We Talk Cars with Honda Racer Tom O’Gorman
Civic Type R Pro driver has raced a near-stock Civic Type R at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill and gives us all the dirty details.
Honda-Tech recently had a chat with Honda racer Tom O’Gorman. Also known as “ToMo,” he is instantly recognizable at the track with his signature glasses. With his season for 2017 having recently wrapped, O’Gorman raced the #18 2018 Honda Civic Type R for Honda Research West at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill raceway, and we wanted to find out all about it.
Honda-Tech: How did you initially get involved with racing?
Tom O’Gorman: My dad started taking me to Mid-Ohio when I was still in diapers. We sent to just about every spectator race there in most of the ’90’s and 2000s, so I was always a racing fan. I got a PlayStation as soon as they came out and I only had racing games for it. It was what I would eat, sleep and breathe. But I didn’t know much about the racing other than that I was obsessed with it.
Going into my teenage years, my older cousin got involved with autocross. My dad and I were aware he was doing this, and finally after seeing an event, realized how much fun he was having. My dad at the time had also just purchased a Miata and decided to find an autocross event to try it out. Since I was 14, I had to wait a year to get my learner’s permit to participate. But by the time I was 16, I was going to events with my cousin. That had me exposed to national-level autocross competition from a relatively early age, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
You started to do autocross with a Miata. So, what prompted the switch to Honda?
Of the six cars that I’ve owned, three were Miatas and three were Civics. But when I was doing autocross I was usually the co-driver and not the car owner. Eventually I found a niche for the ST-prepped Hondas because the field would have a lot of those, and CRX models as well. For autocross, I never really thought of it as leaving one brand for another. I just simply had a lot of experience in ST-prepped Hondas.
When I started road-racing four years ago, I bought a 1991 Honda Civic base model. It was the 4-speed 1.5. I thought it was awesome. Through that car I met the manager of customer sports with HPD. The following year I bought a B-spec car. I bought the Fit because if you looked at results from B-spec races, the Fit was consistently placing well. Luckily, I had great results with that car.
‘By the time I was 16, I was going to autocross events with my cousin. That had me exposed to national-level competition from a relatively early age, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
I really only got involved with Honda Racing as a Honda driver the following year (2017) after buying that first Honda Fit. Another B-spec driver, David Daughtry, and I proposed to HPD that they give us the newest Fit race car for the purpose of winning two championships simultaneously with the same car. David would drive in club racing, and I’d drive in pro races. We did end up winning our respective championships. This year they upped classes for me and put me in the Si, and, of course, the Type R at Thunderhill.