Vintage Indy car racing might not be a place you would expect to find CPI’s Waterproof Switches, but when you think about it, what better place for a switch that has to perform reliably 100% of the time?
For those unfamiliar with the technical details of Indy car racing (i.e.. Most of us…) you might be surprised to know that the cars do not actually have a starter built in. Since Indy-car design is all about reducing weight, removing the starter assembly saves a few precious pounds. In theory, once the car is started and as long as the driver doesn’t crash or stall the car out, you really won’t need a starter anymore.
Thus, the starter for older Indy racing cars is typically a separate handheld gearbox connected to three 12 volt batteries, and the whole assembly is wheeled around on a cart trackside. These starter motors are actuated by a switch mounted to the assembly that becomes the ignition switch. The starter cart gets wheeled up to the back of the car, the technician inserts the starter motor, pushes the starter button a few times and voila! You have a loud, vibrating mass of machine ready to hit 150mph on the straights. The starters used are different for every type of vintage race car but one thing is common: if the starter switch fails, you can’t start your car and your race is over before it begins.
Enter Mark Bushman Racing.
Mark Bushman isn’t exactly a household name, but if you’ve ever needed your vintage Indy car starter refurbished or rebuilt, well all roads usually lead to Mark. “All the business I get is referrals from people who say ‘I’ve got a guy…’.” You won’t find Mark on Facebook and his website won’t turn up on a Google search because he doesn’t have one, and that is just fine with Mark. “Its just me rebuilding these things and I like to take the time to do it right.”
That’s a strategy that folks in the racing world have noticed. The word you hear most when they talk about starters made or serviced by Mark? “Bulletproof.” Hmmmm, what else have we ever described that way?
“There’s a big market for starters in vintage race cars,” notes Mark. “It’s easy to redo them wrong and not easy to get them right, that’s when they generally come to me.” Mark’s starters have been used on many different race vehicles including Lola’s, Chevrons, Crosslé, Royale and more. He has worked with a number of race teams including famously the Dale Coyne racing team winners of the 2009 Watkins Glen International.
But it isn’t fame or fortune Mark is after, he’s old school, good at what he does, and he wants to do it right. “I don’t need failures of something coming back to me, all I have is my reputation,” notes Mark. “For that reason, I’ve been using CPI switches on my starters for about as long as I can remember. They just never fail.”
Mark’s switch of choice these days? The CPI D1040 plunger switch, a solid stainless steel creation with the high current handling and electromechanical endurance of more than 50,000 cycles he needs. Of particular interest to Mark is how the D1040 uses an all stainless steel mounting system which keeps the switch mounting from loosening up or degrading over time.
Another factor related to the longevity of the CPI solution is that the switch assembly is designed for tough environments and won’t allow contaminants or fluids to enter the switch housing, even during actuation. It’s designed from the ground up for a high abuse setting. It’s also fully IP68 industrial rated for OEM applications where this is important. Our D1040 is a unique design and one of the many reasons the word “bulletproof” is often used for our stuff too!
CPI Switches – The best Choice for Mission Critical Applications.
After using CPI switches in the field for almost 30 years, Mark’s endorsement of our switches comes with some pretty heavy real-world experience. Best to let Mark say it himself.
“Some of these switches have been out there for years and years, racing every weekend, and carted all over the country for years and years and the switch never fails. It’s the only switch I would ever use for this.”
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