Portland, OR (PRWEB) June 19, 2008
Professional racecar driver Todd Harris will leave behind the classroom and skid pads at his Pro Drive Racing School to challenge the internationally famous four-mile circuit known as Road America. He is the president of Pro Drive, Inc. at Portland International Raceway, and has been competing in a variety of motor racing events throughout North America over the past 18 years.
Harris is contesting two Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) classes at the 53rd Annual Piggly Wiggly® June Sprints® this weekend at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. He is entered in the GT1 class with a full race modified Corvette that used to compete in the professional SCCA Trans-Am series, and is sponsored by Fluge Global Adventures (FGA).
"I'll be challenging some of the best drivers in America this weekend, and hoping to throw them a curveball they weren't expecting," Harris said.
The FGA Corvette is the same mount Harris rode to the Rose Cup title last year, and to a second place finish this month. However, to be eligible for the GT1 class the engine has to be changed from 380 to 310 cubic inches. That means about a 100 HP decrease from Rose Cup configuration. The competitors in the GT1 class consist of 200 mph Corvettes, Camaros, Jaguars, Monte Carlos, Porsches, Panoz and Mazdas.
His tube frame GT racecar, built by Derhaag Motorsports, produces over 650 horsepower and will be one of the fastest entries in Sunday's race. Derhaag Corvettes have a Trans-Am race winning heritage, including victories at such famed circuits and events as the Long Beach Grand Prix, Cleveland Grand Prix, Road America, Laguna Seca and more. His crew will consist of local racing experts Pat McFall, Gary Bockman and Dane Dennison, and he'll pit with the Derhaag team.
Jim Derhaag, team owner of Derhaag Motorsports, has entered Simon Gregg in the June Sprints, and is fielding one of three Corvettes he has built in the 30 car field.
The four-mile circuit at Road America is known for its long, high speed straightaways. "Jerry Hansen told me years ago that the only time you take your foot off the throttle is for the pace car and checkered flag," Derhaag said of the former multiple national champion and race winner.
"The competition is going to be tough," Derhaag explained, "and you're going to need a good, solid platform with lots of horsepower." His team has won four SCCA National races this season, and finished second twice.
Harris is also contesting the Spec Racer Ford class along with fellow Pro Drive teammates Steve Fogg, David Oliver and Jim Murray. Spec Racer Fords are 100 horsepower identically prepared rear engine cars built especially for racing. Todd has competed at four different race tracks this season in Spec Racer Ford: Phoenix International Raceway, California Speedway in Fontana, Calif., Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, Calif., and Portland International Raceway.
He has eight starts in 2008 with eight top three podium finishes, including three wins and four pole positions. His career Spec Racer Ford record stands at 85 starts, 68 top three finishes, 48 pole positions and 45 wins.
"Making the transition from 650 HP to 100HP will be a challenge, but not something I'm unfamiliar with," Harris explained. The four-mile race track at Road America goes by a lot faster at 190 mph than at 120 mph," he added, "but the racing principles for going fast and winning are still the same."
GT1 practice starts Friday at 12:40 p.m. central time, followed by qualifying Saturday at 10:55 a.m. The green flag falls on the GT1 race field Sunday at 1:15 p.m.
About Todd Harris:
The son of an amateur race car driver, Todd was immediately attracted to the sights and sounds of competitive auto racing and started his racing career in go-karts. Before moving into the world of car racing, Todd won many regional and state karting championships. The transition from karts to cars went smoothly for Todd, as he claimed many victories during his rookie season of car racing.
The Tigard, Oregon resident continued his success by becoming the Northern Pacific and Oregon Region Champion while setting track records at race tracks up and down the west coast. During a two-year period, Todd won 17 races in a row while racing in Sports Car Club of America's most competitive class, Spec Racer Ford. In 1997, Todd received the "National Driver of the Year" award from the Sports Car Club of America's Oregon Region.
In recent years, Todd has been competing and winning races in a wide range of race cars including sports racers, formula cars, and grand touring cars. If it has four wheels and a motor, chances are Todd is going to be fast in it.
This exceptional driving versatility was most recently evident when he entered races in a 125cc go-kart, a Mazdaspeed Miata, a Spec Racer Ford, and a 650 horsepowered GT1 Camaro all within a few weeks. He finished with three wins and a second.
When Todd is not behind the wheel of a race car, he is coaching drivers ranging from amateur club racers to professional racecar drivers competing in the likes of NASCAR and IndyCar. He can also be found on local television and radio stations offering valuable driving advice to motorists.
Todd is a graduate of Portland State University, an avid guitar player, and classic film buff. He and his wife Jennifer have two sons, Calvin and Taylor. They love to watch their daddy race!
Todd has combined his passion for racing with his extensive teaching skills and engaging personality to become a highly respected professional in the driving industry.
About the Road America June Sprints:
Over 400 amateur competitors race in 24 classes during this event, one of the Sports Car Club of America's (SCCA) largest races. Road America's history dates back to the early 1950s when public street races in the Elkhart Lake area were a part of the SCCA national championship series. When street racing became illegal in 1952, participants and supporters joined efforts and raised funds to develop Road America. The track held its first event, the SCCA National, on September 10-11, 1955. The inaugural June Sprints® was held the following year, June 23-24, 1956. Today, the 14-turn, 4.048-mile track holds its original configuration and continues to challenge the world's best two- and four-wheel racers.