Lawn in 60 Seconds Puts Honda Racing Spirit to the Test
A group of Honda associates, supported by the Honda Young Professionals (HYP) Business Resource Group (BRG) at Honda Engineering North America (EGA) recently put Honda’s racing and Challenging Spirit to the test.
They competed in the Red Bull Soapbox event in Cincinnati Sept. 8. Of the hundreds of applicants, officials at Red Bull selected just 65 teams to take part in this year’s activities.
The goal: build a soapbox racer from scratch for the race that encourages creativity, imagination and a sense of competition. The HYP supported team, Lawn in 60 Seconds, was led by Team Captain Marty Scarpitti.
“As a long-time extreme sports fan, I’ve followed Red Bull and their events for quite some time. I was made aware that Red Bull was bringing the Soapbox race to Cincinnati by a fellow co-worker and extreme race aficionado, and we immediately decided we were going to do it,” he said. “The deadline to enter was just days away, so I quickly put together our race mower concept and submitted it.”
Then the true work began. Scarpitti built his team by having the 20+ associates interested in participating complete a survey that assessed their skills, abilities and resources. He assigned leaders to five critical areas.
He said, “My role at Honda has ingrained in me a belief that the sum of everyone’s efforts will be much greater than anyone’s effort alone, and that as a team we can accomplish something more significant than as individuals.”
The cumulative knowledge of the team based on their roles at Honda no doubt helped their design fast track its way to the top of the competition.
“Throughout the build process, a recurring theme was balancing what was ideal with what was realistic,” said Scarpitti.
The team had a limited budget but utilized their project planning skills in order to adhere to Red Bull’s dimensional limitations, weight limits and list of forbidden features.
Knowing that sending a single part to the machine shop could eat their entire budget, they were careful to design things they could build from commonly available materials using everyday tools.
However, the project provided the team an opportunity to work with a material outside their comfort zone as well. Despite having no previous experience, Lawn in 60 Seconds chose to construct the body shell from fiberglass, allowing them to produce the shape they desired while being lightweight, yet durable enough to withstand the course.
Scarpitti said ultimately, everything came together swimmingly, and the end result was a cart that received a continuous stream of positive attention.