Mason, OH – The 2016 Pirelli World Challenge TCB Champion Tom O’Gorman is ready for an even bigger 2017 season with a new car, new and returning partners, and a new team.
In April of 2007, Tom O’Gorman competed in his first motorsports event – a local autocross in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. This weekend, ten years later, he begins his second full-season effort in Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) as the reigning 2016 Touring Car B Champion. O’Gorman makes the jump to a new class, Touring Car A, driving the all-new #94 Honda Civic Si. The PWC Touring Car season begins at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR), a 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course near Danville, VA, and will mark O’Gorman’s first visit to the historic circuit.
The 2016 Pirelli World Challenge season saw O’Gorman in his first full-time season in professional motorsports after a successful crowdfunding campaign launched him into the series towards the end of 2015. A 4-time autocross National Champion and SCCA Solo Driver of the Year, the story of his grassroots effort and crowdfunded platform turned heads after a successful weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where he earned multiple podium finishes. The accomplishment turned into opportunity for 2016, where O’Gorman partnered with Honda Performance Development (HPD) and veteran SCCA club racer David Daughtery, with the goal of winning a professional and amateur championship in the same year sharing the same car – HPD’s new Honda Fit B-Spec race car. The pairing achieved their goal, with O’Gorman earning 4 race wins and finishing in the top-2 every race on his way to the PWC Touring Car B Driver’s Championship.
The 2017 season is one of growth for O’Gorman, as he moves to a faster class in an all-new car, welcomes new partners in addition to returning partners, and joins a new team.
“It’s hard to find words to describe how exciting this year is, on so many levels – the largest being how grateful I am to HPD for the opportunity to continue working with them as we bring the latest Civic Si to motorsports for the first time. I’m also thrilled to have a group of partners that I’m extremely passionate about supporting the program, all coming together under the tent of such a well-established team in Shea Racing.”
The 2017 Honda Civic Si will make it’s motorsports debut in Pirelli World Challenge at VIR before going on sale later in the year. The new race car, powered by a 1.5l Turb0 engine, was developed from HPD’s 2017 Civic Body-in-White program, which allows car constructors to build a factory-spec chassis without having to buy a car and spending time
removing non-race components and other production vehicle bits, such as soundproofing and meld sheet. After months of testing and development, the 2017 Civic Si will be racing in the TCA class under the Shea Racing team. O’Gorman joined HPD as a development driver on the 2017 Civic Si development race car, using the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill as the debut of the latest Civic platform, and will be the first driver to campaign the platform in North America.
O’Gorman is embracing new and returning partners to support HPD, Shea Racing, and himself on the 2017 Civic effort.
“Last year, I was proud to represent Black Armor Helmets on track and race alongside it’s owner, James Wilson, as my teammate. This year, Black Armor is returning to support us for every race weekend, and I’m excited to keep repping the Carbon Army. We’re also fortunate to have Carbotech Performance Brakes return for 2017 – we had incredible support from Carbotech on the TCB Honda Fit, and I know we’ll have great success with their product on the TCA Civic Si as well.
New partners Gridlife and Eibach Performance Suspension strengthen the support for the new program.
“Eibach has been integral to the development of the 2017 Si, helping maximize our handling performance since the beginning at the Thunderhill 25Hr. Our other exciting new partner is Gridlife. Gridlife puts on festival events with a mix of everything motorsports – time attack, HPDE, drifting, concerts, car shows & meets, all at happening at a race track together. They have a totally new take on what a motorsports event is, and I’m happy to bring together the Gridlife and pro racing worlds.”
PWC Touring Car veterans Shea Racing will campaign the #94 Civic Si for O’Gorman. Shea Racing has become a mainstay team of the Pirelli World Challenge paddock, entering their 8th season as a Touring Car team campaigning Hondas.
“We are extremely ambitious this year in the Pirelli World Challenge with four cars running out of the Shea Racing stable,” said Holbrook. “When we started our team a few years back, we were a very small team like a ‘mom and pop effort.’ But it was always my goal to expand to a multi-car effort and, with help of our sponsors and Honda, we have gone from a two-car team last year to a four-car operation in 2017. There was a lot of opportunity this year and I’m very excited to get started racing.”
The Pirelli World Challenge Nissan Grand Prix of VIR is the first time all 7 classes come together in 2017 and will see over 100 entries, including 55 competitors across 3 classes for the opening rounds of the Touring Car season. Touring Car A, a more limited-preparation class for accessible performance cars like the Honda Civic Si, Mazda MX-5, and Toyota GT86, will see 14 drivers take the green, including O’Gorman in the #94 2017 Civic Si, and his Shea Racing teammate, Sarah Montgomery, driving the #66 2013 Civic Si. Shea Racing Touring Car drivers Shea Holbrook (co-owner of Shea Racing) and Jason Fichter, return to pilot the #67 and #7 Honda Accord V6 Coupes respectively and round out the Shea Racing stable.
Each session of the race weekend will be supported with live timing, including live video streams of both races, at world-challenge.com. Touring Car Rounds 1 & 2 will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network on Sunday, May 14 at 4:00 PM E.T. Check out the event schedule below, and follow Tom O’Gorman online (TOMORacing.com), on Facebook (TOMO Racing), and on Instagram/Twitter (@tomoracing) for updates throughout the weekend.