Twourist Motorcycle Trip Own The Night LeMans Air and Water 993 996

Jack loves to make the most of of his motoring, whether that's travelling the continent and playing twourist on his owned-since-new Honda Shadow, or kicking asphalt in his track and autocross-ready E46 M3. A software developer by day for his co-founded healthcare startup, by night Jack can be found designing other soft ware like "Own The Night" and "Air & Water".

Jack came into the pits to answer a few questions:

How did your interest in cars start?

I’ve been into cars and motorcycles from an early age, mostly just drawing them before I could drive. In college, my two favorite cars I spent time in were my cousin’s Acura Integra GS-R and a friend’s black E36 BMW 328is. Both were such fun cars that I would end up buying either Honda/Acura or BMW cars from that point onward.

What likely fueled my track and autocross obsession was a full day of non-stop racing at Buttonwillow with a very generous executive at my previous company. This person was a magical genie who granted thirty lucky people one wish: “For a charity donation, you will race my collection of exotic cars all day with no interruptions and free fuel”. And so it happened, an amazing day of jumping in and out of cars that included a Lamborghini Gallardo, multiple Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradales, a Porsche GT2, an Aston Martin Vanquish, a Ferrari 550 Maranello, and a Lotus Elise. To top it all off, a professional ALMS driver gave everyone rides in an Enzo, which hit 180mph on the straight before slamming the brakes at the Star Mazda turn. All, including myself, were visibly shaking as they exited this insane joy ride.

Supercar Track Day

By far the best track car that day was the 360 Challenge Stradale. Light and powerful with carbon ceramic brakes... it beat all the cars in handling and manageability, especially for newbies like us. We did NOT get to drive the Enzo (and another owner's Carrera GT) for obvious reasons.

How does your interest show itself?

I’m proud to be a volunteer staff member for the BMW Golden Gate Chapter Autocross program since 2011. Our group is known for coaching new autocrossers and welcoming cars of all makes. We have superb courses designed by our resident car nerd from Google. Each month he creates a nicely flowing course but adds tricky curves and deceptively open areas that leave people either cursing or singing his praises. Before autocross, I was a track junkie for many years, driving Laguna Seca, California Speedway, Buttonwillow and my favorite, Thunderhill.

BMW Autocross

What is at the top of your automotive bucket list?

Near the top of my bucket list would be a long European road trip through Barcelona, Italy, the Swiss Alps, Nurburgring, etc. winding along mountain roads on motorcycles and cars, having great food and wine along the way.

What's in your driveway, and what makes it special?

I have my steel grey e46 M3 and it’s all the car I need right now, since I don’t commute at all these days. The only mods are handling related to maximize my autocross fun: PSS9 coil-overs with adjustable shocks, Hotchkiss sway bars, wider and lighter D-Force wheels, sticky RE-71 tires and Vorshlag camber plates. Now I just need a mod to improve the biggest limiting factor, the idiot behind the wheel! I’ve thought about changing cars whenever an expensive repair happens but this car just suits me too well for me to give it up. Plus, it has been fairly straightforward to repair myself for most of the things that fail or need maintenance, thanks to the e46fanatics forum. Oh, and thanks to Bavarian Motorsport and TC Design for fixing things way beyond my skillset.

E46 M3 Sunset

What was your first car? Any sort of brand loyalty?

The first car I drove was a Chevy Caprice Classic, a huge boat, but it was RWD and had a V8 so how bad could that have been? Then in college I bought a blue Honda Civic LX sedan and I did what a lot of young kids did back then: loading it with stereo equipment and blasting my eardrums to oblivion. It had a pitiful 102hp and could barely go above 90 mph, but it was thumping all the time. My friends and family had some pretty cool cars, so I eventually got envious and bought a used E34 540. It was a handful on icy New England roads but it was still a blast!

E34 5 Series

On the two-wheeled side of things, my '98 Shadow is my first and only bike. It's 20 years old with 78,000 (all weekend/trip) miles and it's still running as smooth as the day I bought her.

What is your dream car?

