Richmond, CA - The Hankook United States Touring Car Championship series announce the formation of a technical staff for the 2006 season. The new staff will comprise of Joel Gat, Tom Pitre and Bill Arnold and will report to the Chief Steward. The teamís primary function is to ensure that all cars meet the technical specifications. The technical team shares almost 50 years of professional automotive knowledge among many types of cars.
Joel Gat started out modifying Hondas and Mustangs in the mid 90ís, swapping drivetrains, installing motors, etc. Then he purchased a 1995 Subaru Impreza FWD, converted it to AWD, and swapped in a bigger engine. The car became a weekend toy for various track, autocross, and off-road events, and at one event, Gat met Gary Sheehan of Sheehan Motor Racing while Sheehan was preparing one of the first Subaru WRXs in the US to compete in the USTCC. Gat became the TeamSMR Crew Chief and helped the Subaru finish second overall in the Championship three years in a row, winning the Crew Chief of the Year award for himself in 2002. Gat then returned to the non-racing world where he became a Mechanical Engineer for a small defense contractor. In 2005, he decided to start his own automotive racing business, which is still under development. Gat also lent his hand to Team ART/ESX to build a NASA 25-Hour endurance Subaru, and the team captured 3rd place overall. Gat graduated from UC Davis with a BS in Genetics, and attended the UC Davis law school for his postgraduate work, earning a law degree. He passed the Bar and worked for several law firms until the racing bug fully took over. Gat is a serious mountain climber and he enjoys climbing some of the highest mountains in North America to relax. He currently resides in San Francisco, California with his girlfriend and mountaineering companion, Eleanor.
Bill Arnold is a self taught automotive technician that has been at it since the mid 80ís. In 1990 he opened up his own BMW repair shop and eventually got involved in BMW club, SCCA and NASA events both as a participant and a builder. His vast knowledge of BMWs also landed him a job as a BMW club technical advisor in 1990. Arnoldís expertise as a driver and builder won him the overall honors at Targa New Foundland race for three years in a row. He also won his class in the inaugural Open Track Challenge in 2002. Arnold made his USTCC debut as a driver in 2005 with a BMW 325i. Arnold works and lives in San Rafael, California and lives with his significant other Tammi and their two year old son Derek.
Tom Pitreís passion for cars started out at 9 years old watching his dad put together truck engines. He became determined to become involved with trucks and wanted to be a truck driver. But after finishing high school he decided to serve his country by joining the U.S. army to become a paratrooper and parachute rigger for three years. A graduate of Sequoia Institute, he has been a professional automotive technician for the last 15 years working on cars and trucks. In the late 90ís he joined NASA and got the racing bug working first as a mechanic, then crew chief and then finally started driving himself. In 1999, he earned the title of the Most Improved Driver at NASA. He followed that up with a win at the NASA 12 hour and in 2002 he became the AíPex Integration Rookie of Year at USTCC. In 2003, he finished the season in USTCC in third place in the driver championship.