For just about any racer, there are a couple things that stand out – the first lap led, the first pole position, first race win and first Championship title. For Matt O’Toole, of Wilmette, Illinois, this is the first Championship of his career.
“This is the first championship I have won, so it means a lot to me,” O’Toole said. “To win the championship is a nice validation of the effort I put in to be the best racer I can be.”
For many drivers a rain race is something with which they would rather not have to deal. But for O’Toole, it ended up being one of the most memorable moments of the 2014 campaign.
“My favorite memory from this season was Round 10 at Road America,” O’Toole said. “I started the race in third on a sunny, dry track only to be caught in a downpour mid-race. My crew called me into the pits where they quickly put on a set of rain tires and sent me back out. I continued to drive as quickly and smart as I could, which lead to me finishing as the T1 class winner. I was also one of only six cars in the twenty-car field still on the lead lap. That experience and the feeling of teamwork was definitely a high point in the season for me.”
O’Toole’s lone win came during that wet race at Road America. During that same weekend, he also finished in second on Saturday. His remaining two finishes were in the top five at the June Sprints at the controls of his No. 35 BMW E46 M3.
“The biggest challenge I faced this season was that every track I raced at with SCCA was new to me,” O’Toole said. “I had to quickly learn each track and get up to a competitive speed in a short time frame. While that isn’t a best case scenario, it also pushed me to a new level and taught me skills that I can take with me in the future. From that perspective, it was a challenge that I am grateful for.
“One challenge that I never faced this season was mechanical troubles that kept me in the paddock. Fall-Line Motorsports kept my car running perfectly all season long so I never had any excuses on that front.”
O’Toole had a few special folks to thank for this success during the season.
“First and foremost, I would like to thank my father for making every second I have spent in the driver’s seat over the years possible,” O’Toole said. “I would also like to thank my mom and fiancé for being supportive when my dad and I only give them a few days’ notice that we’ll be away for a race weekend. Thank you to all of the SCCA staff, race weekend volunteers, official partners and sponsors that make this championship possible.
“Finally, I would like to thank the entire staff and crew and Fall-Line Motorsports for taking the stress out of racing and always sending me out in a fast, safe, pristine racecar. Fall-Line is a top-notch team which can help out in any aspect when you want to go racing.”