About the Author
Photo by G.Q. Coleman
I grew up in a family that was passionate about auto racing. When I was four years old, my dad would take my brother and I to Sports Car Club of America racing events. We enjoyed every minute and his passion was immediately transferred to both of us.
After earning a BS degree in mechanical engineering at NC State University, I found my dream job when I was hired to work for Electramotive Engineering Inc. in El Segundo, California in January of 1986. Electramotive Engineering later became Nissan Performance Technology Inc. where I continued to work on Nissan GTP cars until the company dissolved in 1993. This experience set my career path in race design and engineering.
In 1993, I formed my own race engineering company, Willes Engineering Concepts. Since then, I have designed over ten different racing vehicles, including three championship winning Mustangs; the 1996 Saleen World Challenge GT2 Mustang, the 2002 ACS Express Trans-Am Mustang, and the 2009 ACS Express World Challenge GT Mustang. I also designed the Smart Racer, a spec car originally built for Costa Rica and later raced in the U.S., and Ivan Stewart's ProTruck, a spec Baja off-road racing truck.
In 2009, I was awarded the SCCA World Challenge Zimmerman Cup for "Crew Chief of the Year".
My latest design, the RealTime Racing Acura TLX-GT four-wheel drive race car, is a three-time winner of the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb Open Class, setting a new time record each year.
For more information see: www.willesengineering.com .