As a teenager in the late '60's I bought a VW Beetle and hot rodded it into a dune buggy then into a Baja Bug, then built a purpose-built sand buggy. By the early '80's that morphed into Off Road racing in the SCORE and HDRA series in Class 10 with Greg Aronson of Fat Performance, starting 42 races, winning 12 races and the points title in '87. When Greg and I stopped desert racing, I took a few years off then went to Porsche Club, SCCA and NASA racing in the early '90's where I met Johannes and Tom van Overbeek. Over that time (through 1999) I won 18 races around the country. In 2000 I became a full-time engineer for Johannes in World Challenge GT with a Porsche 996 GT3 Cup car for two years and that led to 10 years as Chief Engineer for Flying Lizard Motorsports which included 102 races including many runs of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, 8 runs of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and all the races in between, winning three championships. Until engineering at Flying Lizard I did all the work on the cars myself because I enjoyed it - and I had just barely enough money to race as it was.
During the late '70's and early '80's I got a degree in Manufacturing Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, worked an Office Space type job at HP for a few years (though I did learn a ton), had two sons, and starting riding a bicycles. When I moved to the pro-level of racing, I still tried to keep up with the activities of racing at the Club level because that's where I came from and have always enjoyed it.
I started designed my own tools and products in the later '80's. I designed the SmartCamber gauge about 26 years ago, then SmartStrings a few years later, to perform precise alignments in my garage at home. It became too troublesome to make a change to my car at home, then take it to the alignment shop in the morning, work all day, then bust my ass to get back there before they closed and so on - too much stress. Slowly people saw them and wanted a set and so I redesigned them so they were completely universal, usable on virtually any car, anywhere - later I did another full redesign with Jerry Woods. The resulting design was pretty effective, and over the years SmartStrings has developed a broad following; from home use, to dealerships using them to confirm calibration of their high-dollar alignment racks, to track days such as Hooked on Driving, to professional racing. And yes, when I was the chief engineer at Flying Lizard all those years we used both gauges.
When I retired from Flying Lizard, I went back club racing in an older 911 and started writing the book about my mentor and friend Roland Kussmaul.
Pete Stout introduced me to Richard Baron, the book designer. You can read about Richard below.
About the Designer
Book designer Richard Baron has a lifelong passion for all things automotive, and has an extensive background in automotive publishing. A veteran of Road & Track magazine, he worked for over three decades as Design Director, in molding and shaping the visual look and feel of the iconic automotive enthusiast magazine. He is currently working as a freelance creative director, and some of his recent work includes magazine art direction for Porsche Panorama magazine and Cycle World Travel & Adventure magazine; book design for Riverside International Raceway by Pete Lyons; and a variety of other work including multiple magazine re-design projects, iPad app publishing, and storyboard treatments for television commercials.