Proof of concept

Proof of concept

The Skip Barber Racing School made quite a splash in SRO Motorsports’ popular TC America championship in 2021, signing on as presenting sponsor (it’s now the “TC America Powered by SBRS” series) and entering a four-car fleet of TC- and TCA-class Honda Civics which have already collected several podium finishes, including a dramatic TC win at the Sonoma Raceway season opener.

The goal, though, was only in part to show off the abilities of SBRS instructors Eric Powell, Carter Fartuch and Mike Stillwagon. The underlying mission was to create “arrive and drive” racing opportunities for the school’s more talented students, and this has already been to the profit of 20-year-old Colin Harrison, the first graduate to step into the pro ranks in an SBRS-prepared TCA-class Honda Civic Si.

Colin Harrison joins a four-car, Skip Barber Racing School-prepared fleet of Hondas in SRO’s TC America.

In his pro series debut at a VIRginia International Raceway track he’d never even seen before practice, rookie Harrison’s performance was noteworthy. He finished a cautious 10th in class in the first race, then a more confident seventh in the second as his lap times improved dramatically.

Harrison (left) was rewarded by team boss Kirk Dooley with a special-edition BRM watch for two top-10 finishes — and for bringing his SBRS Civic Si home intact! — in his pro racing debut.

“I always liked cars, but I never did karting, never raced,” says the Ohioan, who learned car control hustling his Mom’s cars around their expansive, Cleveland-suburbs property.

In 2018, still in high school, Harrison attended a pair of Skip Barber schools, “and loved it!”

The next year, settling in to business school on a full-ride scholarship, he attended a rally school and got his rally license. But by the middle of his second college semester, he was bored… and sorely tempted by a Skip Barber marketing e-mail for a school at Laguna Seca. 

“I’d always wanted to drive Laguna,” Harrison says. “So I was like, ‘Sweet. I’ll do another Two-Day School as a refresher.’ My instructor was Mike Stillwagon and we got talking; and 10 minutes into our conversation, Mike said, ‘Would you be interested in racing Hondas with us? I think you’d be a really good fit for it.’

“It was a huge offer – huge trust on his part.”

You guessed the rest: Checking out of school mid-semester, Harrison got a first taste of the front-wheel-drive Civic in three test days at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas, going from “well off the pace” to “right on the pace” in the Texas rain.

“I was really proud of myself,” he recalls.

Weeks later, he rolled out for practice at VIR.

“We’re proud of Colin,” says Kirk Dooley, SBRS COO whose list of duties includes the TC America program. “He’s the perfect definition of a ‘Skip Barber-developed pro racer.’ As our coaching and development programs expand, we’ll see more racers like Colin go from beginner to pro – and succeed.”

To find out more about the Skip Barber Racing School, head to skipbarber.com.

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