One extra benefit to holding the Designer Night at the Races™ events in February is the opportunity to travel to sunny California and leave the winter behind in Michigan. I say extra because the obvious regular benefits are still in play: the chance to connect with old friends, the opportunity to make new ones and going racing with Ford, General Motors, Honda/Acura, Hyundai, ICON Aircraft, Intersection Inc, Mazda, Mobis, Nissan, Tesla, Toyota Calty thanks to our main sponsors Lacks Enterprises, Plastic Plate and Dassault Systemes.
The week of karting started off innocently enough when a bunch of designers dropped in on K1 Speed in Gardena to see who was the fastest designer and the fastest design studio. Unfortunately there were a few racers who had to cancel because of the flu, so to those of you who missed the event we wish a speedy recovery. The remaining designers and sponsors had a fantastic evening of racing with 3 large groups.
In the C-Main designers from Honda and Tesla joined sponsors, Toyota Product Planning and a new participant, the design team from ICON Aircraft to form a field of 13. Henry Chow from Toyota started on the pole but was passed by the flying Tuyen Le of Honda who knocked a whopping 1.237 seconds off his qualifying time en route to a win. Toshiyuki Sase of Tesla finished third. Brandon Toms of Tesla was the most improved driver of the evening as he went from a 30.789 qualifying time to a 29.096 race time, an improvement of 1.693 seconds.
The B-Main started with a duel as once again 3 different managers populated the podium. Sue Neuhauser of Tesla worked her way from 3rd into 2nd place in the first couple of laps and then chased down the leader for the win. Royce Meksilpstith started and finished 2nd while pole sitter Eric Sarmiento of General Motors finished 3rd. Dong Tran of ICON was the evening’s most steady driver as he managed an average lap time less than 1 second off his fastest lap – an extremely consistent pace
The finishing order was nothing like the grid positions as some drivers advanced from the back and others ended up a lap or more down. Jeremy Rolon of Honda started 2nd and stayed out of trouble for the win. He also managed the largest victory margin of the entire week by winning by 14.568 seconds.
Michael Shumann of ICON moved up from his 5th grid spot to finish 2nd. I guess working for an aircraft company allowed him to fly past most of the competition.
But the real mover was Matt Mantz of Honda who started 11th and filled out the last podium position moving up a remarkable 8 positions and setting fastest lap of the night along the way with a 27.799.
Be sure to check out the results and the rest of the pictures here.