After several years of strictly taking care of business running the Team O’Neil Rally School, Team O’Neil Motorsports, completing a government funded life-saving S.A.V.E. driving simulator program, and finishing a book on rally driving techniques. 53 year old business owner Tim O’Neil is stepping back into the driver’s seat at this year’s Lake Superior Performance Rally. LSPR is known to be one of the oldest, toughest, and meanest rallies in the Rally America calendar. It will be held in Houghton, Michiganon October 26-27, 2012.
O’Neil, who is a Whitefield, New Hampshire resident and business owner, is well-known for his driving career, including five time winner of the U.S.and North America production rally championships. “I have been in training over the past year to get myself ready as best I can” said O’Neil. “I am looking forward to John Dillon being on-board with me, and I’m stoked to be returning to LSPR due to my history there and knowledge of the roads. My goal for this event is to go fast and have fun”
O’Neil has been heavily involved with preparing for and attending rally events all across North America with his own grassroots team, where he enjoys turning our team of employees into champions with drivers like Chris Duplessis, Wyatt Knox, and now Ed “Fast Eddie” McNelly. O’Neil has not driven in a national/international rally since LSPR back in 2006 where he finished second to Ken Block by 24.7 seconds.
Partnered with Ford Racing and M-Sport in 2010, O’Neil will be competing with a Team O’Neil Motorsports prepared 2011 Ford Fiesta R2 along with veteran co-driver John Dillon. When asked about his return to racing after 6 years, O’Neil commented “It’s time to take a break from driving a desk for so many years, and I’m just as jacked up as ever to get behind the wheel again. LSPR is one of my favorite events in the Rally America calendar.”
56 year old co-driver John Dillon has been co-driving since 1995 and has done over 100 events this century. He earned the 2004 SCCA Open Class national championship and the 2008 USRC Open 4WD national championship. Dillon was also one of the inaugural recipients of the Carl Merrill Sportsmanship Award. Dillon commented “I’m looking forward to co-driving for Tim since he’s got a lot of experience behind the wheel and I’m always looking forward to new ways to teach.”
The Ford Fiesta R2 has proven itself during the 2012 Rally America series with Ed “Fast Eddie” McNelly behind the wheel winning the Rookie of the Year title. “No aspect of the Fiesta R2 was overlooked. The engine, transmission, suspension, brakes, it’s all there, and there is no weak link. The R2 is capable of so much, we will be taking it to its limit” says O’Neil.
Be sure to stop by and meet with Tim and John during the LSPR Parc Expose on Friday, October 26th from 1:00pm-2:15pm or Saturday, October 27th from 9:30am-10:30am. They will be more then happy to talk with you and share their stories from the golden days of rally racing.