Team MotoIQ

Justin Banner

Hailing from Virginia, Justin Banner caught the speed-bug very early.  Growing up in rural of the Commonwealth, he was surrounded by the NASCAR influence, and although a fan, he knew there was MUCH more to racing than this. He had no idea how or when it would happen, but he knew racing would be his life. In 2006, Justin entered his first autocross event at the famed VIR in south-central VA. Although snow peppered the track throughout the event, and contending with wrecked and spun-out competitors, Justin finished in the top of his NASA group. From that event forward, at every autocross event he entered, competitors with more experience and better equipment marveled at the natural, raw driving talent he was able to display. In 2007, Justin entered his first drifting event, in a damage-riddled, worn out 1984 BMW 325e sedan that he had driven there. The results were more of the same, his competition encouraged him saying that with better equipment, THEY would not have stood a chance. One fateful July evening in 2007, "J.B.", as he is known to most friends, met Brent Fleenor, a sales rep with Nitro 2 Go energy Drink, who invited Justin to his radio show at WHAP1340 a.m. in Hopewell, VA. What was supposed to be a 15-minute promotional spot, ended-up being the start of a strong friendship AND the beginnings of Justin's own show at the network, "Motor Radio", which was one of the most popular automotive show's offered there. Although some think he has cracked, Justin Banner is now in the process of becoming "The Drifting Journalist," covering Formula Drift and the cars and stars of the series! Justin Banner also aspires to enter "The Baja" and eventually race in Rallycross, if all of this weren't enough, also build and help create new project vehicles for the MotoIQ Web-zine. MotoIQ has acquired a true-grit, take-no-prisoners competitor and automotive journalist that is Justin Banner, he will no doubt make his mark on the racing scene for years to come.

 

 

Dave Coleman

Dave Coleman was Engineering Editor for Sport Compact Car magazine from 1997 to 2005 where he wrote hundreds of fascinating, informative, in-depth technical articles, often containing facts, some of which are true.
Dave Coleman barely graduated from Harvey Mudd College with an engineering degree that involved a lot of math… all of which he has forgotten.
Dave Coleman has a PhD in Kicking Your Ass.
Dave Coleman is currently a vehicle development engineer at Mazda, where he does secret things he can't tell you about.
Dave Coleman won the California Rally Series 2WD championship in 2003.
Dave Coleman has won almost 50% of the rallies he has entered.
Dave Coleman has DNF'd almost 50% of the rallies he has entered.
Dave Coleman is watching you.
Dave Coleman considers himself personally responsible for bringing the WRX and EVO to the U.S., but nobody ever believes him.
Dave Coleman singlehandedly ruined the 240SX for all the cool kids who had them before he did.
Mike Kojima thinks Dave Coleman is pretty smart.
Dave Coleman vandalized an El Camino.
Dave Coleman has a clean driving record. (In Bucharest.)
Dave Coleman is off to eat Hickory Smoked Horse Buttholes… from a cup.

 

 

 

Dave

Khiem Dinh

Khiem started riding and crashing bicycles when he was four.  Because his father is a mad scientist, Khiem spent his elementary school years taking apart his toys and reading Popular Science and Popular Mechanics instead of comic books.  The middle school years were spent crashing bicycles even more, wrenching R/C cars together and getting burned with a soldering iron.  R/C cars taught him about vehicle dynamics, suspension, gearing, electronics, and led to an interest into real cars and reading Road & Track and Sport Compact Car.

Eventually, he came into possession of a 1996 Nissan 200SX SE-R leading down the same trail as much of the MotoIQ crew.  While studying Mechanical Engineering at the U. of Texas at Austin, he spent two summers interning with Ford Motor Company, dabbling in Formula SAE, and spending his excess income modifying his SE-R and tracking it.  He considers the money spent on the SE-R as his second bachelor’s degree in practical engineering.  At least that’s how he tries to rationalize all the money he spent on SE-R as he is still paying off the student loan money used on the car. 

