John S. Waldrop
I knew of Race Engineering by working with Graham Cracker Racing drivers, Frank and Chris Graham, that had a 1.6 and a 1.8 Race Engineering race motor[. After a few years of working with the amazing family/team, I bought my first Miata which was a 1994 with a early 1.8 motor. By that time Chris Graham had become the new owner and manager of Race Engineering. After six months of having my car, one day it started to making terrible noises, loss of power, and feeling weird vibrations. So I pulled over and called Chris. He told me to park the car and asked me where I was at. By that afternoon there he was with a trailer. He took my car back to Race Engineering headquarters. It was a five hour drive round trip not including loading the car. He pulled my motor and diagnosed the issue my car was having. He did a complete tear down and Chris was very detailed and informative. He even took the time to explain everything where I could understand it. Chris even took pictures of the process of the tear down. After the tear down, we both sat down and discussed the rebuild of what I wanted. He was very helpful and he gave great suggestions on how we can make a stronger and better motor. So the rebuild process began. He allowed me to be involved with the rebuild by calling and keeping me informed and gave great feedback, along with photos of the process. He even took the time to dyno my car on a chassis dyno to break in the motor properly. After receiving my car with the new motor, I could tell a big difference, not just in power, but in handling and how the shifting was a lot smoother as well compared when I first bought the car. I was, and still am, pleased on what amazing work Chris Graham at Race Engineering did for me. From this point on Race Engineering will always have not just my business but my support as well.
John S. Waldrop
This is a few of the things that our customers have to say about our engines and services!
I heard about Race Engineering from seeing Chris at the track, however I wasn’t sure if he worked on street Miatas as well. I didn’t own a Miata at the time but was curious about the type of work they did. About a year later, I began working with them and was impressed with the amount of work they are capable of! Of course I had to get a Miata too and the one I had was in need of an engine replacement. Once Chris and I discussed the type of engine I wanted, the process was smooth and quick. My new engine has all of the power in the world and I couldn’t be happier with the work that was done!
I’ve raised my grandson since birth and now that he is 22 and moving out of the home, I wanted to make sure that he had a car that would serve him well for many years to come.
I purchased a 1990 Miata….very clean from Phoenix, Arizona in 2010 and we had been driving it, racking up 130,000 miles when I decided to put a fresh engine and transmission in it.
I found Jason Owenby and he rebuilt the transmission and then Jason recommended Chris Graham to me.
Chris and I talked on the phone about doing an engine rebuild in street form (I live in the Detroit area) and after some time I decided to go with Chris and his team.
We carefully organized the project — Chris built up a long block for the Miata and then we scheduled the ‘event’.
I drove down to Chris’ shop — Race Engineering in Salisbury, North Carolina– in one long day (12 hour drive) and dropped the Miata off at about 5pm.
Chris arranged a loaner for me and the next day Chris and his team worked 12 hours and did the complete conversion–on the following day Chris drove the car to break-in the engine and carefully checked all of the installation — both engine and trans.
The following day I drove another 12 hours home with the car running perfectly!!
This was a little bit of an adventure for me and a stepping out in trust that Chris and his team could pull this off in a couple of days — my trust was well founded; they did a great job!! Thanks guys!!
I first heard about Race Engineering from Panic Motorsports. They installed an 1999 engine head with VICS intake from Flyin Miata on my 1995. I told them eventually I wanted to rebuild the bottom end and they recommended Race Engineering. About a year later I called Chris, and he was willing to let me come visit his shop. While there, we discussed every aspect of my build. My plan was/is to build a street car that is capable of running in SCCA Prepared class autocross events. So I could do more than a typical Spec Miata engine. Chris arranged for my car to be picked up in Myrtle Beach and stored it during the entire build. The build ended up being more work than expected due to problems with the FM head (poor valve guides), my custom made intake and some clutch issues. All was done in fine fashion with excellent communication the entire time and I am quite happy with the results. The chassis dyno says 151 peak HP, but due to some issues with the ECU and the VICS at the time, I don’t think that is what the engine is producing now. I am fairly certain that it is at least 10 hp higher – just judging by how more fuel I need to add in the map. Eventually, I will dyno the car again and be able to provide better results. I would highly recommend Race Engineering.
Thanks to race engineering for the quick turn around time on installation of my replacement clutch on my 2006 Miata. Top notch guys and gals! Friendly!
