Oloi Founder Thomas Lee and His Honda S2000
SET UP FOR BOTH STREET DRIVING AND AGGRESSIVE WEEKEND FUN
By Al Khoury
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The stands at any automotive race are typically filled with fans in shirts emblazoned with manufacturer and corporate sponsor logos. Others take it a step further with threads that mimic their favorite driver’s actual gear. But while your old Benetton Formula 1 team shirt is appropriate for happy hour, it may be too loud for your normal daily activities. Oloi, Inc. is a lifestyle brand that draws on years of racing experience to bridge the gap between fashionable clothing and motorsports.
“As a child, I loved racing,” Oloi founder Thomas Lee says. “I love motorsports, I love speed, I love cars.
Lee has worked as a test driver for Formula Renault and Formula 3 and he maintains a stable of high-performance vehicles. Sensing a lack of brands that focus their products on racing, Lee took it upon himself to launch a company that “creates a reflection and connection between the apparel and the vehicle.”
Lee’s deep connection to Oloi can be found in the company logo, which uses the mandarin character for his name. Oloi itself is a Greek loan word that can be translated to mean “everything,” “all,” or “one and all.” This reflects Lee’s approach to life and personal development.
“It is everything that builds who you are today,” Lee says. “If you are successful, it’s not because of one thing; it’s because of multiple things.”
Beyond heading design operations at Oloi, Lee feeds his passion for motorsports by remaining active in the community. The Oloi racing team participated in the 2018 Global Time Attack at Buttonwillow Raceway near Bakersfield, CA. Oloi was also a Turbo Sponsor at Cody Walker’s FuelFest L.A., where Lee featured some of his cars.
More recently, Oloi partnered with BlackArts Racing as primary sponsor for the Asian F3 and Formula Renault 2019 seasons. The collaboration has seen Oloi/BlackArts earn podium finishes on numerous occasions. Oloi is also the Official Apparel Sponsor of goldRush Eleven: The Next Chapter, a multi-state touring rally that features legendary vehicles piloted by notable car enthusiasts. GoldRush Eleven will take place over nine days in June, spanning the Southwestern and Midwestern United States.
Lee’s personal car collection serves as inspiration for Oloi’s design language, and includes some of the most sought-after vehicles to ever hit the road and track. When choosing a vehicle to add to his garage, performance tops the list of requirements.
“With most of my collection there’s a really good reason why I make a purchase. Not just because I like it of course, but because it’s racing inspired,” the self-described track junkie explains. “Whenever the time or finance was allowed, I would schedule around my workloads and make myself happy by doing touges (mountain drives) or track days. Therefore, data is important for me to go faster and beat my personal best.”
Among the cars in Lee’s collection is a Formula Red 2007 Honda S2000. He became the car’s second owner in 2014. The purchase was inspired by a friend who said, “If you know how to drive the S2000 properly, you can drive any car in the world.”
Lee took the little convertible right to Buttonwillow Raceway on September 2, 2014. His first time out was spent learning to drive the car faster and better. With an arsenal of track weapons to choose from, Lee has taken the S2000 to the track just four times. But the experience has already revealed that this underpowered sports car is one of the most exciting to drive, with both expected and unexpected performance.
Lee has put 20,000 miles on his S2000, which was at stock AP2 spec with 68,000 miles on the clock when he bought it. As a daily driver it provides a smooth ride and is set up for both street driving and aggressive weekend fun. Oloi’s Race Day and Sunday Drive pant wear reflect this style of driving dichotomy.
The S2000 can be driven to a track event and back with no problems, thanks to Honda’s storied build quality and reliability. When deciding between the S2000 and first-generation NSX, Lee chose the former for the ease and lower cost of finding parts.
The S2000 is among those in Lee’s collection that has been modified for better performance. With each trip to the track he implemented upgrades. These mods serve a purpose and were done incrementally so Lee could get a good grasp of the car’s performance with each step.
Among the S2000’s modifications are: JRZ RS PRO 2-way adjustable suspension/damper kit, K&N air filter, Radium Engineering oil catch can, Advan A052 tires, Volk Racing CE28 wheels (stagger setup), Recaro bucket seat on the driver’s side, Safety 21 Half Roll-Bar, OEM hardtop with add-on lock-in fixed mounts, and OEM Club Racer aero (CR front lip and rear trunk wing).
Lee built a racing-inspired apparel company from the ground up and Oloi gives him the opportunity to further explore and cultivate his passion.
“I use my job to get involved with racing,” Lee says. “I’m very fortunate to be able to do so.”