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Designer Hopes Next Indy Racing Star has Engine Made in Brooklyn

By Meredith Hoffman | August 21, 2012 7:04am

WILLIAMSBURG — A flashy new neighbor is racing into town, and is hoping that the next star of Indy car racing will have a heart built in Brooklyn.

The award-winning race car engine designer, consultant and maker Ayton Performance has announced it is building a shop on Metropolitan Avenue in the vacant lot across from Nitehawk Cinema.

"When I was 6-years-old I told my mom I wanted to build cars for a living," the company's owner Ethan Bragner remembered as he announced his plans at 105 Metropolitan Ave. Monday afternoon. 

Bragner, whose company has designed engines for champion race cars at competitions Le Mans, Daytona and the Indy 500, will open his Williamsburg spot next year in a former brownfield site that has been restored as part of the city's environmental clean-up program.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other government officials praised Ayton's use of the city's brownfield program, which has restored polluted lots around the city. Bragner's business will receive a total of $85,000 for restoring the lot, officials said.

Though Bragner said he could have opened up shop in a smaller town for a fraction of the cost, part of opening in Williamsburg was about the chance to expose design-focused residents to the art of designer engines.

"Racing engines are a niche product, hand built and meticulously produced by people who really care," he said.

And local Councilwoman Diana Reyna said the shop's slated opening spoke to the increasing focus on design by local residents and business owners.

"This is a great opportunity," she said. "It's exciting and very fancy to see."