GM Wrestles the Trophy Back

Designer Night at the Races(TM) presented by Lacks Enterprises.  If there is one constant in the battle for the title of Fastest Design Studio in the East, it is the fact that if you wait long enough the title will revert to GM.  And so went the Spring 2019 evening of Competition, Camaraderie and Charity in Detroit – the 74th event since the original was held in southern California in 2006.  The GM Design Studio is the closest to the track at Kart2Kart, which probably means they practice while the rest of us are working.  But the real winner for the evening was the Zero Prostate Cancer Charity that was the beneficiary of the $820 raised by the designers, sponsors and staff.


As people arrived, the evening started with some axe throwing in Kart2Kart’s new Faster Axes Room. Thankfully, no engineers were injured during the fun.

As racers arrived, many brought cars to enter the annual spring car show sponsored by the Middlecott Sketchbattle Championships.  The League now has three division with a Pro Division, a Team Competition featuring Design Schools competing head-to-head and Sketchbattle Jr, an education initiative developed to teach teenagers about sketching and the career opportunities design affords.IMG_2834

A range of vehicles from Porsche to Mini Cooper,  Mitsubishi to Subaru and Jaguar to Lotus were on display as design staff shared their weekday and weekend rides.  The best part of the show? The winning criteria is always secret, and any car (or truck) could win.

Judge Brook Banham decided the secret theme for this year’s car show was the vehicle he would most enjoy exploring Michigan’s UP with for the weekend. Chris Nichols’ Isuzu Vehicross was the slam dunk winner and Chris and Guest will enjoy VIP treatment at a future Sketchbattle of his choice.

After the car show and qualifying was completed, the food was served and the racers were split into groups based on their qualifying speed.

4 heat races were completed, starting with the D-Main and ending with the fastest of the fast, the A-Main.  In the D-Main Marcus Meredith of Rivian started on the pole but ended up 2nd. The winner was Sean Peterson of Ford who worked his way up from 4th on the grid.  Josh Blundo of Ford ended up 3rd.


In the C-Main Daniel Malm of Nissan led from start to finish. He was followed across the line by Alex Villa of FCA who started 5th and Trevor Losch of Ford who completed the podium.


The B-Main was won by Trebnton McMillon for Ford from the 4th place on the grid.  Second place was Matt Morgan of Toyota Calty and 3rd place was Andre Yanez of Nissan  who started dead last.

IMG_4152.jpgGM Team threw the gauntlet down by sweeping the podium in the A-Main, with Darby Barber wining from pole, followed across the line by Cristian Faolppa and Micah Jones.  Yours truly finished 4th.  I am pretty sure it was the 50th time in 74 events.

After the Heat Races were completed the drivers were split into teams for the Lacks Enduro.  In past years the teams were randomly assigned karts and starting spots, but this year it as decided to run the Fun Trikes to set the grid. Ford #1 grabbed the pole with a time of 1:19, followed by GM #2 with a 1:22 and GM #1 with a 1:23 lap times. Team Nissan/Toyota #2 blistered the field with a 1:16 but violated the “mno pushing” rule and had to start at the rear of the field.


In the end it did not matter as Nissan/Toyota #2 ended up on the top spot of the podium even though their lap times were mid-pack.  GM followed their A-Main heat race performance by filling out the podium.  GM #1 finished second and GM #3 finished third.


In the end their performance by filling 5 of the 6 podium spots allowed General Motors Design to take the title from defending champ Ford.  Nissan, FCA, Toyota and Rivian rounded out the finishing positions.IMG_4166

Title sponsor Lacks Enterprises has been a long time partner helping designers and studio staff raise over $10,000 for cancer charities over the past 10+ years.


This year’s charity, Zero Prostate Cancer is a nod to one of our regular guests (who shall remain unnamed) who is currently suffering from Prostate Cancer.

IMG_3817They were joined at this event by TA YIH Lighting as well as Middlecott Design who handle all the graphic design work for the event.

IMG_3821And the surprise of the evening was Trackalicious which donated a track event as a raffle prize.

IMG_3807We thank the sponsors, the guests who come race and donate, Kart2Kart and most importantly my staff, for helping the evening go off without a hitch.  Especially our great partners at Lacks Enterprises, who were there at the first event in Orange California back in 2006, and continue to support design and support staff pursue the goal of developing and producing great vehicles.


Here is a link to all the photos.


About Frank Schwartz

Frank Schwartz is the founder of and Advanced Automotive Consulting Services, partner in The Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment and serial entrepeneur. A long time automotive enthusiast, Frank started reading car magazines at the age of 8 and has spent 30+ years working inside the automotive industry. In his spare time Frank races with the Sports Car Club of America, spends time working on his numerous project cars and supports many local charities.
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