Tom O’Gorman is the 2016 PWC TCB Champion (B-Spec Fit) and is getting ready to start a new season in PWC with the 2017 Civic Si. We sat down with him to ask him his thoughts on racing and the particular challenges he faces on the track.
HPD-You had so much success last year in PWC (2016 TCB Champion), what do you feel was your biggest challenge last season?
TO’G- 2016 was my first full season running in a professional series, and I found that learning what goes on off-track – the business side of racing – was my biggest challenge. I had to learn how to manage things like press releases and PR opportunities for myself, and how to simultaneously focus on the racing while also putting myself out there and promoting myself as a driver, because, in a way, both are equally important. On track, though, the biggest challenge was being the lone Honda of the TCB front-runners – I always had pairs and triplets of Mazda or Chevy teammates working together, drafting one another, trying to get a leg up on me, and I had to figure out how to stay in the hunt while working alone a lot of the time.
HPD- What other motorsports racing or activities are you involved in?
TO’G- I still autocross anytime I can – it feels like a vacation to go back to the parking lots, see friends, and enjoy an event where I can focus entirely on having fun and driving a car – and I’ve really enjoyed getting seat time at various club races and track events to get more experience since I’m still only going into my 4th year of wheel to wheel racing. I’ve also been lucky to start a career in motorsports, getting involved with SCCA programs like Track Night In America and other coaching jobs, so even when I’m not in the driver’s seat, I’m around what I love and working in the world of motorsports.
HPD- What are the challenges of racing a brand new car in TCA?
TO’G- Luckily, I have the expertise of HPD on the vehicle development side and experience of Shea Racing behind me, but there will absolutely be challenges. I think the biggest will be adjusting to a new style of racing, with faster cars and more varied strengths between them than in TCB. Learning the strengths of the 2017 Civic Si over my competitors, how to manage tires; those things I can only learn with seat time. Being a new car and new program, there will also be challenges in development, maximizing the setup for each track, etc. but we’ve already had a lot of time with the car over the off season to identify what the Si likes and what knobs to turn to get the changes we need when we need them, so I know we’ll come out of the gate strong.
HPD- You have been racing for many years now, what is your advice to younger racers?
TO’G- The biggest piece of advice I picked up when I started autocrossing was to never miss an event – even if you can’t participate, you never know when you’ll pick up a nugget of wisdom, meet a great resource, or get an opportunity to jump in a seat. My “crew” in 2016 were actually just friends I’ve known for almost 10 years and met in my first years autocrossing who volunteered to come along and help, and I never would have thought we’d be winning championships in pro racing when I met them. I’ve also had opportunities to drive some very cool cars and be a part of special events from being in the right place at the right time, so it all comes down to putting yourself out there and making friends anywhere you can along the way.
From Honda Performance Development “Honda Racing” Newsletter:
Be on the lookout for Tom O’Gorman driving the all-new 2017 Honda Performance Development/Black Armor Helmets/Eibach/Gridlife/Carbotech/Shea Racing Honda Civic Si at VIRginia International Raceway at April 28-30. Follow Tom’s racing adventures online (TOMORacing.com), on Facebook (TOMO Racing), and on Instagram/Twitter (@tomoracing).