Hello Speedhunters fans! It’s been a while since my last blog from the Spa 24 Hours. Well, my season has now finally come to an end. It was supposed to be over after the finale in the Blancpain Endurance Series at Navarra in Spain, but plans changed and I did two more races before the end of the year. First I went to Vallelunga outside Rome for the Six Hour race there: that was a great circuit with nice weather. Again I thought that would be my final race, but to my surprise it was not – I flew over the Atlantic for one last competition. Speedhunters had something planned for me after meeting a very inspiring bunch of people from Acura at SEMA, and from there on I was suddenly set for my first race on US soil. I was to drive the 25 Hours Of Thunderhill in the brand new front-wheel drive Acura ILX.
I haven’t been to the US very often, so it was a great adventure for me to have a chance to do this. On the first day I actually decided to become a tourist in San Francisco. What a great city, and it was good for me to train a little bit as the streets are very elevated. I also had a look at how to tackle the turns at Lombard street. It looked to me like the perfect place for a soapbox event, which is what I started with when I was five years old.
Well on Thursday morning I started out on the two and half hour drive from SF to Thunderhill Raceway. I had the chance to cross the Golden Gate Bridge on my way and after driving a few hours I stumbled upon the track in the middle of the rolling hills. Practice started the same day and as always when there is a chance to drive I can never turn it down. My nice Stilo helmet was ready for the last outing of the year. I am not sure how it will look for next year. Any suggestions?
The Acura ILX had been built by THRW (Team Honda Research West) and HPD (Honda Performance Development) as an after-hours activity. THRW consists of people with high technical skills and a big passion for motorsport. They are racers themselves and they are all very motivated to compete. In a way I was traveling back in time, as I started with a front-wheel drive car a long time ago in Sweden, and in the same type of event like this. But at that time we didn’t have a bunch of great people from an OEM motorsport department involved. For example, I didn’t have an engine guy that could remap the engine at the race track.