#1 - So who is Ricky Silva ?
"I'm 28 years old born and raised in New Jersey and a full time Master Tech at Toyota. I've been messing around with cars since the age of 14. Worked with 2 GM Racing teams in the Hot Rod and Pro FWD class in the NHRA days for 3 years. Last year I got to be a part of a Formula D drifting team which was a cool experience and something different then I was used to. I started racing my first car (92 Mitsubishi Eclipse AWD) at the age of 17 at local test and tunes and small races. I built my current car at the end of 2010 which ran a best of 9.2 @ 160mph on a 67mm turbo and a stock trans. We then transformed it to be more competitive in the SFWD class into what it is today. We've ran a best of 8.870 @ 173 mph and a 8.875 @ 174.6 mph this season. We won the Honda Day Englishtown race which was my first career win. We've been able to qualify the car in the top half of the field at every race this season. Also made 2 final round appearances and 2 semi final efforts this season. As well as qualifying #1 at the Fall IREV race at MIR. My team consists of a few friends who help me out at the track Fernando Cunha, Brandon Perkins, Steve Oliveira, And Tim Gunzenhauser handles our videos and media stuff. I have had the pleasure of working with some great companies this year which have contribute to our success."
#2 - What single part or technology development would you consider to be the most important piece of the puzzle for how quick the SFWD cars are running today ? "I would say that the turbo technology of today is far superior of what was available in the past. Nowadays you can get a 67mm turbo well capable of 900+whp and 72mm stuff that will push 1200+whp. Secondly the transmissions available today are also big help in making these cars a little more reliable."
#3 – In an ideal world we would all be getting paid to race our cars but we know that will rarely be the case. Throughout the course of a racing season what are your top 5 expenses to keep your car competitively running and be able to attend the events that you do? "Oil-Changed every event Fuel- As Needed But roughly 5 gallons an event Tires- Every 10-15 passes or roughly 2 events Transmission Parts- We periodically inspect the trans and if we find something that's not up to standard we replace it. Engine Parts- We perform a leak down\compression test after every race to keep an eye on the engine wear. As well as inspect the bearings after every few races to make sure we can prevent premature failures."
#4 - If you were not drag racing a SFWD Honda what would you be racing? "I would have to stay i would probably be back at my roots of racing DSM's or an EVO."
#5 -Grassroots drag racing has seen a huge resurgence in the last 4-5 years and is currently the most important segment of sport compact drag racing. As someone that has raced your own car and worked for some of those older corporate supported race teams what is the most important thing you see that could be targeted to bring the corporate interest back to Sport Compact Drag Racing ? "The attendance at the races is a big key. You are seeing full fields in most classes as well as lots of people in the stands. Take look back at the Honda day events for example the amount of people that came out for those events was just insane. And that's what the corporate companies want to see is a following that they are willing to invest in. They want to see what kind of exposure they are going get which is something that has started to get bigger with the video and photo coverage of all the events."
#6 - NHRA Pro Stock Drag Racing is known for neck and neck racing where your reaction time could determine the race. A couple of sport compact drag racing classes are quickly bringing this same neck and neck racing to the table. Full fields and races won by tenths or hundredths are very important for spectator growth. What is the key element to maintain and grow the close competition that we are begging to see? "I think that the tight racing is something that comes from everyone pushing each other to run harder or drive harder. Everyone essentially has almost the same parts today be it all motor or turbo. It just comes down to who can execute better and handle the given track conditions better. But there are the cases where you have the faster car that lose to the slower car and that just comes down to driving.....who wants it more....who's willing to push the tree and try to get that's starting line advantage. "
#7 – Maintenance and making setup changes between rounds of competition keep you running at the front and progressing to go quicker and faster. What are the main maintenance and setup points you address between each round of competition ? "After the car comes back to the pits its jacked up and put on stands, the wheels come off and get rotated as well as inspected for odd wear patterns. Then the data logs are pulled and Cunha reviews them to see what changes we need to make to go faster as well as making sure the motor is still healthy by verifying oil and fuel pressure were ideal through out the pass. We give a quick look over the suspension to make sure everything is good to go bolt the wheels back on. Check the oil level top off the fuel and keep the fans on it to help cool it off before the next pass. Right before the make the round calls we give a quick once over under the hood and head out for the next round."
#8 – Each week the cars just seem to be getting faster and quicker. We are already past what we all expected was possible less than 5 years ago. What is the potential you see for the SFWD class to run? How quick can you go within the 25x9 size tire limit ? "Right now that seems to be the hot topic. A couple years ago when Felix Medina and Chris Miller said they didn't see why 8.5-8.6 wasn't possible people thought they were crazy. But now a few years later with the natural progression I think their right that we may very well see a car dip into the 8.6 range before the end of the season given the proper conditions are set forth. And with the available technology and the turbo's getting better I can honestly see it getting quicker in the next few years."
#9 – With that ET and MPH potential in mind what are you currently working on with your car to obtain the performance progress needed to get there? What is more important for you at this point in the game – Horsepower or Chassis Setup ? "Right now we are working on getting the chassis setup a little better. We currently make more power then we can use in the lower gears so we are working on getting the car setup a little better to utilize that big power down in the lower gears. But at the same time more power never hurts too. So having a good balance of a well setup chassis and the right about of power to get the job done from round to round is important."
#10 -- What part does social media and the Internet exposure in general do to aide in the progress of your racing efforts? "I think social media and the Internet is huge now a days. It has such a broad reach that its insane. Being we don't really get any major TV coverage the Internet is the next best thing. You have people all around the world following your progress and watching what your doing without the Internet and social media that wouldn't be possible. That's something that sponsors like to see is their products being seen and represented for the whole world to see. Which in return attracts more companies to want to invest in our industry and sport." Your time is very much appreciated Ricky and here is a quick plug for everyone that you want to thank for helping you get to where you are today. Stay on top of what Ricky and the CLM Motorsports camp is up to at http://www.facebook.com/CLMmotorsports
CLM Motorsports ATP Turbo Headway Performance Turbo By Garrett Injector Dynamics T1 Race Development Boost Factory Web Cams Full Race Grafx STRD FCS Race Tri-State Motorsports E-Racer Productions