November 8, 2012 by John Schommer
Passion; we talk about it influencing our choices all the time, but passion can also be the fuel that helps you reach your dreams. When you’re told at a young age that you can be anything you want to be, all it takes is that fuel and a little opportunity to reach goals that are just pipe dreams to others.
This week in Heavy Metal Affliction we have the opportunity to meet Pirelli World Challenge driver Shea Holbrook. In 2012 Shea finished fourth in the touring car championship. That makes her the top female driver and an up-and-coming driver in the Pirelli World Challenge. This is just the beginning of what will undoubtedly be an amazing career in racing.
When Holbrook was in her early teens she took to water-skiing. It was here that her drive and fervent determination surfaced. Committed to being the best she could be, she spent endless hours training, practicing, and studying techniques. She went on to hold numerous state, regional, and national titles. All this before she could even drive.
At sixteen she had an opportunity to ride shotgun in a Richard Petty Experience at Daytona. That was all it took, and Holbrook knew that she was destined to become a champion race car driver.
Since then, Holbrook has raced everything from open-wheel and late-models on the oval track, to sprint races and even the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. Here she is in her first race car; this was the her second time ever on the track. After establishing herself as a competitive racer and building up experience behind the wheel, she was able to garner a few sponsorships to kick off her professional racing career, which began in 2010 in the SCCA World Challenge. Holbrook finished sixth in the championship. Not too shabby for a debut year.
In 2011 Holbrook took her car and sponsors to a victory at Long Beach in the PWC. In doing so, she became just the fourth woman driver to ever win a professional race at Long Beach. Those doing so before her– Katherine Legge (IndyCar), Danica Patrick (NASCAR) and Simona De Silvestro (IndyCar)–have mounted successful racing careers at the highest levels of racing, so it only makes sense that Holbrook will follow in the footsteps of those before her. Holbrook also captured the “Best Standing Start” and “Hard Charger” awards in 2011. These outstanding accomplishments very early on in her career speak volumes to her skills.
By the end of the 2011 season Holbrook was wondering if her team’s hard work and accomplishments were going unnoticed. They weren’t, TrueCar Racing and its “Women Empowered” initiative had been watching and waiting. The team signed her for the 2012-2013 seasons and she delivered a successful season of two podiums, seven top five finishes, and five top tens for fourth overall in the PWC Touring Car Championship. Consistent improvement every year, all this while driving a naturally aspirated car in a field of many supercharged and turbo-powered race cars.
In addition to a busy racing career, Holbrook completed college and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communications with a minor in Marketing from the University of Central Florida in May. Quite a year without a doubt, it’s no wonder she has been recognized with several other awards outside of racing for her accomplishments on and off the track.
Despite all her success it has not come easy, hence Holbrook’s motto: “Fear is a state of mind, will is an action taken.” As Holbrook said, “Many told me I couldn’t and that I’d never make it. Especially being a female. It was my ‘will’ to persevere. People aren’t used to women being so passionate, particularly in a male dominated industry. One day I told myself it didn’t matter what people thought, I just wanted to race. And that’s where this quote came from.”
Charities and giving back are a big part of Holbrook’s aspirations. That’s why she is very active in Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, a nonprofit directly benefiting Duchenne muscular dystrophy. She has also partnered with Frito Lay, to raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.
Holbrook hasn’t done this alone. Along with her expert team and partners, the agile and flickable handling of her Honda Civic Si racecar has contributed to her racing success.
Here is what the build sheet has to say about the construction of the car:
“The Shea Racing 2012 Honda Civic Si was specifically built for the Touring Car (TC) Class of the SCCA Pro Racing Pirelli World Challenge series. Additional construction considerations during the building process provide the ability to also race the car in the Street Tuner (ST) Class of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. The Street and Touring classes in both series promote manufactures products as closely to showroom stock as possible.
Honda Performance Development (HPD) maintains a “Body-In-White” program for racers; meaning they provided Shea Racing with a 2012 Honda Civic Si tub/chassis right off the assembly line including only the hood, doors and trunk lid. After delivery of the tub, the next step was to fabricate and install the roll cage and fuel cell structure. Once that fabrication was complete, the entire car including the body panels were powder coated bright white and baked, resulting in a very hard and durable finish.
Shea Racing sourced all of the OEM parts required for the build though a local Honda Dealer. The engine was built and electronically sealed by HPD; the electronic sealing minimizes the potential for a protest of the engine build for illegal parts or construction methods. The engine is not a stock 2012 Honda Civic Si power plant however, but it is built completely from OEM Honda parts. The engine block and internals are from the new 2012 2.4L engine, and the cylinder head and cams are from the 2006-2011 Honda Civic Si.”
Here is the Heavy Metal Affliction spec sheet:
Recently, I was lucky enough to interview Holbrook, read the interview to see what she had to say.
Check out these shots of the Holbook and the #67:
Looking for some video of Holbrook and her racecar in action check out the Shea Racing YouTube Channel
Follow her on Twitter
@SheaRacingTeam, and like her on Facebook
Holbrook would like to thank her sponsors and partners; without them her success would not have been possible.
TrueCar,Lucas Oil,Virgin,K&N Filters,HPD Honda Racing ,Penta,Premier Capital and, Bell Helmets.