Ken Thwaits

I’ve led a wonderful and exciting life! In my teens and twenties I worked hard to make a buck and had little left over after the rent was paid. I still managed to surf big waves and ski steep mountains and I was always looking for that next extreme adventure. In 1978 I went to the Formula 1 race at Long Beach and was so moved by the raw power and speed of those cars that I decided right there and then that I wanted to race cars. One month later I signed up for my first drivers school driving formula fords and began my long journey in motor racing.

My father helped me buy a used Van Dieman formula ford and I prepared that car out of my single car garage. The more seat time I got, the quicker I became and soon I was winning formula ford races on the west coast. We were able to pick up some sponsorship and that allowed me move up a class and race in the then new Pro Formula Mazda series. The first race for the new series was held at he 1984 Long Beach Grand Prix! I started the race from 3rd on the grid and held that position until getting crashed in the famous hairpin. The following year I finished 4th in the Long Beach Grand Prix and picked up a great sponsor that enabled me to have a car capable of winning! I had four wins that year and won the 1985 drivers championship in the Pro Formula Mazda series.

I continued to race in the series the next year but money and sponsorship dried up. I put my racing career on hold for a few years and taught at a drivers school to keep my hand in the game. One of my students allowed me to race his 1988 Camaro in Showroom Stock GT in SCCA national races for a few years and was able to learn the ins and outs of sedan racing.

In 1992 I ran my last SSGT race, got married, had children, started a new business. Life happens sometimes and you have to put your dreams on hold. I worked hard and succeeded in business. I coached little league and raised my two boys. After a 22 year hibernation from racing I decided to get involved in car collecting. I started collecting Camaro’s because I liked racing them and loved Chevrolet and each body style of the Camaro. I also started competing in the Optima Batteries Search for the Ultimate Street Car Series. I won the points championship in 2014 in a Camaro 1LE. In 2017 I was able to win the coveted prize of Champion of the Ultimate Street Car in Las Vegas beating a field of 100 qualifiers in the process.

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