After the BS, he wanted more punishment and went to the U. of Florida for a Masters.  Here, he started crashing motorcycles instead of bicycles.  Seriously though, he’s not that bad of a rider and occasionally serves as a driving instructor for Speed Ventures.  His day job now consists of working with parts that spin really really fast at Honeywell Turbo Technologies - which comes with the following legal babble:

"All statements expressed by Khiem Dinh are solely those of Khiem Dinh and not reflective of Honeywell Turbo Technologies."

 

 

Sarah Forst

Sarah Forst, AKA "The Queen of Questions," served as Nissan Performance Magazine's Tech Editor since its inception. As a child, Sarah preferred her skateboard, BMX bike and toy cars to dolls and other girly stuff. As a teenager, growing up in California's San Diego County, Sarah started her motorsports carrier as a street racing punk. This stopped when she was arrested for street racing. This experience made her interests turn towards the technical side of performance and real motorsports.

Although her educational and professional background is finance, Sarah has always been involved in the technical world of Nissan tuning, from serving on several pit crews to building her own 475+ horsepower turbocharged Sentra street terror and NX2000 road racer, and diligently and patiently answering Nissan tech questions every month for an audience of thousands.

Sarah has authored a book on Nissan Tuning, "How to build Performance Nissan Sport Compacts 1991-2006" with HP books.

 

 

Martin Gonzales

Martin Gonzales' unique balance of automotive experience and business smarts have led him to our MotoIQ team. His automotive roots were cultivated on the roads and race tracks of Southern California. Not only as a licensed racer with NASA, pilot in the 24 Hours of Lemons, but also as a test driver for various rental car companies...unofficially. Knowing motorsports don’t finance themselves, he has spent the better part of the last decade managing teams for marketing firms and financial institutions.

Since the first day he hit the tarmac he's known his true calling – to build and drive his creations at their limits. His dual-purpose street cars, dedicated race machines, writings and photography have made their way to web pages and motorsport magazines alike. We are lucky and excited to have a talent like Martin on our side as we strive to turn up the signal and quiet the noise. And yes, ours will go to 11!

 

My Mexican gardener 

Colin Holte

Colin spent his late teens and early 20’s reading and re-reading Sport Compact Car magazine. At one point he subscribed to the magazine but because it took longer for the issues to arrive by mail than he could get them at the news stand there is a 1 year period where he has duplicate issues of SCC. He stopped reading the magazine a few years prior to its demise as the magic was gone… perhaps not coincidentally so were Mike and Dave.

Fast forward a few years and MotoIQ went live. From just about the beginning Colin pestered the editors with spelling and grammar corrections. Eventually they relented and named him copy editor. He is enjoying this opportunity to contribute to MotoIQ’s success.

Colin is currently completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Cellular, Molecular and Microbiology at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia.
 

 

Colin Holte

Billy Johnson

Billy is an American professional race car driver competing in the Grand-Am Sport Car Series for Horsepower Ranch/Roush Racing's Ford Mustang GT as well as Time Attacks events (Redline and Super Lap Battle) in an assortment of cars -- Turbo NSX, Twin Turbo 350Z, R34GTR, and many more.

 

billy johnson

 

Mike Kojima

Mike Kojima has been working hard at blowing up and crashing stuff throughout his 27-year professional automotive career.  He has always had a passion for things mechanical from an early age.  As a small child Mike was adept at taking expensive things apart and not always being able to put them back together, much to his parent's dismay.  Some things never change, as an adult the things are now bigger and even more expensive.

Mike's professional automotive and motorsports engineering carrier has been wide and varied with stints as an engineer at Toyota Racing Development (TRD), Nissan North America and Nismo North America as well as Pep Boys.   Mike has also served as an engineering consultant for many performance parts manufactures. A prolific author Mike's writing can be found regularly in the pages of Sport Compact Car Magazine, Turbo Magazine where he was Engineering Editor, Honda Tuner, Import Tuner, Project Car and Grass Roots Motorsports magazine as well as several books for HP publications.

