My Story of getting an Engineering degree
My story of Race Engineering
It was 2005. And after a being in Australia for a year backpacking and doing “normal” stuff for a while. I was soul searching to find something else for a career. After a small depression where I found out that regular people don´t compete at work. Winning the race of adding broadband subscriptions into a database. By miles ahead of the competition (or co-workers as some like to call them) doesn’t grant you the eternal spotlight or money. It ends up in more piles of orders for you to do, and the victory ceremony done during one of our regular coffee breaks. With a smallest of claps and cheers, you can imagine.
Meanwhile, people were calling me. Asking me how my setup was? How could I drive so fast in the rain? How was your team organized? Can you help me during a test day? Can you set up my car for me? Finally, I cracked when they offered me money to go to the racetrack.
I was the worst prepared driver coach ever when I pulled up at Falkenberg Racetrack. I got out of the car and the weather was perfect 20 degrees Celsius, no wind. The track had a big race meet that weekend. Asphalt layered in the most beautiful black rubber, reflecting in the sunlight. The astonishing cocktail of brake pads, rubber and fuel flowed up my nose and tickled my soul. The melody of someone warming there gearbox and engine outside one of the pit boxes. I was home again.
The coaching was an absolute disaster, the team or should I say person running the team had (if possible) an even worse preparation for the test day. The fuel cans were empty. No setup table to check the corner-weights was there. No computer (which I should have brought in hindsight), was available to download data from the data-logger. But it was no problem since the data-logger itself was not in the car.
They had brought eight used tires to a full day of testing. The number of resources spent on preparation was zero and the driver got very little value for his money. In any case, my spirit for racing was once again like air flowing thru a turbo. I called the best team at that time and asked if they wanted some help and they said no. But on the week up to the next event their mechanic got sick and they called me to replace him.
Being no stranger to working in the garage but never on a race track I lied to get the opportunity. How hard can it be? The car had gone straight where there was a full-throttle right-hander in one of the fastest sections of the track. The steering rack had broken clean off. The driver was trying to steer but the car didn’t turn. So while we waited to hear if the driver was OK and to get our car back to inspect the damage. I knew that this was going to be one long night.
It was 3 am in the morning when we got our heads around all the damage, and had fixed the car so it was only fuel and proper setup on it missing. Our driver was OK but did not get clearance from the doctor to start, and the budget for the driver was now depleted. It was somewhere between 1 am and 2 am when I was fixing some of the small screw-holes under the floor of the car. I realized that a mechanic is not for me but Motorsport is.
Being more comfortable with driver coaching and setup work I did not have any theoretical knowledge. I had used my experience from my driving and the simulator I ran at home. So the next (might have been two since I was energy-drained) day I check what I needed to get a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
My Story as a racing driver
Like many, I started with karting back in 1988. I won the South National Championship in 1994 and 1996. I was 2nd in that championship but now with 100cc Intercontinental A class. In 1998 I graduated into Formula Ford 1600cc. With top rookie honors and in 1999 I was 3rd in both Swedish and Nordic Championship with several victories. In 2000 I went to Germany to race in the German Formula Ford Zetec Championship. finishing 3rd in the championship already in my first season. I competed in the Unofficial World Championship in Valencia in Formula Renault to cap of the year finishing 15th in my very first race.
One person that you might have heard of Felippe Massa won the championship that year. That was the prime of career and lots of offers were on the table ranging from Formula 3 to Indy Lights. Unfortunately, I ran into a person that was to fund my step into the higher categories. But instead turned out to be a compulsive liar. It took the most of time during that winter and in 2001 with a very tight budget.
I competed in the Scandinavian Formula Renault Championship with my dad as the mechanic. I managed to be on the podium 10 times and third in the championship. Once again some bad luck came my way with a rescission in the economy meaning no funding at all for 2002 and 2003. In 2004 I managed a deal with a new team to help them build their organization. And I once again competed in the 2004 Scandinavian Formula Renault Championship.
The season had its ups and downs, and when we finally got some speed in the car it was the last event of the season. I was on top of my game and did some of the best driving I had ever done. Taking pole position in the rain by over 1 second to the second best. Leading the first race in the dry but making a costly mistake to finish 3rd and in the second heat in the rain. I was unstoppable winning by a large margin. I knew from the hard work I put in during the times before and owning up to the fact that I didn’t have the right connections to pull off a Formula 3 budget. So I decided to hang up the helmet.