Considering the fact that you listen to Jim and Robin jabber on about all things Formula 1 for an hour after every race, it’s only fair to know what these guys are all about. So we’d like to formally introduce, Jim Lau and Robin Warner…
Since childhood, the Ann Arbor, Michigan native has taken an interest in all things electronic; most notably computers. Jim quickly became the resident computer expert for all of his friends and family, and as a junior in high school, co-founded a successful website design and management company that he is still involved with today.
After graduating from high school and managing the website company for a few years, Jim returned to school to pursue a degree in Computer Science. Through a good friend (Robin), he found an opportunity for part-time work at Car and Driver Magazine and after impressing everyone there with a stellar work ethic and stout technical aptitude, a C+D editor recommended Jim for a new position at the fledgling VBOX USA working with speed and distance measurement equipment.
Jim has been at VBOX USA since August of 2005, and is now Technical Director. In his current position Jim flies all over North America to support VBOX GPS systems in anything from Porsches to Mining trucks, from crash tests to ALMS prototypes. If you need data collected and have a clear view of the sky, you need Jim Lau.
Coinciding with Jim’s love of computers was his love of Toyotas. His first car was a 1988 Corolla with a 3-speed automatic. After a brief stint with a Civic hatchback that including autocrossing on a frozen lake, he wound up the owner of a fine 1988 Celica All-Trac Turbo. The car would eventually spin a rod bearing and Jim, with the help of his professional mechanic older brother, tore down and rebuilt the engine and turbo in his parents’ shed. The process took 399 days in total but gave him some hands-on knowledge that augmented the high-tech skills well. After selling the rebuilt Celica he owned various other Toyotas and Scions, and currently drives a slightly modified MINI Cooper S. Jim’s love of Toyota stems from his love of technology and cutting edge design, exactly the same things that drew him to Formula 1. Great engineering excites Jim as much as great racing.
Robin Warner grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan near enough to the Motor City for him to instantly catch the gear-head (U.K. translation: petrol-head) bug. By the age of eighteen, Robin had already owned six cars (1979 Chevy Camaro, 1977 Oldsmobile sedan, 1979 Ford Fiesta, 1982 Mazda RX-7, 1984 Mazda RX-7, 1989 Acura Integra), belonged to a SCCA Pro-Rally team, and autocrossed his Integra.
After starting college to obtain his Mechanical Engineering degree, he got a job as a “road warrior” (read errand runner) for Car and Driver magazine. At the age of 21, Robin took the plunge and purchased a Birel go-kart and started racing across the Midwest. Two years later he possessed several winner trophies, three class championships (Michigan Rotax-Max champion 2001, 2002; Great Lakes Sprint Series Class Champion, Rotax-Max 2002) and a desire to pursue racing further. After negotiations with Car and Driver and Skip Barber Racing School, Robin signed up to race in the 2003 Skip Barber Formula Dodge Midwest Championship and write about his experiences in the Magazine. 14 races later, with several top-ten, and a few top-five finishes, Robin wrote the following feature article for Car and Driver: Chasing the Dream (2003 Season). Robin continued to race on his own dime into the winter, adding a pole-position and more strong finishes to his resume. And despite being several thousands of dollars in debt Robin managed another writing deal to compete, and write about racing in the 2004 Skip Barber National Championship. To read about it Chasing the Dream (2004 Season). This championship didn’t go as well, long story short, at the end Robin was $60,000 in debt and hence, unable to race.
Despite the big setback, Robin moved forward. His new talent facilitated a promotion to Assistant Technical Editor at the magazine; a position which included, writing reviews, attending press trips and performance testing some of the fastest production cars in the market; a dream job. Robin also resumed progress towards his Mechanical Engineering degree, graduating in April of 2006. With the education, he received another promotion to Associate Technical Editor.
In early 2007, Robin shocked most everybody by quitting his job at the magazine to become a Systems Calibration Engineer at TRW Automotive, a Tier One supplier of slip-control systems, where he worked as a traction and stability control calibrator on several programs including the 2010-2012 Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Volt. Robin continued his engineering career at Ford Motor Company, becoming a vehicle dynamics engineer in March of 2011.
In the summer of 2012, Robin made a move back to Automotive Journalism, becoming the Road Test Editor for Road & Track Magazine. There he functions as chief test driver, manages the vehicle fleet, and reviews cars.