Driver of the Month – January 2010
Name: Liam Dwyer
City/State: Southbury, CT
Profession: Financial Aid Advisor
Daily Driver: 2000 Nissan Maxima, 220,000mi and still kickin!
Family: 1 brother, 2 sisters
How’d you get started in Autox?
In 2003 I bought the Evo, I started drag racing it the next year and quickly got bored. I had heard of something where you drive around cones…..intrigued I looked into it some more. None of my family members prior to me had done it. 4 years later (2008) I got my dad and brother into it.
What you wished someone had told you when you started?
How expensive tires were!!!
What did you drive at your first AutoX season? 2003 Evo, Street Mod
What kind of car & class do you currently compete in?
Nissan 350z Nismo, BS, now going to CS
What made you choose your current autox car?
I wanted a car to run in stock class and something RWD. I had been competing in AWD since I started. I figured RWD would teach me a different way to drive, and it has
Who is your biggest influence in the sport? Why?
I’d have to say my friends, Justin Lau, the Barbatos Bros, Pat Huxley, Nelson Antunes, GJ Dixon, Mike Lodsin, Keith Scala. When I first started I knew nothing of what to look for in course walking, or car set up. I still need help today, but those guys are the people who’ve taught me the most
Funniest autox story, if any?
Riding passenger in my own car with Justin Lau driving in a fun run. Justin was convinced he could go full throttle through this particular section of the course. He tried it, and found out you couldn’t with a dramatic spin and taking out a wall of cones.
Haven’t really had a real scary moment yet. But everytime I see someone run out in front of a car without paying attention, that gets my heart going.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now in the sport? Driving What?
I was hoping to run the Z in BS for a while, but that’s not happening. I’m not really sure what I’ll be driving, preferably something in stock class. My goal is to win a national championship in something. I heard C5 Z06s are getting cheap
In the past year or so, what have you learned to help improve yourself as a driver and your car setup?
Looking even farther ahead and really taking the time to walk a course. Joe Barbato taught me a LOT at DC Pro this year. He worked the course while I had gate duty. He really paid attention to what the fast guys were doing and soaked it all in. He told me what he learned, but I didn’t pay attention all that much. The results showed at the end when I coned every run and he almost won BS in my car… a car he had never driven.
Do you left-foot brake? In your opinion how has this helped you?
I started earlier in 2009 practicing. I don’t like doing it in my car as the brakes are very sensitive. I have done it, but for me it works best while driving a turbo car or something where the brakes are not very grabby up top
What can you tell a Novice who is just starting out?
Be patient, ask questions, and watch what others are doing.
Worst advice you ever received?
When I first started I knew NOTHING of car set up. Someone had me order generic coilovers (which were horrible) and their advice on alignment was completely wrong (toe in all the way around)
Look further ahead and pay attention when walking the course. Never be afraid to ask a question
How much of the sport do you think is attributed to driver skill vs. car setup?
80% driver, 20% car set up. A good driver can make a not so fast car fast. But a poor driver can’t do anything with a modified car.
What is it about autocrossing that keeps you interested?
Nothing is ever the same. It’s a new challenge every week.
How do you critique yourself, during your runs, after each run, or after the event?
I talk to friends after a run, after the event I’ll talk to them and look at PAX results, during a run….I tend to yell at myself say a few ummmm choice words.
What techniques do you use to memorize the course?
Repetition….walking the course many times. I will also focus on what I think will be trouble areas for my driving style and my car. Also, if I’m not running first I’ll pay close attention to other drivers and see what they are doing.
Would you consider expanding your skills to wheel to wheel racing or even doing a HPDE?
I’ve already expanded to HPDE this year and success right away. I love the track
What trophies or titles have you won?
2009 SCCA Finger Lakes National Tour, 2nd place BS
2009 CART BS Champion
2009 CART Time Trialer fo the year
CART lap records this year at NJMP Lightning Circuit, Pocono North/South
2008 CART SM Champ
What is your primary goal for the upcoming 2010 season?
Make it out to nationals and not make a fool out of myself
What was your favorite subject in school?
Did you get any tickets as a teenager?
One speeding ticket when I was 17 in my Mustang.
What is your favorite-
Food- mom’s smoked barbecue ribs
Drink- Non-Alcoholic- coffee, water, orange juice, milk Alcoholic- guiness, stella, blue moon, magic hat, jager bomb, snake bite
TV Show- family guy, rescue me, ALMS