Over the years, my good friend Nick Cahill (who happens to be an award-winning filmmaker and national geographic cover photographer) has helped me tell stories through video about my passion for motorsport (which he also shares) and the Honda S2000 race-car I built from the ground up. Last October, I had a nasty rollover crash at Sonoma and while I was able to walk away unharmed; the car was a total-loss. This season, I debuted a BMW E36 M3 which has presented a new set of challenges. That's when Nick and I got together to brainstorm the idea of creating a short-film about this next chapter, and more importantly; the incredible people and companies who make everything possible. Watch it here:
When 4 out of 5 cars from your team are damaged after a race weekend, you know that some stuff went down. We were really excited about this weekend at Thunderhill because the weather looked dry, albeit hot (105F), and we had just confirmed a week earlier while testing at Buttonwillow that any overheating issues had been resolved (we upgraded a lot of things after Round 4 at Sonoma in June). This would also be my first time driving the E36 at Thunderhill (since Graham had covered for me there during Round 2 in April while I was in Japan).
“Heidi” left for Round 2 of NorCal Super Touring Championship a day earlier than usual because Tom was in Japan - which meant that Graham assumed driving duties for this particular race weekend. We were excited because Jon had rebuilt the engine with brand new rod bearings, a new oil pump, and added an accusump system to help mitigate the low oil pressure issues we ran into at Sonoma in March. Shout-out to Jim from MMI Vehicle Systems and West Coast Ravenol for the fresh parts and fluids! On Thursday evening, Liam and Graham stopped by the shop to pick up the car and then they were off to Thunderhill.
After our successful test day at Sonoma on Friday March 1st, Graham and I brought “Heidi” down to SS Customs in Redwood City, CA that very same evening for the installation of this year’s livery. I was thrilled to once again partner with Adam and Scott from Skepple on the design, and my longtime friend, Shareef, from SSC on the print/install. The plan was that they would finish the car in time for the season opener, and boy...did they deliver!
Following my crash at Sonoma last October I spent some time thinking about what I wanted to do next. I knew I wanted to continue racing with NASA in Super Touring because the ST4 class is growing steadily and we have great camaraderie amongst the competitors in the field. For a brief moment, I actually considered building another S2000 but realized after 9 years with the platform that it was time to move on and do something new. As such, in November we began tearing down what was left of “Irene” and selling any remaining/usable parts.
This event marked our second attempt at the Sonoma 4-hour enduro, part of the NASA Western Endurance Racing Championship series (also known as WERC). Last year, we attempted to run this race with 2 cars (my ST4 Honda S2000 and Liam’s ST4 Honda Civic). Unfortunately, both cars had to retire early because of parts failures. I broke two differentials (my main and my spare) and Liam lost a gearbox.
July was a nice break month for us. With no racing on the calendar, we used that time to do a few things: Sourced (thanks, Graham) and began building another duplicate J32A2 engine with Supertech valve train (thanks, Martin), P2R fuel rails, and other performance goodies; Rebuilt a spare AP2 transmission with fresh OEM gears that we sent out for WPC coating treatment…
This past weekend (May 19-20, 2018) marked the third round of racing scheduled for this year’s NASA Pro Racing Super Touring championship series here in Northern California. I was thrilled to return with the team to Sonoma, because it’s close to the shop and it also happens to be one of my favorite tracks to drive at (I love the complexity, the narrowness of the walls, and the overall rhythm).