When Bill Okell raced the Huffaker Engineering’s, Austin Healey MKIII to a fifth place finish, after starting in 15th position, in October’s 2018 SCCA National Championship GTL race, no one saw this one coming, as three new racing opportunities were presented to the Victoria driver, all with ownership commitments. After many hours of talks, meetings, negotiations and discussions, Okell will race and drive-to-own the McKinney Motorsports Nissan 240 SX in the upcoming Sports Car Club of America’s U.S. Majors Tour Western Conference Championship.
This will be Okell’s fifth consecutive year competing on the US Majors circuit, as the Pleasant Hill, California-based Nissan racing team will compete in the GT-3 race class, where his main competition this season will be the likes of Mazda Miata’s RX-7’s, Toyota Supra’s, Honda Acura’s and BMW’s. The Nissan 240SX is a purpose built, tube-framed chassis, ground up hand-built race car owned by Chuck McKinney, long time SCCA National and NASPORT driver and Race Director for the NASPORT Series, here on the west coast of California. McKinney built the Nissan back in the mid 90’s and the pedigree is a fast one as the car finished second at the SCCA National Championship at Laguna Seca Raceway back in 2014 and has a long distinguished NASPORT Championship history.
This year’s Western Conference Championship will consist of 14 races over seven weekends spanning three states with the culmination of the SCCA National Championship late October at Virginia International Raceway Park. Okell will race later on this month at U.S. Auto Club Speedway, in east Los Angeles, with additional stops on this year’s tour at Buttonwillow Raceway Park, California, in late April and also a return to the Monterey Peninsula at Laguna Seca Raceway Park in late July. There are no current plans for the 64-year-old Victoria driver to race back in Virginia for a National Championship, as this will be a year of learning and growing. Okell has one SCCA Western Conference Championship to his credit, winning the GTL class in 2017.