In his first full season of Pirelli World Challenge competition, Tom O’Gorman has his eyes set on a Driver’s Championship. Carrying the momentum of four consecutive race wins, the TOMO Racing crew aims to secure the championship with strong finishes at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend.
It was just over a year ago that Tom O’Gorman crowdfunded his way into the Pirelli World Challenge series. His crowdfunding story, along with the story of competing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca last September with no crew and earning multiple podium and top-5 finishes put him in the spotlight at the end of 2015. Now, a year later, he is set to return to California with PWC – this time, though, a multi-time race winner and a contender for a Driver’s Championship.
Getting his start in autocross in 2007, O’Gorman, of Mason, OH, began his road racing career in 2014 after winning an autocross National Championship and being named SCCA Solo Driver of the Year in 2013. He joined the Pirelli World Challenge series in 2015 thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign, raising $8000 to launch his effort. After the 2015 season, O’Gorman, teamed up with veteran SCCA club racer David Daughtery with a unique approach to 2016; the pair would campaign the same vehicle in two different series, with the goal of winning two championships.
“My goal after 2015, dipping my toes into Pirelli World Challenge, was to run a full PWC season in 2016,” O’Gorman explains. “David had the idea to get a new 2015 Honda Fit and go for an SCCA Club Racing championship in BSpec and PWC Pro Racing championship in TCB. Since the two classes share identical rule sets and there was no overlap in the schedules, the plan seemed perfect.”
O’Gorman began the season at Circuit of the Americas driving his previous-generation 2010 Honda Fit, finishing both races in 2nd position. He followed up his performance with another pair of 2nd place podiums at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, earning him the points lead in TCB.
“We knew the key to winning a championship was going to be consistency, so although it started to feel like I was always the bridesmaid, I was content with the solid, consistent finishes and points,” O’Gorman continues. “We weren’t able to debut the new 2015 Honda Racing/HPD Fit until Road America in June, which left me driving the older generation car. The 2010 car is still a great platform, but we were lacking in a few areas and inherited some lucky breaks at the misfortune of others – we were happy to finish consistently in 2nd across the first four rounds.”
Upon debuting the team’s new 2015 Honda Racing/HPD Fit at Road America, any disadvantage O’Gorman had immediately evaporated. The team swept the weekend, with O’Gorman earning his first professional racing victories. Two months later at Utah Motorsports Campus, two more wins came O’Gorman’s way, making it four in a row for the team.
It’s been a busy time for Daughtery and O’Gorman since Utah Motorsports Campus in August. O’Gorman returned to the SCCA Solo National Championships in Lincoln, NE, on September 6-9, driving the same 1972 Porsche 914/6 in which he won his 2013 Championship. There, he claimed his 4th National Championship, winning his class of 25 competitors, including many former national champions. He also wrapped up his season as Lead KONI Novice Experience Coach with SCCA Track Night In America, SCCA’s new, nationwide experiential track driving event. Two weeks later, David Daughtery took the team’s 2015 Honda Fit to the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where he claimed his 9th National Championship. Daughtery won BSpec by a dominant 11.8 seconds, achieving first of the team’s goals for 2016 – O’Gorman aims to achieve the second this week.
“It was incredible to get the new Fit and go from salvaging any finish we could get to truly contending for the top step,” tells O’Gorman. “I also have overwhelming support from friends and family – my crew are friends who have volunteered to travel to my races to support me to make my job easy – and partners in Black Armor Helmets, Carbotech, KTuner, and Honda Racing/HPD. David achieving his goals at the Runoffs motivates me even more to achieve mine. We’re the only team that has finished on the podium all year, and it’s them I have to thank for that. We’re in a great spot in the points for MRLS this weekend.”
O’Gorman sits 3rd in points, 62 points behind points leader P.J. Groenke (#25 Chevrolet Sonic). Due to a schedule change in May, he will score double points in each race in California to make up for missing Rounds 5 & 6 at Lime Rock Park, while Groenke and 2nd place Henry Morse have already scored points for those rounds.
TOMO Racing also welcomes a new partner on board for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Larry Hopkins Honda, in San Jose, CA, joins O’Gorman’s team to support their effort in the season finale.
“We mean business coming into this weekend contending for the championship, and part of that is being prepared for any scenario. Larry Hopkins Honda is a local dealership in San Jose, CA, and will be supporting us with any needs we have surrounding our 2015 Honda Fit. Our race car isn’t far from the street cars Larry Hopkins Honda sells off the lot every day, which gives us a great option in a pinch – I’m thrilled to have them along for the ride with us, Black Armor Helmets, SCCA TNIA, Carbotech Brakes, KTuner, and HPD this weekend!”
The Pirelli World Challenge competitors hit the track Friday, with Rounds 11 & 12 taking the green on Saturday and Sunday.
Pirelli World Challenge TC/TCA/TCB Schedule:
Friday, October 7
Official Practice | 9:30 AM – 10:00 AM PST (12:30-1:00 PM EST)
TCA/TCB Qualifying | 12:30 PM – 12:45 PM PST (3:30-3:45 PM EST)
Saturday, October 8
Race 1 | 11:45 AM – 12:35 PM PST (2:45-3:35 PM EST)
Sunday, October 9
Race 2 | 8:45 AM – 9:35 AM PST (11:45-12:35PM EST)
Live timing for all sessions will be available at www.world-challenge.com, along with live streaming race coverage. Follow Tom O’Gorman and TOMO Racing online at TOMORacing.com, on Facebook (TOMO Racing), and on Instagram/Twitter (@tomoracing).