If I had to pick a single car, I think a Singer Porsche would be it. It’s so beautifully timeless, a pure sports car done right.

Money no object, it wouldn’t just be the Singer. A dream stable for me would include a light autocross car (E30 or Lotus), a track car (GT3), a grand tourer (Aston DB), a 4x4 (Jeep or Range Rover) and perhaps an old Mustang for the low-end rumble. And of course I’d still keep my all-around fun e46 as the daily driver.

What do you do besides designing awesome shirts?

After 20 years in the corporate world, I’m currently a co-founder of a software startup in healthcare. I really enjoy building solutions that affect people’s lives for the better. In the process of doing all the software design and development myself and then hitting the road for demos and presentations to clients, I’ve learned more in the last year than decades at my previous jobs. It’s been a great experience so far, and I’m really loving the independence.

What are some of your non-car hobbies?

My biggest non-car hobby is motorcycling on my 98 Honda Shadow. There’s nothing like taking a road trip without a “cage” surrounding you and limiting your view. You feel the wind on your entire body, smell the environment (for better or worse) and fully experience the sights and sounds. It’s never about the destination… it’s about the twisty roads, elevation changes, and the harsh or wonderful weather along scenic two-lane roads. The stretch through Zion NP to Torrey to Blanding (9 > 89 > 12 > 24 > 95) is my favorite route in the USA. The scenery is unbeatable. In Canada, the best route I've ever ridden was Jasper to Banff on Icefields Parkway. Glacier National Park is also a must-see before all the glaciers melt.

Then it’s about putting the phones away, setting up camp, good conversation, and searching for food, usually best discovered by asking the locals. Once you’ve done a ride through Zion, Glacier, Yellowstone, Jasper, Rocky Mountains and the countless breath-taking routes throughout the USA and Canada, you’ll never choose cars over motorcycles again.

Motorcycle Road Trips

If I’m not on my bike, I love to travel abroad with family. In the past three years I’ve been to three of my favorite places, Japan, China and New Zealand. Tokyo has the best night life and food, China has awe-inspiring historical sites, and New Zealand is a gorgeous adventure paradise. I still have some must-see countries on my list such as Australia, Germany, Italy and Spain, so I’m looking forward to more travel soon.

Skydiving New Zealand

What have the funds from blipshift helped you accomplish?

I’ve used blipshift funds to buy new tires, brakes, and many other parts to keep my autocross habit going. I’ve also bought many blipshift shirts for friends and family as gifts.

What influences you as a designer?

Other t-shirt designers influence my designs, since there are unique limitations associated with screen printing, it’s interesting to see different approaches to similar problems. I first started by submitting (mostly unsuccessfully) designs at Threadless where I learned a lot from designers far more advanced than myself. Blipshift is really the automotive equivalent to me, and a natural transition for anyone who loves cars. Another big influence is my older brother who creates fantastic drawings and paintings practically every day. His work ethic really motivates me to finish more art projects and keep my skills sharp.

Jack Yu and Brother

What's your favorite blipshift shirt?

I usually buy the car designs I like to wear because the color/style suits me, but I don’t always buy the designs I admire. Does that even make sense? For example, there are plenty of stellar red shirt designs, but I don’t own a single red shirt. One of my favorites is “Miami” because it fits my era with a car that I loved as a kid, brings back the memories. The one I’m wearing most often these days is “Fairest of them All”, because Datsuns are awesome.

Miami Valyukh Fairest of them All Datsun Z

Any advice for fellow artists? How did you find the process overall?

The great part about blipshift is that they take the time to develop an idea by suggesting new ways and directions so that the shirt ultimately works well as a t-shirt. You can’t find that kind of commitment on other sites where your designs are rejected without explanation, which leads to many artists giving up trying. So my advice is to keep submitting designs and work constructively together to figure out what works. Most designs aren’t perfect and require changes, and some designs may need to be dropped altogether. The overall experience is worth it because you will ultimately improve with each new design you create, so don’t give up!

Thanks Jack for your time and torso-tastic design skills. Apex Everything!