The wave of the future for sports cars is upon us in terms of fuel consumption and even automotive terminology. As the summit in Copenhagen gathers thousands of delegates and officials to throw around ideas on how to save the earth all the while being shuttled around in over 1200+ limos, there are companies like Tesla Motors that are actually developing the latest trends in automotive technology using electric propulsion. I recently applied for a position with Tesla at their newly-constructed Boulder, CO, location as a Service Manager. As a self-professed car guy I had other underlying motives for this move beyond just the opportunity to work for one of the best up and coming technological corporations in the world. So the question looms, Whats a car guy? There are many definitions, but for me it is someone who wishes there would be a ringertone for my cell phone that sounded like a Ferrari V12 exhaust note, could buy an energy drink that tasted like 112 octane race gas and had an air freshener that smelled like Hoosier race tires. So why would I have any interest in working for a company that produces vehicles with no exhaust note and runs on battery power? Simple. Theyre faster than a Porsche 911, handle like a Lotus Elise and they're more than capable of embarrassing my competition that drives the high horsepower Chevrolet C5 Corvettes, which I currently enjoy doing with the Sports Car Club of America Solo community driving my little 2400-lb. 2007 Mazda MX5.
I am currently a service manager of an independent garage in Austin, TX, where we service vehicles of all makes and models, and work with customers of all ages, shapes and sizes. As much as we love working on the dime-a-dozen Ford F150 and the soccer-mom Honda Odyssey, car guys do crave new technology and speed. Every so often well service a Porsche, or perform an alignment on a few Honda S2000s but most cars are still just combustion engines surrounded by nuts and bolts. We do see a handful of Tesla Roadsters driving around the streets of Austin. These cars are, after all, not limited to the Bay Area. Austinis the Silicone-Valley of the Southwest and our Techie CEO geeks must emulate the proper stereotype by being seen in the latest high-tech piece of engineering on wheels. So how do these Tesla Roadsters get serviced when in need of repairs? Tesla will fly out a technician to work on the car and then fly them back home to Tesla! Also gone are the days full of quickie lube oil changeson a 200-degree engine where hot boiling oil drips down your arm. What a great company!
Working with Tesla in Boulder, CO, would give me the best opportunity to develop a 2010 Roadster Sport for SCCA Solo competition which is thriving in the Denver area ideally located in the center of the U.S. with easy access to all the major SCCA National Tours and Pro Solo competitions. I did say, after all, that I had underlying motives for wanting to work with Tesla. The idea of being able to line up a 2010 Tesla Roadster at the Christmas tree lights of a Pro Solo next to a highly modified 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and then out-launching him to the 200 ft. mark before carving the rest of the course makes me salivate like Pavlov's dog. The Toyota-powered 2.2L 4-cylinder Lotus Elise already has the reputation of giving Z06 owners absolute fits, so the opportunity to do the same in a car that makes virtually no noise except for the squeal of hot tires would have them running to their local Toyota dealerships and turning over their keys in trade for Prius Hybrids and taking up crochet as their newest hobby. Not that theres anything wrong with that. Ok, that probably wont happen, but thats how I envision it going down and proper motivation is one the keys to successful racing. Who knows, they may even turn a grease-monkey gearhead into a green thumb by trading in the gas guzzling big block for a 2010 Tesla Roadster Sport of their own.
A few days after my phone interview with Tesla Motors, I learned that I didnt get the job after all. All in all it works out for the best since mayhem would have ensued within the ranks of SCCA as there would be a mad rush to re-classify all the cars in the same class as the Roadster Sport and SCCA clubs would shut down because of the increased price of entry to be the new top dog. Whats worse is that the very definition of a car guy would have to be changed dramatically as the purist big block owners would never give in to a 12-second quarter mile car that didnt require ear plugs at the starting line. Who wants to live in Boulder, CO, anyways with all that snow and skiing?