PM360 recently spoke to Mike Hooven, CEO of Enable Injections, about his need for speed.
Mike (right) with racecar instructor Andrew Watts at the Skip Barber Racing School in Sebring, FL.
PM360: In addition to running a company that develops drug delivery devices, you also race cars. How did you become interested in that?
My dad’s side of the family has always been into cars. My granddad actually licensed the first patent to Ford that they ever licensed from anyone. And then they promptly hired him and he worked there for 10 years as a special consultant to the general manager.
So I’ve always had a love of cars, but I got started with racing back in ’97 with a series of lessons from Tommy Byrne, a former Formula One racecar driver, at the Mid-Ohio Advanced Driving School. At that point, I was pretty much hooked.
Mike (center) with fellow students at the Skip Barber Racing School.
What kind of racing do you do?
I race in the Porsche Club of America Racing League, which is for amateurs. We race on tracks around the country, such as Watkins Glen in New York; Sebring in Florida; Road America in Wisconsin (where you can reach top speeds of 150 mph); and the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX. But most of my time is spent practicing or racing on relatively local tracks, such as Putnam Park, which is west of Indianapolis. The races typically include three classes of car: slower Porsches, really fast Porsches, and then medium speed, which is my car.
What model of Porsche do you drive?
It’s an Interseries Cayman. It started out as what they call a spec car, which means it has to meet certain specifications. The engine is completely stock, but everything else is highly modified. Plus, it looks really cool because as part of the spec series the car’s livery—which is the wrap that gives it all of its color—has to be a duplicate of one of the classic Porsches. My car is patterned after the classic Gulf Porsche, which is orange and blue with a little bit of green. It’s just a beautiful car and it drives even better than it looks.
Mike Hooven’s Interseries Cayman racecar modeled after the classic Gulf Porsche.
How well do you do in these races? What is your best finish?
Well, I finished first and actually set the track record in my last race at Putnam Park with a time of one minute and 15.59 seconds. I just happened to have a clear track on my third lap on new tires, which is the best lap when you get new tires, so I decided to let it all hang out and ended up driving an almost perfect lap—well, for me anyway. But I don’t want to brag because one thing racing does is make you very humble. The more you race the more you realize how much you have to learn and how much better the really good professional drivers are than you.