Tom O’Gorman claimed victory and a podium finish in the opening rounds of the Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car season. Driving the #94 GRIDLIFE, SCCA Track Night In America Honda Civic Si, O’Gorman drove to second place in Round 1, a scant .171sec from victory, and went on to win Round 2 in convincing fashion, leading every lap of the 40-minute race. The strong showing ties O’Gorman for the Driver’s Championship lead, and Honda for the Manufacturer’s Championship lead, in Touring Car A.
Qualifying on the front row behind the #4 Mazda MX-5 Global Cup car of Bryan Ortiz, O’Gorman took the early lead in Round 1 late Saturday afternoon. Eric Powell (#95 Subaru BRZ tS) claimed the lead from O’Gorman on Lap 5, and the two would go on to battle for the remainder of the 16-lap race, with O’Gorman finishing just 17 hundredths of a second behind after 40 minutes of hard, fair, racing.
“It was an incredible race, big props to Eric Powell for racing clean. Our Civic was awesome, we’re on a new compound tire this year and we weren’t exactly sure what to expect but they held up. The handling was consistent the entire race, and the car was flawless. I let Powell set the pace at the beginning, but once he got by I couldn’t find back around. The BRZs are strong on the brakes and the low-speed corners, so we have a few things to work on, but we’ll go for P1 tomorrow.”
O’Gorman lined up on the outside front row behind Powell for Round 2 on Sunday, with driver’s fast lap of Round 1 determining the starting order. A last minute change meant another rolling start at the drop of the green, instead of the usual standing start used for the second race of each weekend. O’Gorman again gained an early lead, this time breaking away from the field with a strong opening lap, and managed to maintain his margin until a late caution. With just over 10 minutes remaining, the race resume and O’Gorman was able to break away a second time, powering to victory – his 2nd career win in TCA and 6th in Pirelli World Challenge.
“I knew I needed to lead and break away from the draft. Our car makes speed in the first half of this track, so I knew if I lead into the Esses on both starts, we’d be okay. Then I could manage the race from the front, manage the tires, and the brakes. The car was ‘on point’ all weekend. The Honda Civic Si is the momentum and handling car of this class – it’s just incredible. We couldn’t have done it without the support from GRIDLIFE and SCCA Track Night In America, the technical backing from Carbotech Brakes, Eibach, and Fifteen52, and of course the trackside support from Honda, HPD, and RealTime Racing. I can’t wait for [the next rounds at] Virginia International Raceway.”
Steve Eriksen, Vice President & COO of Honda Performance Development on the weekend’s Honda race results: “Two double podiums in two days of racing! We had three types of Honda Civics racing in three different classes here. It was an impressive debut for the Civic Type R TCR, with the first global podium results for that model. It also was an impressive start for Tom O’Gorman with his Civic Si in the TCA class, with a second-place finish yesterday and today’s win.”
The Pirelli World Challenge Touring Cars return to action at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) for the Grand Prix of Virginia, April 27-29. Spectator tickets can be found at virnow.com, and you can follow Tom O’Gorman online (TOMORacing.com) and on Facebook (TOMO Racing) and Instagram/Twitter (@tomoracing).