Clay Williams races the #60 Team JCW MINI in the TC class of TC America powered by Skip Barber. Heading into Sebring, Clay is second in the TC points having scored four wins, including a sweep at Road America.
SRO: How did you get started in racing?
CLAY: I got started in racing when I was seven years old in go-karts. My neighbor happened to have a go-kart and I just fell in love with it! After begging my dad, he took me to the local kart track to make sure I really liked it. Next thing I knew for my next birthday I got a go-kart and I was on from there!
SRO: What was your path to the SRO? How did racing with NASA prepare you?
CLAY: My path into SRO was through Tomas Mejia, who used to drive with LAP Motorsports, the MINI Team. He introduced me to Luis Perocarpi, the team owner. On my debut weekend I was able to get third in TCA!
Racing with NASA taught me the core of racing on a big track. Looking for flags, fire spots, all the different safety things that come with a bigger track unlike a kart track being so much smaller. It has also taught me how to race in such a tight class. I drove in Spec Miata and still do today. It was more about the driving then how fast your car is and I learned a lot from that.
SRO: How did you get connected with the MINI team?
CLAY: As I mentioned I was connected to the MINI Team through Tomas Mejia, who I grew up karting with. Funny enough, I believe he discovered the team though Colin Mullan. The three of us actually raced karts here in Northern California growing up together.
SRO: What does being an ambassador for Donate Life mean to you?
CLAY: Being an ambassador for Donate Life is very important to me. Donate Life is a non-profit organization promoting the donor registry on your driver's license and bringing awareness to the transplant community. My mother received a liver transplant 32 years ago and went on to have my sister and I. That organ was donated from someone who had passed on but registered to be an organ donor. In early 2000, she had skin cancer, 2014-2015 she had breast cancer, and in 2020 right in the midst of COVID she was informed that she needed a kidney transplant. I was unable to donate due to my age and my father previously had kidney stones. My sister was an exact match! They successfully donated my sister's kidney to my mother and they are both doing amazingly! After, seeing everything they went through, I wanted to use my platform to raise awareness of this cause. If you ever look at the top of my helmet, I have a Black, Green, and Pink Ribbon. Those are signifying skin cancer, liver and kidney disease, and breast cancer.
SRO: Sounds like your family is made of pretty tough stuff! What is your off-track training like?
CLAY: A lot of my off-track training consists of iRacing, simulation work to help memorize the tracks and corners. Especially, if I haven't been to that particular track. Along with that, I do a lot of running and cycling to keep me focused, blood flowing and my adrenaline high!
SRO: What advice would you give to those looking to race in the TC America championship?
CLAY: Be prepared to learn a lot fast! Most of the time you will be traveling to tracks you haven't been to and you only have so much time to learn them. It’s important to gain as much knowledge of that track before you arrive to be that much more prepared. Also, make sure you know the fundamental tuning tools your car has. Coming to so many different types of tracks you will be making many changes to your car's setup and need to know what to work on to be successful with your team!
SRO: Thanks Clay. See you in Sebring.