by Chuck Johnson
Photos by Joe Lu
I’ve put together a lot of cool project cars over the years and would like to think that with each one, I push the envelope a little bit further and get a little better at what I’m doing. I’ve learned a lot from building racecars and a good portion of that learning in most recent years I’d say, is far beyond that of just turning a wrench.
Done right, the lessons learned in building and campaigning a racecar parallels that of a Master’s degree in Business Administration. A proper racecar build will include lessons across a wide breadth of disciplines ranging from finance and project management to team leadership and marketing. The final item on that that abbreviated list “marketing”, has been the most significant area of concentration for me this time around.
The time and money spent on the livery of MotoIQ Project 240SX Land Speed Racer or any racecar for that matter is all about marketing. And good marketing is essential in any successful racecar campaign.
To compliment the fresh paint and livery, we had the roof rails powdercoated candy apple red with speckles of “stripper glitter” by Specialized Coatings in Huntington Beach, CA. It’s all in the details!
I had the pleasure of hearing Jay Rodgers, co-founder of Local Motors, speak at a SEMA conference once. During his presentation on product development, Jay stated “No one person is smart enough or rich enough to go at it alone.”
There are many different ways to interpret Jay’s powerful statement, but to me it meant to build great things, it was essential for me to create relationships and nurture them into strong partnerships. So that’s what I did.
Alone, a task like building a record breaking, 200 MPH car would be virtually impossible. Fortunately, I have a ragtag team of volunteers like Stephen Quinn of Internal Affairs and John Kuchta of Specialty Cars Fab to help turn wrenches.
There’s not much JDM about Project 240SX LSR, except for these Kouki tailights we sourced from Nissan Motorsports. They add a little bit of sex appeal and in my eyes, are worth every penny.
Just like any well run company, the members of my ragtag team bring a diverse range of talents to the table. For example, Joe Lu who serves as my photographer and my supportive wife Annie Sam, who keeps the finances straight along with my head. These are examples of absolutely essential partnerships. However, it is equally critical in the execution of my record breaking goal, to engage the industry and build partnerships with different companies. So that’s what I did.
Fortunately, to execute on this necessity, I have MotoIQ team members like Martin Gonzales and Mike Kojima behind me. These guys essentially function as Project 240SX Land Speed Racer’s marketing department, approaching different companies and beginning those critical relationships.
Once those relationships are formed, I see it as my job to execute on the value proposition and delight our partners by providing them with strong, measurable results.
It’s a shame that most people will never be able to really appreciate what’s hidden under the skin of Project 240SX LSR. Mainly, the powder coated subframes and pure awesomeness of KW and SPL suspension components.
The most common misconception about sponsorships is that you get a part for free. Nothing, absolutely nothing in sponsorship is free though. If correctly executed, the company that gives you “XYZ” part should at absolute minimum, get the value of XYZ part back in terms of exposure. In theory, this exposure should result in sales of that particular product and measurable gain in said company’s bottom line. The writing and photography you see here are just a couple of the tools we use to ensure that return to our partners.
That’s not the end though. MotoIQ is not just about jotting down a few nice words and taking a few artistic photos of a company’s product. What separates us from those other guys is we aim to get measureable results using our partners’ products. Hence, the goal of setting a land speed record. This is one form of a measurable result.
Art Yang of RAYD Workshop worked with us to develop Project 240SX LSR’s Nismo Super GT inspired livery design. Art spends his days as a freelance graphic designer working for numerous aftermarket performance companies.
Personally, my goal is to build the cars that those other guys “hunt.” The greater the strength of a racecar’s visual appeal combined with the significance of its accomplishments, the more exposure it will get. The more exposure that the racecar receives, the more exposure our partners receive. This is the kind of win-win relationship I’m looking for.
In this game, only Dave Coleman can have an all primered car and make it look good. The rest of us mere mortals have to try harder.
This is an example of how not to represent your partners well. I swore I would never be the guy who showed up in a flat black, primered out car like we did at Speed Week last year. The only thing that is worse though, is not showing up at all. Ugly, yet proven fast is still better than just plain ugly.
Project 240 LSR was in pretty rough shape when we first brought her home. Our friend, Omar Cornejo, did most of the prep work before we had it painted.
Admittedly, a paint job combined with the addition of livery can cost a pretty penny. Though, my hypothesis is that both paint and livery should be viewed as a marketing expense or a means to an end. In other words, if properly leveraged, paint and livery should pay for themselves. In the case of Project Land Speed Racer, it clearly has.
Once painted Imola red, the installation of Project 240SX Land Speed Racer’s livery was professionally executed by270X and Garage Graphics in Huntington Beach, California.
From the extensive “roll call” of companies listed on Project 240SX Land Speed Racer 240SX, we’ve obviously been busy securing some pretty strong partners. As a result, we have a pretty cool list of parts to feature in upcoming months. Perhaps my hypothesis can now be considered a theory since it has been successfully demonstrated? Regardless, we have some exciting things coming up this year.
Sharing the same name as the racing circuit in Italy where Ayrton Senna met a tragic end, BMW “Imola” red has some interesting ties with motorsport’s history.
Amongst some of the upcoming build features, will be a new turbo system featuring components from Borg Warner, Turbo Smart, and Full Race Motorsports. We’ll also be covering the build of a trick, rather unorthodox engine designed by yours truly and brought to fruition by Nick Hunter of 5523 Motorsports.
Before all that though, we are going to play a quick game of catch up and fill you in on the “Hail Mary” build story behind last year’s adventure to Bonneville.
Stay tuned, 2013 is going to be epic!