As I stepped into the world of racing, having chosen the class Spec Miata Internationally known as one of the toughest and challenging classes club racing has to offer, I knew I would need a top prepped car. That is why I chose Race Engineering! Bob is known to time and time again offer and support some of the best , most powerful engines in the business. Since this decision Race Engineering has powered me to two Teen Mazda East Coast Championships, several pole positions, and 9 out of 10 SCCA National races in the top 10 with a top step of the podium finish in 2011. Also in 2011 Race Engineering powered Nathanial Sparks Motorsports to a National Championship with NASA! If you are in the hunt for a winning season look no further than Race Engineering.
2011 NASA National Champion
Teen Mazda East Coast Champion
I met Bob Thorton somewhere around 2002. I quickly learned that behind that southern accent was a very smart engine builder and tuner. I’ve personally won club and professional racing championships. In 2006 Bob did all of the fine tuning needed for me to win the 2006 MX 5 cup championship. In my opinion Bob Thornton is the benchmark for other professional engine builders. His engines are always delivered on time, they make the power and the price is reasonable. I highly recommend Bob and his services to anyone needing a racing motor.
If you want to run up front, Race Engineering is the way to go! MEATHEAD Racing has worked with Race Engineering for several years and we consider their engines crucial to the success of our drivers. We have had many drivers that are good drivers, but were never able to get on the podium. Bob Thornton’s engines gave them the edge to finally take home the checkered flag. Race Engineering engines are top of the line, reliable, big motors that will get you to the front like no other product out there.
Bob Thornton & Race Engineering has been a longtime standing friend & partner in Long Road Racing’s Mazda Spec Miata racing program. Dating all the way back to 2005 with the Pro MX5 Cup series National Title, Race Engineering has provided fast, reliable power to keep us at the front. To this day, we are winning races & Championships with their engines. Thanks for all the great race wins & memories Bob!
Tom Long would like to thank Bob Thornton and the Race Engineering team for an outstanding engine package in our pursuit of the 2005 Pro Miata Cup. Their services and expertise gave us unsurpassed results in the fight for the championship with 4 wins, 8 podiums, and 2 track records on the way to victory. To be in contention for the win at every diverse track the series traveled along the East Coast is a testament to how strong and reliable these engines are. Never having an issue in the extensive Pro SCCA tech inspections at each race, this gave us the confidence to know that with any tear down – major or minor, we wouldn’t have to be concerned. It just left us with one thing to do, “Get up on it and be a wheel man!”
Long Road Racing is proud to be one of the pioneering partners with Race Engineering!
2005 Pro MX5 Cup Series National Champion
2011 Grand Am Rolex Series Mazda GT Podium finish
Long Road Racing
The 2011 season with Race Engineering power proved to many Great Lakes drivers the quality, power, and consistency of their product. With a good end to the 2010 season, ’11 was on deck to blow the first season out of the water. With six victories, two podiums, and three top 5’s in 13 starts, we swept the Great Lakes Championship, and also achieved the Great Lakes Driver of the Year for all race groups. Along with our home region, we also competed in the Teen Mazda Challenge scoring two victories and four second place finishes, putting us second behind the tough competition of Nate Sparks. Bob would always be willing to answer any questions we had about the engine to keep us where we needed to be, at the front. Oh, and the congratulatory phone calls at the end of the races was always a nice touch
Thank you Race Engineering for your help moving me to the front of the field, I will continue to prove the quality of your product to new SM competitors in the Midwest!
A few months back I decided to make the jump from HPDE to racing in the most competitive club racing class today. We wanted to find a well built car with all the right parts. With my first race under my belt, I knew I had a good motor. Now with 4 podiums and a win halfway through the rookie year, and the car still not giving up, I was sure that Race Engineering really is the gold standard in Spec Miata motors.
I met the builder of my motor, and I was treated like I knew him my whole life. Any questions or concerns I had he was sure to help me out and help expand my knowledge of the class. I can call him and know for sure my questions would be answered. He even offered for me to hang around his shop for a couple weeks during the summer to learn even more and be more competitive. Now that is service!
Thank you Bob Thornton for all of your support and the wonderful motor you built.
Race Engineering should be your only choice in spec Miata power. I met Bob when I first started racing in the spec Miata class. Despite being with another engine builder at the time, Bob was always friendly and always willing to help. Since joining the Race Engineering family, I know that whenever I pull up to a track, I will never be lacking in the horsepower department. The time and attention Race Engineering puts into the precision and detail of their builds cant be found anywhere else. For me, It was an easy decision to put the Yellow Birdie power under the hood of my race car. Race Engineering should be any spec Miata drivers choice whether you are a club racer or aspire to become a professional driver.