Mike holds or has held NASA, SCCA and IMSA racing licenses and has participated in just about every form of racing from BMX to autocross and has broken nearly every bone in his body.  Mike is also old, old enough to be one of the pioneers of the import performance scene at its birth in the 70's to the popularity it's enjoying now.

Mike is perhaps best known for his famous quote "do you want to go fast or do you want to suck"

 

 

 

Aaron LaBeau

Is the site administrator, database guru and janitor.  Claims have been made that his first actual words were turbo-charger.  In his early years he read every new car magazine he could get his hands on.  Csaba Csere and Tony Swan of Car & Driver have always entertained with their combination of humor and intelligent automotive words and continue to serve as inspiration to this day.

The path of automotive insanity started back in April of 1994 when Aaron purchased a 1993 Nissan Sentra SE-R and like his fellow colleagues here turbo-charged the bejeasus out of it thanks to Mike Kojima's over-persuasive suggestion of "do you want to go fast or suck?"

Although most of his time is spent sorting through programming languages, every once-in-awhile the boss lets Aaron take a break from the keyboard.  If you've read this far hit Alt-Tab for some relief, apple-Tab for you Mac users and you Linux hackers already know everything (wink).

    

 

Eric Hsu

Eric Hsu needs no introduction but we'll try to do one anyway.  One of the founders of XS Engineering, Eric is one of the greatest tuners in the industry. Eric is behind the scenes for many of the fastest cars in the Time Attack, Road Race, Drift and even Street world.  I have known Eric since he was probably 18 years old or something (he had hair then) but what struck me immediately was how smart he was, even at that young age.  Within minutes of meeting him, I somehow knew that he was going to be one of the best in the field.  Eric spent his early years as a pro at Apexi in Japan. After his stint at Apexi, Eric returned to the US to build XS Engineering into a performance powerhouse. Eric is currently an Engineer with Cosworth pushing the state of art even further.  Follow Eric's adventures in the world of racing performance and other things besides racing!

-Ed

 

 

Eric Hsu with hair!
Eric circa 1997 or so in Japan at Apexi.  He had hair then!  Apparently this is one of the only pictures of Eric in existence that he has possession of.

Jeff Naeyaert

Avoiding the torture of creative writing, Jeff fills the role of strategy/biz dev guy as well as photographer.  He brings considerable knowledge in online media from business development positions held at Fastclick, an online ad network acquired by ValueClick Media and Homestore.com (now Move, Inc.).  Prior to that Jeff was an investment banking analyst at Southwest Securities in Dallas, Texas.  Jeff's various "corporate" positions provided enough resources for him to build what was once considered the "Fastest Track Sentra in Existence" and more recently an LS1 powered FD RX-7. Jeff knows just enough about fabrication and auto mechanics to be dangerous, scoffs at the idea of paying someone else to wrench on his car and insists on doing all his own work—for better or often times worse.  His photography has graced the pages of Sport Compact Car Magazine, an HP Book and his website LocalsNight.com, an exposé of the nightlife and entertainment scene in Santa Barbara, California where he currently lives. 

Jeff holds a BS in Finance and Real Estate Finance from Southern Methodist University.  His favorite food is corn and his favorite color is green. Test Finite Element Analysis

 

 

Frank Orozco

Frank Orozco has been working with Internet technologies professionally for nearly ten years.  He received his degree in Computer Science from California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA and went on to lead and manage several successful teams of engineers in the real estate, banking and technology sectors.  Most recently he has managed a multi-million dollar, geographically distributed market expansion for the highly trafficked site, MySpace.com.

His love and infatuation with fast cars began at the age of 16, when he met his first love in the Nissan showroom.  Sitting on the marble tile was a 1995 Nissan 200SX SE-R.  Little did he know that the purchase he would make that day would shape the rest of his life.  Inspired by the SCC articles written in the late 90's (by the very authors who grace this website), Frank began building SE-Rs powered by countless bottles of nitrous oxide and bigger-than-your-face ball bearing turbos. 

