Had a very relaxing holiday break, lots of time with family, and a little travel, it was great to disconnect for a little bit, reflect, and plan the new year.
Driving – Rally, Spec MX5, TC, and GT4 in short, I am going to get a bunch of seat time in a bunch of different cars, I am going to sign up for Rally Ready Driving School, I am building a Spec MX5 and plan to run that in a bunch of different series, and will see if I can rent a seat in one of the new Honda TC cars, and find a ride in a GT4 car (ideally a Porsche).
Startup – 30 Customers, find a Co-Founder, working on both have a really exciting opportunity that will hopefully land, and have started talking to potential people that I can share the business, and workload with, I am really looking forward to it!
Health – Cut (Half), Body Composition, I almost hit my goal of cutting myself in half before the new year, when I started my weight loss journey with OptiFast I weighed in at 330Lbs, I am now 170Lbs, and am on pace to get to 165Lbs (or half my body weight) over the next month. From there I will focus on my body fat percentage, and work on my body composition.
Looking forward to a hopefully relaxing week, spending time with my family, and working on pushing some of my projects forward. Here are some of the things I have on my list.
Road Surface Detection I have been working on a real-time AI/ML solution for predicting coefficient of friction based on the input from an optical camera. I am using an NVIDIA Jetson Xavier AGX (thank you ADLinkTech) , I have trained a SSD_mobilenet, and but would like to see if I can get some better performance (lower latency), and improved accuracy, so I am porting it over to the Google Cloud AutoML Vision Edge, this will allow me to test a bunch of different ML models automatically without having to run it through my ML pipeline based on Kubeflow, I am excited to see the results.
CAN bus CDDS, and FogLamp Part of the solution I have been developing uses CAN bus data to do validation, and verification. I’ve been using FogLamp to help manage the data streams, as part of this solution, I am going to continue work with Eclipse Cyclone DDS, and the ROS2 implementation, the plan is to get all of the sensor data from CAN bus to CDDS, then use FogLamp to send everything northbound.
Simulation Environments A lot of my testing happens in simulation, I started out with IPG which I am very happy with in terms of performance, and accuracy, however, I like to keep my options open, and have been working on porting my base model to the Simulink Vehicle Dynamics Blockset, while I was at it I decide to survey the landscape a bit more, and see what other platforms are available, it looks like some of the game engines are starting to provide robust simulation environments, so I am also testing Unity3d Simulation.
Spec MX5 Going to start working on the build sheet for my spec MX5, found a really nice donor down in San Antonio. I am going to drive her as a street car for a couple more weeks, hoping to get out to Harris Hill Raceway once or twice, to work on my heel-toe.
The plan for 2020 is to get a lot more track time. I need to work on my technique. Over the last two years with my GTB1, I have only been driving practice sessions, and races. I am looking to see if I can find the holy grail, a completely race ready car that is streetable, probably too much to ask. I want to be able to drive down to Harris Hill, COTA, Driveway, MSR Houston, or Cresson do DE’s or work with an instructor, then drop off the car to do an arrive/drive for long distance races. I want something that has a clear class definition with all of the sanctioning bodies (SCCA, NASA, WRL, AER). Additionally, I am interested in learning the racecraft associated with running in a Spec class. The GTB1 class I have been running with in PCA is a modified class, and can feel a bit like an arms race.
So far my research has led me to two possible choices, which have similar price points, and are philosophically aligned to my goals: Spec MX-5, and Spec E46. Both have reasonable price points both in terms of the up-front cost, and TCO. Both are well defined, with lots of cars on the market. So part of the decision will be build vs buy. I am leaning toward my previous approach which was to buy something proven.
Along side the desire to go Spec racing, and have a streetable track car, I am also going to pursue renting a seat in a couple different classes within the SRO, or possibly even the upcoming Creventic 24hour race here in Austin. There seem to be a number of seats available in TC, TCR, or GT4 cars. I am interested in learning how to drive a touring car, there might be a good opportunity for this, more to come on this topic at a later date.
The GT4 program that Danny, and I were planning is not going to happen, we could not close the funding gap, which was significant. Here are a few stats on what we were able to accomplish between Jun, and Oct of this year. We prospected over 125 opportunities, of that number we disqualified 35 (with the goal of: “get to no, fast”). We closed contracts with 10 partners, and have an additional 3 contracts pending, we progressed 17 deals into contract/negotiation, and built a number of very strong partnerships along the way. These partnership will bear fruit over the course of 2020.
