Subaru and Innovation
A few days ago, I visited a Subaru facility in Lake Zurich, Illinois. It was different from other Subaru locations I've seen the past few years. This facility doesn't deal with Impreza, Legacy, Outback, Forester, or Tribeca vehicles. Instead, its focus is on engines, which range from one-cylinder micro engines to V-twins.
These engines are installed in generators, lawn mowers, snowblowers, and all kinds of power tools.
Robin turns out 1.2 million of these engines per year!
The impressive thing isn't so much the number of engines, but their designs. In a universe of overhead-valve engines, Subaru offers one-cylinder engines with an overhead-camshaft (OHC) design. While Subaru didn't invent the OHC concept, the design's application to industrial engines is unusual and innovative. It also has a number of benefits over the overhead-valve design that its competitors use.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The Subaru Drive website will have more on Robin engines when the Spring 2011 issue is posted online (www.drive.subaru.com) at the beginning of April. Look for the Robin engines article in the carousel!
Welcome to the Internet, Bret Spaude
First, who's Bret Spaude?
Subaru Road Racing Team (SRRT) fans know that Bret Spaude co-drives the SRRT #35 Subaru WRX STI along with Andrew Aquilante in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge GS Class. Spaude is in his second year with the team. He lives in Florida, and he came to the team with experience from karting and the SCCA.
Second, I should let Bret Spaude fill in all that (and more), and he does so on his new website: www.bretspaude.com.
This is from a press release announcing the new site: "Having my own site up is something that I’ve been wanting to get accomplished for some time now," said Spaude ... "My management team at P1 Groupe have stressed how important that relationship with my fans can be as my career continues to develop, and has already set me up with my Facebook and Twitter fan pages. I’m really looking forward to a strong 2011 season both on and off the race track."
Another site that will keep you current with Bret Spaude and SRRT is www.subaruroadracingteam.com.
Better yet, go out and meet the team. It races next at Barber Motorsports Park, Leeds, Alabama, April 8-9.
-- Ric Hawthorne