Estus White would like to thank Race Engineering and Bob Thornton for giving us outstanding service and support. E-Speed Motorsports proudly uses Race Engineering engines in our house car, rentals, and new car builds. RE has powered our #00 house car driven by Ess White to two second place and one third place CCPS Championships, only being beaten at the checkered flag of the last race of the season three years in a row by another RE powered car. Every time out, the E-Speed car ran with the big dogs and was in contention for the win. E-Speed’s rental and new car builds are also powered by RE. We wanted all of our E-Speed cars to be capable of winning any race, any track, any weekend. RE has given us the power and reliability to help us accomplish that. I highly recommend Bob, and Race Engineering for power and reliability. E-Speed and Race Engineering make a great combination. I could not be any happier with the results.
Martin and Dan Cooper
Dan and I are going into our second full year in the San Francisco region Spec Miata class. About 18 months ago we purchased a car that had an RE motor installed. I called you and let you know we had taken over the car, and you treated us just like we had bought the motor from you new. You are a gentleman to work with and a man of your word. Oh and by the way you build amazing motors! The word got out about what our motor was producing and people were showing up at our pit to look at it. That said we never have to worry about protest or tear down’s with your motors because we know you will only build “legal”. Dan finished the season fifth overall having completed only half the events. Next year we want to be front runners, and with your motor we feel we have a good chance.
We wish you continued success at Race Engineering Bob and we look forward to a great 2012 season!
Martin and Dan Cooper
2011 5th place SF Regional SMT Championship
Elgin racing for its SM program has been working exclusively with race engineering during the 2010/2011 race season. This change to RE resulted in an excellent year for the Elgin team. We experienced no dnf’s due to motor related issues. Further, we finished in the top ten in almost every event we entered.
There is nothing like sitting on the grid with 40 other spec Miatas knowing you have RE power to help edge out the competition. We would run nothing in our spec Miatas that was not built by Bob Thorton of Race Engineering.
If you are looking to have the edge in the SM world Race Engineering is where you need to go. I have played with Miatas for quit some time and after getting my RE engine in 2011 it opened a new horizon in my racing. Numerous podiums, pole positions with Wins at at VIR, CMP and Charlotte Motorspeedway. Also an overall second place at the highly competitive Carolina Cup Pro Series 2011 Championship. Not to mention that the number one also ran an RE engine! More importantly these guys are great to deal with. I would highly recommend them to anyone (as long as they are not racing against me 😉 ).
Race Engineering provided me with great motors that were both powerful and reliable. Your motors got me victories like the 13 hours of VIR, Brewfest, Road Atlanta, CMP, as well as other top fives including the Devil in the Dark race at New Jersey. Thank you Bob for all your great support and huge amount of dedication.
I have been acquainted with Bobby T and Race Engineering since 2004. Since the first day we have been friends and colleagues. The RE family of customers is the best in Spec Miata. Bob’s presence at the track offering expert advise and wisdom is priceless. As Crew Chief for Meathead Racing, when the current engine program was in need of a tune up, I recommended that we give Race Engineering the opportunity. Since 2010 RE has been the GOLD STANDARD engine in the Meathead camp. I am currently building 2 cars and undoubtedly RE will be the choice for power and performance in both cars.
Crew Chief, Meathead Racing
Crew Member, Long Road Racing/Freedom Autosports
Owner, Crew Chief Services
From an old guy (71 years young) who races with his son for fun. Bob has been great. He is always there for questions and the motors are first class. With RE power my only excuse for mid pack runs is myself. Traqmate data shows it – acceleration with the best – cornering speed not so great. From one of the top SM racers “you have a good motor, all you need is courage”.
Frank Graham SM #20
Race Engineering is without question the best choice I’ve made in my racing career. Not only does Bob build the best engines but his customer service is what really separates him from all the other engine builders. After hearing great things about Race Engineering, I decided to purchase a car that already had a Race Engineering motor in it. The next day I called Bob with some questions and even though I didn’t purchase the engine straight from Bob, he treated me as if I was a customer of his for 10 years. Being new to the Spec Miata class it was priceless to have someone like Bob give me advice and personal mentoring. He took me under his wing and helped guide me to my first win in only four races. Without his engine and his personal help, I believe I would not have been able to win in such a short time. My Race Engineering motor gives me a mechanical piece of mind, and having Bob Thornton as a friend and mentor gives me the confidence I need on the track.
Last event with nasa mid atlantic held at summit point, I finished in my highest positions ever. Received my first top ten at eighth position on sat and sunday finished in the top five at fourth position. I can’t begin to explain how satisfied I am with the engine you built.