 

 

Annie Sam

Annie Sam was the Motorsports Editor for Nissan Performance Magazine, having a monthly column for several years.

In her 2006 rookie season, she competed in the National Auto Sport Association's SE-R Cup series, winning a 3rd place podium finish. Although her passion will always lie in wheel to wheel racing, Annie as of late has been focusing on other various forms of racing and motorsports such as time trial and time attack events, high speed events such as the Bonneville Salt Flats events through the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association (USFRA), Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) and the Silver State Classic, and the prestigious 24 hours of LeMons.

Annie is a firm advocate against street racing, and is always proactive towards moving people off the streets and onto the track - where the real talent and competition lies. Aside from competition racing, Annie is a licensed NASA driving instructor, teaching beginner drivers the concepts of road course driving.

Annie is a graduate from California State University, Long Beach with a Degree in Finance and International Business and is currently a Financial Advisor with a Fortune 500 investment firm - which must remained unnamed on this website, because big brother is watching her.

Annie can usually be found under a car or playing with her animals, Auto, Hotrod, Stinky and Chuck.

 

 

Annie

Name: Chuck Johnson

Email: chuck@motoiq.com

Hometown: Noneya, CA

Cars: 1988 Nissan Sentra; 1992 Nissan 240SX; 2006 Nissan Titan; 1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R, Super Mario Spec

Favorite Nerd: Data from Goonies

Bio: Somewhere in the thousands of hours Chuck Johnson has spent wrenching on cars, he came to the conclusion that a gear head’s automotive experiences should extend beyond that of the garage floor.  Since then, Chuck has turned each of his projects into a means of experiencing some kind of new gear head adventure.  Fortunately for us, we can live vicariously through Chuck’s builds instead of blowing our own life savings on constructing a land speed record breaking 240SX or building a 400 plus horsepower Sentra to race the Silver State Classic Challenge. 

Chuck’s approach towards college and his career remained consistent with his perhaps skewed, gear head philosophy.  Chuck completed his Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology at CSULA with an emphasis in Power, Energy, and Transportation.  During his time at CSULA, Chuck was heavily involved in leading nerds, specifically the SAE student chapter and their competition Super Mileage team.  After graduation, Chuck abruptly, and perhaps irresponsibly, quit his job in aerospace to seek out his place in the automotive industry.  In the long run this would pay off.  He currently spends his days as a manager of engineering, leading some of the most talented technical teams and innovative product development projects in motorsports today.  Right or wrong, to Chuck, his passion for everything automotive is a way of life.

Name Steve Rockwood, aka "Hop Singh"

Email steve@motoiq.com

Hometown Whale's Vagina, aka San Diego

Cars Project G20 Racecar, Project Hypermiler, 2008 Nissan Xterra 4x4, 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 (with Cummins power), 2003 SR20DET-powered Dune Buggy, 1998 Nissan 200SX SE-R (462whp garage ornament)

Favorite Nerd Cameron Frye

Bio Baptized in oil at the ripe age of 18 months when he pulled a pan of used motor oil over his head, Steve has been nuts about cars since the first spark of memory showed up in his somewhat-self-aware brain.  Incapable of leaving anything alone for long, and firmly believing that all auto manufacturers make cars the way they are just to irritate him, Steve has spent the better part of the last 20 years in a car nerd’s version of Sisyphus and his ginormous rock. 

Car-related hobbies include wheel to wheel racing the never fast enough MPTCC #73 G20, drag racing his over-powered-beer-can-turned-garage-ornament SE-R, taking his Nissan-powered dune buggy off of some sweet jumps, and exploring the few back woods trails of Southern California that haven’t been cordoned off by enviro-nazis. 

With his pedantic vocabulary, abrasive personality, and inclination towards vehicular self-torture (who else buys an SE-R on purpose?), Steve has little choice but to be a car nerd and hopes to remain a contributor to the MotoIQ Nerd Alliance for at least the next 20 or 30 minutes.

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