AKA Products Behind The Brand: Gil Losi Jr.
Check out the second of a short interview series with the individuals behind the AKA Products brand, this week we caught up with Gil Losi Jr.
You designed cars and tires throughout your career. What is the most challenging aspect of designing tires vs. cars?
GL: The truth is cars and tires evolve together so I am always looking at both even when I am only working on one. A tire project scope is much smaller with a shorter time frame. That said, tires are very complicated things in their own right. The carcass design, tread pattern, and lug size all need to be matched to the rubber properties for the compound that we want each to be optimized for. Everything is an educated guess. Car projects are like a story that keeps evolving. Cars are so complex you are constantly learning and relearning.
You have been attending a ton of races supporting AKA drivers this year. What have you seen in 2019 that has been surprising from the last time you spent this much time at race tracks in the past?
GL: I’m constantly impressed on how professional the events have become, and the depth of driving talent.
I hear you are a nut for coffee. What is it about the process of getting from the bean to the cup that is fun for you?
GL: It’s true I fell in love with all things coffee when I spent time in Torino getting ready for a couple WC’s awhile back. It was really hard back then to find a shop that could roast coffee of that quality. That's when I started roasting my own beans. There are a lot of parallels between all types of art whether it is cooking or car design of more.
I saw you were at the On Road Worlds watching. I hear this was your favorite class. Any thoughts or running on-road again for fun?
GL: I pretty much ruined my off-road diving back in the late 80’s because I only really practiced 8th on-road. The level these cars can be driven at when setup correctly is amazing! I really wanted to win an Ifmar worlds in this class! 4th in 85 was my best finish with a TQ and DNF from the lead in 87. I think the 87 worlds was the last race I ever practiced for. I devoted myself to the JRX2 project after that. So that is basically when I quit trying to win races for myself.
There is nothing like driving flatout as hard as possible! That is the only class I have ever seen this. That being said the class is no longer a viable business model for a US car maker.
I know AKA and other endeavors take up your time, what do you do to decompress and have some fun?
GL: Spending time with my family, reading, riding bicycles, and cooking/coffee.