In a move that underscores their aggressive desire to win an unprecedented 10th NHRA AA/Funny Car Points Title, John Force Racing has procured the exclusive engineering services of Tim Gibson for the Year 2000 season. In 1999, John Force claimed his 9th Funny Car Championship most convincingly, a feat which apparently has only whet his passion for more domination.
Enter Gibson. The one year contract calls for Gibson to do in-house, proprietary "funny car development," i.e., enhance the aerodynamic flow and effects of the 2000 Mustangs used by both Force and team co-driver, Tony Pedregon, as well as a third r&d "flopper." All bodies will be manufactured by Jack Rousch Racing in accordance to "Techno Tim's" specifications, with minimal changes applied to bodies already produced, but with further enhancements applied to coupes currently in production by Rousch with a scheduled April, 2000 delivery.
Gibson, a graduate from UCLA in 1990 with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering, had been recently employed by a variety of Funny Car teams to engineer more downforce out of the GM Firebird and Camaro body styles, changes which will take effect in the upcoming season. Ironically, as an employee of Force, Gibson now has to out-engineer some of his own work by squeezing more downforce out of the Ford Mustang styles utilized by both John Force's Castrol GTX "Hound Dog" machine as well as Pedregon's Castrol SYNTEC AA/Funny Car.
What made Force's offer particularly attractive to Gibson was the team's reputation for perfection as well as its zeal for conquest. "Force has put together a family of extremely talented, highly motivated people," Gibson said in reference to a bodacious braintrust that includes Austin Coil, Bernie Fedderly and John Medlen, "What I am interested in is this family that Force has put together--it knows how to win. Whatever chemistry or intangibles are included in that (process), that is what I want to be involved in."
"In the last two or three years, by a sizeable margin he probably has more time in the wind tunnel than anybody," is how Coil summed up Gibson's contribution to the team. "He's also experienced in dealing with the NHRA's Rules Committees, which is very important as well.
"There are some changes within the parameters of the rules that Tim believes will be beneficial," Coil continued. "We're willing to gamble on that."
In an interesting juxtapositions of backgrounds, Coil, Fedderly and Medlen are all graduates of the school of hard knocks, while Gibson will be the sole, bonafide "collich boy" engineer under Force's employ. Nonetheless, in reference to an intellectual and engineering quid pro quo, Gibson said he welcomes the opportunity to not only pick the brains of some of the finest minds in drag racing, and that he also hopes to soak up some drag strip knowledge via osmosis. "There is something there that is beyond just racing," he said.
This does indeed cut both ways, Coil states. "By no means do we intend to use Tim for just aero projects. We intend to use him for a variety of engineering jobs." Gibson, who in addition to his engineering duties also shoes the Bill Miller Engineering Top Fuel Dragster part time of the NHRA circuit, sees no conflict with driving a fueler for BME and crunching numbers for Force. "We will go to about twelve races, including Vegas and maybe Indy. We are looking forward to the delivery of a new Don Long dragster sometime next year."