Spry Evolutions was conceived as a way for design engineer Charles Macdonald to evolve projects to be lighter, cheaper, and stronger. He has worked around the world in different motorsport and vehicle engineering disciplines. In addition to his current commitments in the aerospace industry of south Florida, Charles is always thinking of new ways to apply the technologies & techniques, he has spent years perfecting. Design engineering is a unique discipline, where innovation alone is not enough. Demands also include reliability, cost, and aesthetics, while maintaining tight deadlines.
At the Rutgers University College of Engineering, Charles achieved his Bachelor's of Science in mechanical engineering with an aerospace focus. In '97-98, he was part of formula SAE teams that competed in the annual collegiate Formula SAE competition.
After graduating Rutgers, Charles flew directly to England for job interviews at race car constructors & teams. He chose to join the G-Force Techologies design team, who had just been selected by Nissan Motorsport (NISMO) to design a new Le Mans prototype for the annual 24 hour race 1999, under the leadership of Nigel Stroud. The car went on to earn victory at the 1999 Fuji 1000 km sportscar endurance in Japan.
After Nissan did not carry on with the R391 beyond '99, Charles joined the G-Force Indy car design team, for the upcoming 2000 season. The GF05 was a new car, from the ground up, culminating in Montoya's victory in the 2000 Indy 500 & the Louis Schwitzer Design Award. Charles spent a valuable month of May with race engineer Hayden Burville & customer Dick Simon Racing, where Stefan Gregoire finished a strong 8th.
TIMELINE: 2001 & 2002
A move was made from G-Force to Reynard Motorsport, to join a new design team, led by Will Phillips, and tasked with a brand new car, the Reynard 02S. Sadly at the beginning of 2002, Reynard Motorsport when into receivership, but the project continued with teams like Zytek, which eventually entered it @ the 2004 Le Mans 24 hours. The car won several European sportscar races, but never got to live up to its full potential.
After the close of Reynard, Charles' next move was the Tom Walkinshaw Racing Group, where he contributed to several concepts, including a Cadillac Cien production concept, as well as some final suspension signoffs for the Renault Clio-V6. In the first quarter of 2003, TWR Engineering's reign as a great automotive industry resource had come to a close.
TIME LINE: 2003-2005 JAPAN
2005-2007 UNITED KINGDOM
For the remainder of 2003, until 2007, Charles joined a project to design a new global platform for Nissan's Qashqai & Rogue. It involved exciting times working just outside Tokyo, as well as transferring the work for production in the United Kingdom. Since then, the Qashqai and Rogue have sold successfully for Nissan in high volumes, and the model name is still in production today.
TIMELINE: 2007 - 2015
With a view to getting back to competitive design, Charles joined the Hendrick Motorsports design team in 2007. His designs contributed to the team's championships in 2007, '08, '09, '10, and 2013. With those accomplishments and Jeff Gordon's retirement in 2015, Charles decided it was his time to move on to new accomplishments.
Charles Macdonald joined Mooresville, NC's Riley Technologies as a Principal Engineer. After 9 seasons in NASCAR and 5 championships, it was time for a change. The excitement of IMSA sports car racing and the Le Mans 24 Hours provided a productive design challenge.
Charles was part of a team of designers led by Bob Riley, to design the Mk 30 sportscar, which was also the basis of the Mazda RT24-P, with goals of winning the Daytona 24 Hours and Le Mans 24 Hours. Sadly there is too much homologation by the rule makers, which freezes the car design. This does not leave designers much to do after the first year the car is run, and it just isn't fun. Charles decided to then switch to aerospace and move to the beaches of Florida.
The connection and love of motorsport will always be there, and it is part of our DNA, but it's no longer possible to watch sponsors and fans leave the motorsports due to boring cars, frustrated drivers, overpriced tickets, and mediocre racing.
As of May 2017, Charles has moved to Jupiter Florida to contribute to the aerospace and defense industry of Palm Beach County, South Florida. It's an area with a great history in innovation and there is a large selection of companies that power flight and freedom, with the balance of weekends on the golf course and beach.