Again, I know how most people are these days, only contacting people to complain, so I just wanted to send a quick e-mail to thank you for the continuing support you provide to me.
I want to thank you for building a great motor for my Spec Miata. The horsepower and torque are second to none. You have been a valuable asset to my racing in 2006 and will be going forward into 2007. I appreciate you taking my calls even while busy to help in any way you can. I have gone from mid pack to the pointy end of the field with the help of your Race Engineering motor and advise.
#50 – NEOhio Division
Puskar Motorsports couldn’t be happier with our engine choice in 2006! We had been with an engine builder we thought(and most others) was the top engine builder around. We kept hearing about these RE motors, and then at the 2005 Pro-Miata Cup Championship shootout we witnessed the RE power first hand. Unfortunately, we were not running an RE motor (the winner of that race was running an RE motor) and we left Road Atlanta extremely impressed. So we did some investigating ourselves. After some serious consideration and discussion amongst our team we decided to go with Race Engineering. The result? 1st place finish in driver championship; 1st & 3rd place finish in team championship (two car effort all season); track records set at every track but two; a Nelson Ledges 12 Hour class win and an overall win; and a 2nd place finish at the VIR 13 Hour!!! For 2006 we raced in USERA, a pro series for spec miata endurance racing. We won every round of the USERA series but one, and in that race we finished in second and third place. Not one RE engine failure, and to top it all off the RE engines kept getting stronger and stronger all season! Every race we entered in 2006 was no less than 3 hours long. That’s a lot of hours on these motors, and for them to keep getting stronger and stronger speaks volumes about the level of professional quality that Race Engineering offers. The results speak for themselves, and you can’t argue with that. Thank you from the entire team at Puskar Motorsports! We couldn’t be happier with our engine choice, and look forward to working with Race Engineering for the entire 2007 season and beyond.
Like many mid-pack drivers on a budget I was getting by with a tired high mileage motor. But a few years ago the time had come for the motor to be rebuilt. I asked Bob to build a strong but durable motor. And that he did!! GOBS of HP (I’ll show you the dyno sheets) and rock-solid. Two years later the motor is as strong as ever. And even though I’m not winning championships … like so many of his customers, Bob treats me as if I was. He has been generous with info, setup tips and contacts. I’ve moved up on the grid and set PB times almost every weekend. Hey Bob, about my driving Second only to the decision to enter Spec Miata, this is the best racing decision I’ve made.
You will not be disappointed.
SM #52 SEDiv
I would like to thank you and the rest of the RE team for providing the engine program needed to raise my game for the 2006 season. Our effort yielded five SCCA National wins, the Central Division title, and an overall win at the 12 Hour of Nelson Ledges. Having passed the Runoffs technical checks with flying colors, the RE package has proven to be powerful, reliable, durable, and legal. In short, Race Engineering has been everything I would ask of an engine supplier and more. I wish you continued success and look forward to a great 2007 season!
2006 Spec Miata CENDiv Champion
Gary D. Jenkins
What do you do when you see a championship that you have worked hard for starting to drive away into the distance? That was a question I had to answer as I accepted my 2nd place trophy for the ECR at Carolina Motorsports Park. Once again I had finished second to my chief rival for the ECR Championship. I thought I had all the bases covered. I had the best race team (OPM Autosports), I was using the best brake pads (Carbotech) and I thought I had the right engine package under the hood, yet I was still standing there with another 2nd place finish. The points lead I had built earlier in the year was gone. It was my luck that the answer to my question was paddocked right next to me. Bob Thornton. Bob convinced me that there was more to be had with my engine program and I made what I consider the pivotal decision of my championship season. Pull out a proven motor from a proven engine builder and replace it with something better. My first call with Tom Fowler after the initial dyno session proved that Bob knew what he was doing. I gained a significant increase in both horsepower and torque. First race out with my new Race Engineering motor, we had the field covered with a runaway win at Road Atlanta! Before the season was over the car set the SM track record at VIR-North. The result of the engine change was a championship that I am sure wouldn’t be mine if I had stayed with the status quo and my old engine package. Bob Thornton and the guys at Race Engineering put a beast of an engine under my hood.
Gary D Jenkins
Spec Miata 2006 ECR Champion
Just a moment to thank you and everyone else at Race Engineering for your support this last 2006 season. Race Engineering engines were the key to moving to the front of the pack. Power was second to none. Your advice, tutoring, and friendship, were the mix to help me finish second in the points in the SEDIV this year. Without this mix, it would not have happened. Perhaps even more valuable was your friendship and advise, both were available whenever needed… day or night, shop or track. For this I am indeed grateful. Looking forward to the 2007 National SM Series where I am sure that with your engines and included advise…along with my superb driving ability (HA HA), we can go to the front again on the National level with the number 35 JO Motorsports Miata.