Our goal was a 1-2% conversation rate on 1000 opportunities, at just slightly over 10% of the total opportunities prospected our conversion rate was 12.5%, not too bad. The real challenge was prioritization. I have a full-time job, a start-up, a family, racing, and my health. Adding the sponsorship/partnership activity on top of all that was very challenging from a time management perspective. I am happy with what we accomplished, and learned a lot about the business side of motorsports. I plan to continue down a more focused path for 2020.
I had the extreme pleasure of being the novice coach this week for the SCCA’s Track Night in America Program thank you very much to the incredible Courtney Rivers, who is now serving as the event manager for the southwest region, she did back-to-back MSR Cresson, Harris Hill Raceway, and then NOLA all in one week, impressive! We had a full house out there with 25 cars in the novice group, really good guys, having fun in their cool cars. I had a blast, can’t wait until the next one, on May 9th Here is the group that I coached out on track at Harris Hill.
There are events all over the country for many of the SCCA regions, more details here
Busy couple of weeks, I am working to get everything together for my next race, tie up loose ends from my previous outing, see if I can get a couple sponsors, and just generally have a lot of “irons in the fire”. Got a chance to get out with the amazing team at Longhorn Racing Academy last week, my parents, and the TPWS crew, came out, it was a blast. This post is going to be me getting my thoughts organized, and trying to get it all written down.
Need to order another set of tires from Frisby I want to use my contingency certificates
Need to follow-up and get the order in.
I booked my travel, need to get it organized for Chris, and LeAnn, who are coming with
Have to find a panel van/transporter for rent so we can keep all the tools, wheels/tires, and everything stored at the track.
Need to get racing fuel 101, or better delivered to the track.
Have to find a carrier to move the car, and all of our equipment (fuel bottles, wheels/tires, and tools (jacks, stands, wrenches, etc..)
Have to get the outer rim on one of my wheels replaced, and installed
Need to get with Wrap Dynamics, get the new sponsor logos printed, and put on the car
Getting a couple sponsors
I want to get a marketing campaign going with Longhorn Racing Academy, that tells my story, and shows the journey that others could take, something along the lines of a here are our Graduates: I started with them doing one of their exotic driving experiences, I then attended one of the HPDE’s that they organized, following that I purchased one of their cars :-), I then started taking lessons with Courtney, doing DE’s with PCA, went to Driveway Austin, I joined SCCA, and started going to Track Night in America, drove/drove/drove, took the courses at Porsche Sport Driving School got my PCA license, bought a racecar, and ran my first race at Circuit of the Americas this last month.
The other story that I have is the one regarding my health, I decided in October of 2017 that I wanted to get serious about the racing, and was determined to be competitive, and enjoy myself, so I started a very tough diet (liquids only, 800 Calories a day), and workout regimen. Over the course of the last 6 months, I have lost 94Lbs, I have 6Lbs more to go, and I will be transitioning back to solid foods. I would like to tell this story with the help of my doctor, and the team at Oak Hill Wellness Clinic and involve Nestle Health Sciences.
I want to find someone with experience writing to help me get a bio together, and start putting together my marketing package, as I approach this campaign, I want to provide my expertise around marketing data analysis, with all of the tooling.
Lastly, I am super excited to have had Chris from TPWS drive the car, would love to get him his license so we can start working toward a two-man enduro format, here is his video:
I just completed the Porsche Sports Driving School Masters RS course this week, did the Masters course last week (Masters). I have completed the certificate of compliance which, will allow me to apply for a competition license, next step PCA Club Racing. Hurley Haywood was there for all three days, and is the Chief Driving Instructor for the school, what an amazing experience to work with Hurley, and all the other instructors including Cass Whitehead and others. I particularly enjoyed working with John Lewis who helped us do data analysis between sessions, ridiculously insightful, his approach, and instruction were unforgettable. We got to drive a variety of cars which really made me focus on adapting my driving style. We drove the Boxster (PDK), and Cayman (Manual) 718S, the Carrera GTS (PDK/Manual), the 911 TurboS, and the GT3RS. The GT3RS made me feel very confident, overall my fastest recorded lap times, were predictably in the TurboS.
They had most of the cars outfitted with Race Keeper HDX2 systems, I have all of the video, and data uploaded, here on my youtube channel in one playlist. Below is my hot lap in the TurboS, I put down a 1:42, which is not too shabby.