccellerated through pit entrance topping the speed charts at 188.539 creating an all Frenchman front row for the side-by-side start of the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix at ISM Raceway.

Qualifications Results >>>

Important career points achieved by Sebastien Bourdais with the ability to know what he needed to do to capture the pole due to knowing he was the last car to take the track in a qualifications run:

** Career best start at ISM Raceway (former best was 10th)

** First Pole earned in nearly 12 years. His last pole on an oval was in 2006 at Milwaukee.

** 34th career pole – breaks tie with Dario Franchitti (now 8th) for 7th on all-time poles list

** 2nd pole ever for Dale Coyne Racing

This excerpted and edited from IndyCar -

Bourdais qualified in preferred cooler conditions under the setting sun. It helped the 39-year-old from Le Mans, France, earn a pole position on an oval for the first time since Milwaukee in June 2006, when he was in the midst of winning four consecutive Champ Car titles. It was also the second pole in the 35-year history of Dale Coyne Racing, following Mike Conway at Detroit’s Belle Isle in 2013.

“That SealMaster No. 18 Honda was really solid,” Bourdais said. “As soon as that track temp cooled off, it just gives you all the grip you need to make it happen. It’s high tension, high pressure, really listening to the car and making sure you don’t overdo it.”

Simon Pagenaud, last year’s race winner at ISM Raceway, qualified second with a two-lap average of 188.148 mph in the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet. Teammate and 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power was third in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, at 186.852 mph.

“I think we did a really good job considering the conditions,” said Pagenaud, the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series champion. “The car, she was really nice, it was perfect. The No. 22 Menards team did a really good job. I think we’ve got a really good race car, so I’m excited.”

Alexander Rossi qualified fourth for Andretti Autosport in the No. 27 Honda (185.741 mph). Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammates James Hinchcliffe and rookie Robert Wickens locked up the third row of the starting grid: Hinchcliffe qualifying fifth at 185.741 mph in the No. 5 Arrow Electronics SPM Honda and Wickens sixth in the No. 6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda (185.362 mph).

“A huge credit to the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports guys because we did not have a great test here back in February,” Hinchcliffe said. “Obviously things have changed a lot conditions-wise, but we went back (after the test), had a big think about it, a big look inside ourselves. I just can’t thank those guys and gal enough for getting us good cars and getting us both up there. It’s awesome.”

Several drivers expected to contend for the pole struggled in qualifying. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing led every session of the Phoenix open test in February, but drivers Graham Rahal (No. 15 One Cure Honda) and Takuma Sato (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda) qualified 12th and 13th, respectively. Four-time series champion and 2016 Phoenix winner Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) was 17th, Ed Carpenter (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet) was 18th and Marco Andretti (No. 98 Oberto Circle K / Curb Honda) was 20th.

Andretti’s crew discovered a mechanical issue with his car after the run that hindered his effort.

“We were a lot too low on our qual run – we weren’t expecting the big pace gain,” Andretti said. “I was just bottoming everywhere and at the limit of the deck of the car. After qualifying we found that the skid (plate) was pulling down and we were bottoming in third gear. That caused our struggle and lost time. We’re going to need to make some headway and work our way back in the race.”

Saturday’s 250-lap race will be the 64th for Indy cars at the historic mile oval outside Phoenix dating to when the track opened in 1964. The Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix airs live at 9:00pm ET Saturday on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.
[Refence Here]

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Verizon IndyCar Series, ISM Raceway, Phoenix Grand Prix, Sebastien Bourdais, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan, Team Penske, IndyCar, The EDJE