Charlie Barnes

CharlieCharlie Barnes was born in Makati, Philippines on December 15, 1972. After attendance at the International School in Makati, Charlie moved to California where he excelled in football, volleyball, and track and field, and graduated from Hoover High School in 1991. From 1992 to 1993, Charlie attended Glendale College where he played football and majored in Art. In 2003, after balancing employment and his ambition to further his education, he finished his Baccalaureate of Science degree in Media Arts and Animation from the Art Institute of California.

Charlie worked at KNB effects where he got his first start airbrushing the tenticles of the queen alien for the movie "The Faculty" and worked many other gigs and studios such as Optic Nerve Studios and XFX Studios.  Charlie then worked for Eagle's Art, the exclusive custom airbrushing shop for Indian Motorcycles.  Charlie also taught at the local college teaching art and graphics.  One of Charlie's latest works is the Nitto Tires Time Attack car owned by Mike Kojima.  All in all, Charlie is a good natured, easy going guy who is always looking for a laugh.  Charlie is proud to be part of the team!




Sarah Forst

SarahSarah Forst, AKA "The Queen of Questions", served as Nissan Performance Magazines Tech Editor since its inception.  As a child, Sarah preferred her skateboard, BMX bike and toy cars to dolls and other girlie stuff. As a teenager, growing up in California's San Diego County, Sarah started her motorsports carrier as a street racing punk. This stopped when she was arrested for street racing.  This experience made her interests turn towards the technical side of performance and real Motorsports.

Although her educational and professional background is finance, Sarah has always been involved in the Technical world of Nissan Tuning from serving on several pit crews to building her own 475 plus horsepower turbocharged Sentra Street Terror or her NX2000 road racer to diligently and patiently answering Nissan tech questions every month for an audience of thousands.

Sarah has authored a book on Nissan Tuning, "How to build Performance Nissan Sport Compacts 1991-2006" with HP books. 






Mike Kojima

Mike KMike Kojima has been working hard at blowing up and crashing stuff throughout his 27-year professional automotive career.  He has always had a passion for things mechanical from an early age.  As a small child Mike was adept at taking expensive things apart and not always being able to put them back together, much to his parent's dismay.  Some things never change, as an adult the things are now bigger and even more expensive.

Mike's professional automotive and motorsports engineering carrier has been wide and varied with stints as an engineer at Toyota Racing Development (TRD), Nissan North America and Nismo North America as well as Pep Boys.   Mike has also served as an engineering consultant for many performance parts manufactures. A prolific author Mike's writing can be found regularly in the pages of Sport Compact Car Magazine, Turbo Magazine where he was Engineering Editor, Honda Tuner, Import Tuner, Project Car and Grass Roots Motorsports magazine as well as several books for HP publications.

Mike holds or has held NASA, SCCA and IMSA racing licenses and has participated in just about every form of racing from BMX to autocross and has broken nearly every bone in his body.  Mike is also old, old enough to be one of the pioneers of the import performance scene at its birth in the 70's to the popularity it's enjoying now.

Mike is perhaps best known for his famous quote "do you want to go fast or do you want to suck"




Aaron LaBeau

AaronIs the site administrator, database guru and janitor.  Claims have been made that his first actual words were turbo-charger.  In his early years he read every new car magazine he could get his hands on.  Csaba Csere and Tony Swan of Car & Driver have always entertained with their combination of humor and intelligent automotive words and continue to serve as inspiration to this day.

The path of automotive insanity started back in April of 1994 when Aaron purchased a 1993 Nissan Sentra SE-R and like his fellow colleagues here turbo-charged the bejeasus out of it thanks to Mike Kojima's over-persuasive suggestion of "do you want to go fast or suck?"

Although most of his time is spent sorting through programming languages, every once-in-awhile the boss lets Aaron take a break from the keyboard.  If you've read this far hit Alt-Tab for some relief, apple-Tab for you Mac users and you Linux hackers already know everything (wink).




Jeff Naeyaert

JeffAvoiding the torture of creative writing, Jeff fills the role of strategy/biz dev guy as well as photographer.  He brings considerable knowledge in online media from business development positions held at Fastclick, an online ad network acquired by ValueClick Media and (now Move, Inc.).  Prior to that Jeff was an investment banking analyst at Southwest Securities in Dallas, Texas.  Jeff's various "corporate" positions provided enough resources for him to build what was once considered the "Fastest Track Sentra in Existence" and more recently an LS1 powered FD RX-7. Jeff knows just enough about fabrication and auto mechanics to be dangerous, scoffs at the idea of paying someone else to wrench on his car and insists on doing all his own work—for better or often times worse.  His photography has graced the pages of Sport Compact Car Magazine, an HP Book and his website, an exposé of the nightlife and entertainment scene in Santa Barbara, California where he currently lives.  

Jeff holds a BS in Finance and Real Estate Finance from Southern Methodist University.  His favorite food is corn and his favorite color is green.








Anne Sam

AnnieAnnie Sam. is a graduate from California State University, Long Beach with a Degree in Finance and International Business. Annie was the Motorsports Editor for Nissan Performance Magazine, having a monthly column for several years.

In her 2006 rookie season, she competed in the National Auto Sport Association's SE-R Cup series, winning a 3rd place podium finish. Although her passion will always lie in wheel to wheel racing, Annie as of late has been focusing on instructing beginner students, time trial and time attack events, high speed events such as the Bonneville Salt Flats events through the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association (USFRA), Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) and the Silver State Classic.

Annie is a firm advocate against street racing, and is always proactive towards moving people off the streets and onto the track – where the real talent and competition lies. Aside from competition racing, Annie is a licensed NASA driving instructor, teaching beginner drivers the concepts of road course driving.

Annie can usually be found under a car or playing with her animals, Otto, Hotrod, Stinky and boyfriend Chuck Johnson.








Mari Umekubo

MariMari Umekubo has worked primarily as a photographer freelancing for local news papers since graduating from the Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design.  She has her photo work and writings published in various magazines and books.

Her photographs have been exhibited at galleries throughout Los Angeles and she traveled to Western Samoa on a Fulbright Graduate Study Abroad Program to produce a photographic study which was published as a table book.  Mari is new to the automotive scene but her artistic talents will help from a new perspective. 






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