Robbie Dickson is a British-Canadian engineer and entrepreneur involved in the Canadian racing industry. Dickson, along with racers Bill Drossos and Jacques Villeneuve, co-founded the Canadian version of the Bullrun Rally, as well as the Formula One racetrack Area 27.[1]

Robbie Dickson
EducationAutomotive and aviation degrees
Alma materUniversity of Wales
Occupation(s)Engineer, inventor, angel investor, entrepreneur
Known forFounder of Firgelli Technologies, Firgelli Automations, and the Canadian Bullrun Rally

Early life and education edit

Born in the United Kingdom, Dickson became fascinated with super cars after seeing the film Cannonball Run as a child.[2][3] Dickson pursued his passion, and graduated with an engineering degree from the University of Wales.[4]

Career edit

Dickson initially worked in various engineering positions for automotive companies including BMW, Isuzu and Ford, eventually being recruited to work as an engine designer by Westport Innovations in Vancouver.[5]

In early 2000, he competed in the Race the Base Event at CFB Cold Lake in Cold Lake, Alberta. During the event, which took place on the base's runway, Dickson misjudged the braking distance necessary to make the turn at the end of the runway and his car spun out of control.[5] As a result, Dickson decided to design a more efficient braking system than the hydraulic brakes that came standard in most supercars. Being an engineer by trade, he examined the braking systems of other fast-moving vehicles, such as trucks and trains. These vehicles relied on an air brake system that was more efficient, as it did not require fluid to be retained and allowed the storage of potential energy. Using the air brake system's principles, Dickson created an auxiliary brake system for supercars. The system engages automatically when speeds greater than 100km/h are reached and the foot brake is applied.[5]

Firgelli Automations edit

Seeing a potential to fulfil an industry demand for enhanced safety, Dickson founded the company Attivo Design in order to market his auxiliary air brake.[5] The technology used by Attivo was manufactured by Firgelli Automations, a company specializing in actuators and control devices, founded by Dickson in 2002. As of 2023, Dickson remains the CEO of Firgelli Automations.[6]

Area 27 and Cannonball Run edit

Dickson's love of the film Cannonball Run inspired him to team up with Bill Drossos and Canadian Formula One racer Jacques Villeneuve to create the racetrack and race club Area 27. The track derives its name from Jacques' racing number.[1][7][8]

Dickson's group negotiated with the Osoyoos Indian Band for a long-term lease on the land that the 4.9km track was built on. GPS-guided earth movers traced the layout of the track, and 12,139 feet of concrete was used on the track and its barriers. A special blend of asphalt was made to withstand the heat of the region.

Dickson invested in the track to inspire like-minded drivers to race their track cars. The track became a full-sized racing club, featuring an on-site racing school and a host of other facilities.[9][10]

Dickson has also created a number of races. He co-founded the Canadian Bullrun Rally, a seven-day tour of the Rocky Mountains for luxury car owners. He also co-founded the annual Diamond Rally, an invite-only charity rally of 200 supercars, which was, for a time, the largest supercar rally in North America. The event is sponsored by Hublot Vancouver, one of Dickson's other ventures. The rally raises money for charity and runs from Vancouver to Whistler and the Okanagan via the Sea-to-Sky Highway.[7][8]

Venture capitalist edit

Dickson has provided the guidance and financial backing for numerous businesses, including helping De Beers Diamond expand into Canada through the opening of their first jewelry store.[11] He is an angel investor who believes in a clean-tech future and works with companies that are environmentally friendly and believe in a zero-emission future. He has also backed Etalim Inc. and several other companies that create technology that Dickson believes will have practical applications in the future.[12]

Personal life edit

Dickson is an avid car collector and has owned hundreds of automobiles in his lifetime. The first brand-new car he ever purchased was a custom Lamborghini Aventador Roadster. In 2011, The Vancouver Sun profiled Dickson and his $1,000,000 garage renovation, complete with 120 spotlights, a full-size bar, and a lifelike fiberglass model of Michael Schumacher's F1 Ferrari.[13][14]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Ecksel, William (22 February 2017). "What This Entrepreneur Can Show You About Following Your Dreams". Retrieved 2017-05-12.
  2. ^ "Lamborghini Bolletino". Bollettino Online. Retrieved 2017-05-12.
  3. ^ "Project Gallardo "Ultimo" for Attivo Designs". MWdesign Technik. Retrieved 2017-05-12.
  4. ^ "Jet- setting B. C. Lions Waterboys check out a winged Mustang". Vancouver Sun.
  5. ^ a b c d McCredie, Andrew. "Spoiler Alert Crescent Beach Man Invents Air Break for Super Car". The Province.
  6. ^ "About Firgelli Automations - Online Linear Actuator Store". Firgelli Automations. Archived from the original on 2023-08-04. Retrieved 2023-08-03.
  7. ^ a b Gray, Sherry (2016-02-15). "Lessons From a Serial Entrepreneur". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  8. ^ a b "Diamond Rally is a car cruise with a cause". Driving. 2014-06-30. Retrieved 2017-05-12.
  9. ^ "The Economics of Building a Racetrack | AUTOCRUST : Auto News, Car Reviews, Auto Accessories". Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  10. ^ "Area27: Canada's First F-1 Race Track - The Front Wing". The Front Wing. 2017-04-17. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  11. ^ Cheung, Justin (2013-11-26). "First Blu Glauco Lamborghini Aventador Roadster + ADV.1 by Marcel Lech Photography". GTspirit. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  12. ^ "Robbie Dickson | Founder, Firgelli Automations". Firgelli Automations. Retrieved 2023-08-04.
  13. ^ "Area 27 racetrack member Robbie Dickson is fond enough of hot cars to hang them". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  14. ^ "Garage Makeover Pays Homage to the Automobile". Vancouver Sun. 2011-06-24.