Sponsorship guru: a contract-clincher like no other

Sponsorship guru: a contract-clincher like no other

By Martha Maglone: Zak Brown briefly attended the opening of this year’s Auto Sport International show in Birmingham, England. The traditional curtain-raiser of the international motor racing season, it was formerly known as the Racing Car Show and, held annually, has been running since the 1960s. Brown, a 45-year old Californian, is known as the man with the magic touch. This Formula One sponsorship guru has sealed deals that have shaped motor racing worldwide. So successful and so well connected, he was tipped to succeed the most influential man in motor sport, Bernie Ecclestone. Born in Los Angeles, Brown arrived in England almost penniless, just sufficient funds to buy tuition at the Jim Russell Racing School at the Leicestershire venue Donington Park near Derby. Under the tutelage of Richard Dean, an adept, former F3000 racer, the nineteen-year old Brown proclaimed at the end of the week he wanted to be a professional racing driver and live in England and said to Dean, “Can I stay with you for a couple of nights?” Who would have known that this relationship would endure and thrive and that Brown would go on to attract business connections that would make your mouth water. He formed JMI, Just Marketing International the world’s largest motor sport marketing agency and is widely credited with the highest profile deals, attracting the most new-money sponsors in the F1 paddock. Bizarrely, he didn’t attend college, “I’m not sure I could even spell it,” says Brown. “The business came out of a necessity to make a living because I wasn’t making a good living as a driver. The business came...
Balance of Power

Balance of Power

Harmonic Balancer Types and Tech. It’s easy to underestimate the cost of a deficient harmonic balancer. But they can have a profound effect on the fortunes of the able race engine—a natural enemy of crank and bearings. With the engine running, camshafts and crankshafts vibrate torsionally (in twist) and, as the saying goes, for every action there’s a reaction. Camshafts are affected by the forces related to the opening and closing of the valves while crankshafts by the combustion events. Each time the cylinders fire, torque is imparted to the crank, causing deflections—twisting it as much as 2 degrees. All of this partially complicates the timing of the valve openings as well as the cam and ignition timing to say nothing of the oppressive conditions in which the crank operates. Read the full story courtesy of Engine Masters...
Garlits talks tire shake…

Garlits talks tire shake…

with Prudhomme, Austin Coil, Mongoose… “In my heyday, to deliver the perfect drag racing run we raced a very fine line,” asserts Don Garlits. “If you had the exact right size tire for the weight of the vehicle and the clutch set exactly right for the horsepower of the vehicle and a track surface compatible with the combination, you could make a perfect run. But if the tire is too big it will shake. Read the full story courtesy of Drag Racer...
Steering pump creator: Ken Roper

Steering pump creator: Ken Roper

By Fergus Ogilvy: The annual PRI exhibition in Indianapolis provides valuable time to catch up with old friends. It also offers particularly good opportunities to tap into the productive minds of our industry’s designers and problem solvers. You’ll see their familiar faces peak out from their booths among the surge of racers in the corridors. I’m particularly interested in those whose work is not always predictable—those who tend to ignore boundaries, odd ducks often given to the unexpected. Some have sunny dispositions while others can be dour or aloof. Some are self-absorbed, some chronic complainers and a few irascible. But all are characterized by a keen sense of observation, ingenuity and persistence. Their products are brilliantly conceived—some just sitting there quietly on a show table hitherto unseen and unheralded—ready to rise from obscurity. “Look,” says Ken Roper, with youthful enthusiasm, “this 10-rib pulley belt system transforms the Dirt Late Model’s durability.” These cars, as we know, operate in thick dust and dirt and this example had run 1,500 laps on a Super Late  Model. “It looks immaculate—have you encountered better?” A retrospective of Roper’s work always fascinates. In 1985 at age 33, the father of a 14-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter, Roper had served the telephone company Southern Bell and AT&T for 15 years when an ultimatum came: move to Miami. But Southern boys with dirt track racing settled in their minds have a deep attachment to home turf and little interest in moving from the domain they know. So instead he accepted his $18,000 severance compensation and developed his first company, Fast Lane Racing Equipment. Based in Woodstock,...