Again thanks for everything.
2006 SARRC 2nd Place Winner
You da’ man! Wanted to thank you for the record breaking season Pombo Racing had in 2006. Pombo Racing had never dreamed of winning 7 of 8 national races entered in a season, but thanks to the monster power Race Engineering put under our hoods we were able to make history for our team. Ever since our partnership began we have never been faster and we thank you for that. You are a true professional and your commitment to your customers and their success is unparalleled. We are looking forward to furthering the Race Engineering domination in 2007. Bring on the Next gen-Coon Dogs!
2006 Spec Miata SEDiv National Champion
I wanted to commend you not only on providing me with a car capable of winning anywhere in the nation but for the coaching and advice. Too many times we fall victim to the next greatest thing to find it was not so great. Well sports fans, let me assure you this is the real thing. My prior road race experience was a huge zero! Bob you took me in like family. You help me understand how the car works, cornering, braking and tire management. I’ll admit I was a little nervous until we got on the track. Right off we were very fast! No doubt that we should have had a top 5 finish in our first event. A few rookie mistakes caused a less than impressive finish but what a great day. Less that a month later we were back at the track with a 6th place qualifying effort beating many of spec miata’s best. Luck may have not been on our side but power and handling were. I would highly recommend Race Engineering and have done so many times. If you are looking for the finest group of people and equipment, don’t waste you time w ith second rate shops, spend your money wisely and do business with Race Engineering.
CEO/RH2way & Nitro Radios
Rush Motorsport would like to thank Race Engineering and Bob Thornton for your support in 2006 and bringing us and our customers the strongest tech legal Spec Miata motor on the market, cumulating in a RE podium sweep in our final SoPac National race. All our RE motors were consistent, reliable and continued to produce full power throughout the season. Bob, keep up with your diligent search for power. Together with our customers, we look forward to another successful season with the RE power plant.
Rush Motorsport / California
William H. Dinkins
MadDog Motorsports is proud to have had the opportunity to be affiliated with Race Engineering over the last several years. We have thoroughly stressed their engines without failure; not the norm today. More importantly, we have found their engines pass tech, are built to spec & produce great torque/power. Their products, support, service & friendship is beyond anyone we’ve ever worked with. They are always there for us, whether we require product, trackside support, or just advice. You can’t beat Bob Thornton!
William H. Dinkins
MadDog Motorsports, Inc.
Steve Bertok, 2012:
Another year of success, powered by Race Engineering. Panic Motorsports ran the competition over in CCPS, ECR, SARRC and even the CMP Spec shootout in 2011. Our engine program with Race Engineering has proven second to NONE, piling up awards and leaving those behind shaking their heads. 2011 CCPS 1st AND 2nd place, 1,2,3 podium sweep at the final race, ECR and SARRC wins to start the 2012 season, and an entire 2011 worth of podium claiming memories. It’s not just the power (which is nice of course), it’s the support behind the program. Constant updates, 100% backing, loaner motor 3 days before an event for a customer in need (!!!) Deals on handshakes and loyalty, something that is lost in a lot of transactions these days.
2008, 2009, 2011 CCPS SM Championships, 2010 VIR 13 hour, and helluva start to 2012. Come get some!!!
Bob Thorton is a customer and vendor to me, and has always been friendly on and off track. Treated me like he’d known me all his life the first time we talked. Time went on, and we’ve done some business. Bottom line there is, Bob does what he says he’s going to do. By and far the most important thing in doing good business. He’s not afraid to share his knowledge, and the stuff he does charge for (hey, everybody’s gotta eat) is worth every penny. Integrity and honesty can be tough to come by in any business, especially racing, but Bob represents both. Race Engineering puts out a great product, and I look forward to getting one of those “puppies” in my engine bay.
That’s what I think man!!
If you want a race engine that runs strong and runs long, Race Engineering is the way to go! In the Spring of 2010, while at VIR, a brand new engine from another builder failed spectacularly. Bob stepped in and built the best engine that I have ever had. It has provided great horsepower and torque and is still running strong. Since that time, I have purchased other engines from Race Engineering. What started as a business relationship has since developed into a friendship with Bob and the Race Engineering family. You can’t go wrong with Race Engineering’s quality and service!