Todd Therkildsen Joins Winding Road Racing
By Winding Road Staff
March 17, 2016
Todd “Therk” Therkildsen moved to Winding Road Racing as our manager of Trackside Services in early 2016. In that role, Therk manages race car prep, transport, set up, data logging, coaching, maintenance and hospitality for Winding Road Racing (WRR) customers.
Therk told us “The WRR arrive and drive (A&D) program is designed to allow customers to focus on racing by relieving them of the need to spend time on setup, repair, documentation and transport. For some busy customers, like corporate executives and professionals, an A&D program is what makes it possible to go racing at all. Otherwise, these folks simply don’t have the time to do all the work that is needed.” For other customers, especially drivers who want to work on skill development, A&D means they can put all their attention on driving. When working with a coach and/or making intensive use of data, this freedom is very important.
Therk brings an impressive background to WRR. He comes from Elan Motorsport Technologies, where he worked on the DP02, DeltaWing and NP01 programs. He started at Elan as an engine builder and then supported engine development for the DeltaWing.
When Elan began developing the NP01 in conjunction with NASA, he moved to that program, working on development and testing. Once the NP01 was completed, he took charge of trackside customer support, travelling around the country to give customers an opportunity to test the first NP01s. In that role he also supported two customer teams running the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, where the new car completed 514 laps in its first race outing.
“Working on the DeltaWing and NP01 projects really got me fired up about supporting the overall quest to go faster. I love putting it all together, whether it is car set up, engine tuning or data analysis,” says Therk.
For the 2016 season, Therk has managed the Winding Road effort in SCCA Pro Global MX-5 Cup. He and his team also run customer arrive and drive programs in NASA Spec Iron, Spec Miata and NP01 classes.
Like many racers, Todd was interested in racing from an early age. In the mid-90’s, his mother worked with a non-profit that had connections with an IndyCar team running a car driven by Lyn St. James. Therk recalled, “I was 10, and I got a model of Lyn’s car and watched her race. I loved it, and I still have that model.”
Photo courtesy of LynStJames.com
Therk went into the military, which fed his interest in cars and mechanical engineering. He was a Tank Commander, where he led a team running two M88 Hercules armored recovery vehicles. Therk explained to us that the “the M88 sports a V-12 twin-turbo diesel making 1050 hp, which sounds cool, but the vehicle weighs 140,000 lb, which puts a damper on the fun.”
Photo courtesy of dmitryshulgin.com
Part of his military tour took him to Germany, where he owned an Alfa Romeo Spider and an Audi S3. He and his friends frequently went to the Nurburgring for hot lapping in those cars. They also were regular visitors to the local karting facility where they competed in Rotax TAG karts.
After leaving the army, Therk went to school to get his applied science degree, specializing in high performance engine building. Therk holds engine block, cylinder head, CNC and Mill certifications.
With those skills, he was hired at Elan prior to graduation. He commented that “I learned a lot at Elan, but one of the most surprising moments was when the company acquired the DeltaWing and we started testing with Katherine Legge. None other than Lyn St. James had helped Katherine in her racing career, so I felt a little bit like serendipity was working in my favor.”
Therk is looking forward to working with clients and to building race cars for them. His first build project is the completion of WRR’s Elan NP01. We’ll keep you posted on how that goes.