G-Force Performance Center’s founder, Mike Norman, has been working with precision and technical products all his life. He started building super-detailed plastic models as a kid. Then, by the time he was 10, he was rebuilding 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines in his garage. At the age of 16, Mike formed his first business repairing and painting motorcycles for insurance companies. He's never stopped exceling at what he does.
So far, in his career, Mike has worked as a mechanic in several motorcycle shops, service manager in several more. Then, he started his own shop in 1989, G-Force Racing, and has carried the G-Force name through the decades. In addition to the G-Force franchise, Mike has carried positions as Customer Service Manager and Field Service Manager for Ducati North America; been the Product Quality Engineer for Kawasaki Motors Corporation; been the Group Leader for the Quality Assurance Department of Honda Performance Development, before being promoted to Test Engineer II, running IndyCar engines in multi-million dollar dyno facilities.
Mike is a high-achiever, where he doesn't settle for good enough. He strives for the best in everything he does.
1987: Mike started racing at Willow Springs Raceway. Unfortunately, he ended up with a pretty serious back injury.
1988: Mike moved from San Diego, CA to Sacramento, CA to become deeply involved in motorcycle racing. It was close to Sears Point (now called Sonoma Raceway) and the home of the largest motorcycle roadracing club in America - the AFM. Mike became the "Sponsor" for a popular racer with his motorcycle, and his talents as a wrench.
1989: G-Force Racing was born. From his garage, he converted the 61hp CBR600F-1 into a fire-breathing 90hp beast that opened the eyes and ears of many veteran racers in the 600 classes. Over the next few years, he "sponsored" several racers with his motorcycle putting the bike on the podium on a regular basis.
1994: he partnered up with Mike Canfield of Chandelle Motorsports in Carmichael, CA, to form a powerful tuning team effort for many more years. Mike and Mike killed many a brain-cell together on the dyno chasing that proverbial horsepower.
1998: Mike got a call from Dan Kyle. Dan had just left Erion Racing to start his own shop, so he moved to Monterey, CA to be Dan’s lead engine builder. Dan, former two-time "AMA Engine Builder of the Year", showed him a few tricks, but quickly missed G-Force, and his customers missed him.
1999: A former customer of Mikes’ wanted to open up a shop and asked if he wanted to partner up with him. G-Force Performance Center opened in San Jose, CA during the big economy surge known as the "dot.com". Business grew faster than they could keep up with, again earning a reputation for fast, reliable race engines as well as honest, detail-oriented and quality service to street bikes of all types.
2003: The economy crash (aka "dot.bomb") caught up to G-Force and the financial strain was enough to close G-Force once again. The shop was no longer a retail business, however G- Force moved to an even nicer location with more space and continue the development of the NC-30s & NC-35s as a hobby.
Ducati North America moved its Headquarters for their US operations from New Jersey to California, about 7 miles from where G-Force was last in operation. Mike happened to be in the right place at the right time, talking to the right person and landed a job in their Customer Service Department. Mike started as the Customer Service Manager, then a District Service Manager, and then a Technical Liaison working with customers and dealers to resolve concerns with the current line of Ducatis.
2009: Mike left Ducati and accepted a job with Kawasaki Motors Corp. as the Quality Engineer for all Motorcycle and Mule products in the United States. He moved to Southern California in order to take the job, but continued to travel to G-Force in Northern California at least once a month to work on the development of their NC450V with the team. As the Quality Engineer for Kawasaki, he researched all concerns with the products, performing failure analysis to determine the root cause and corrective action. The goal being to improve the products to be the best possible product for the end user.
2011: Mike accepted a job at, Vindicia, Inc., as a Software Project Manager, which brought Mike – yet again – back to the Silicon Valley.
2013: After nearly twenty years of trying, Mike landed his “Dream Job” working for Honda’s IndyCar Engine Development facility. In 1993, Honda opened their Race Engine Development division in Santa Clarita called Honda Performance Development. Mike had been driven to work for them. Year after year, submitting resumes with no response. In 2006, Mike had met someone that knew people that worked in HPD. So, he submitted his resume through them. At last, contact! Mike interviewed with, and was offered a position with HPD. Unfortunately, with some other family issues going on, Mike was unable to accept the offer for position. It was heartbreaking to say the least.
However, in the summer of 2013, Mike finally got the break he was looking for. Once again, he was contacted by HPD, interviewed with, and was offered a position as the Group Leader of the Quality Assurance Department. So, in October of 2013, Mike and family moved back to Southern CA to start working at his dream company - Honda Performance Development. After only a year and a half of hard work and dedication, Mike was able to prove his knowledge of racing engines to the Sr. Management of HPD, and was promoted to Engineer-II of the Engine Test Department. In this position, Mike was responsible for one of the IndyCar engine dyno test cells, running the A&D Dynamometer, alongside Engine Development Engineers.
Honda did indeed win the 100th running of the Indy 500 in March of 2016. This was definitely a pinnacle career achievement for HPD, as well as in Mike's career.
Sadly, the end of the line for Mike at HPD came when his spinal injuries required enough surgery to prevent Mike from being able to continue at his position in the Dyno. Those injuries have still not completely healed, and Mike had not been able to return to work for more than 12 weeks. Honda could no longer hold a position for him, so he is no longer at HPD.
2018: Mike accepted a role as the Lead Engine Development Engineer for Saleen Automotive. Mike was tasked with designing and developing the new Clean-Sheet engine for Saleen’s latest Supercar, the Saleen S1. This role would only last a short time, until Mike was back to working on his spinal health and recovery.
2020: Mike, his wife, and their fur-baby Riley moved back to the Sacramento, California area where they bought a house and said, “No More Moving!"
2021: Mike Leased a new shop space where G-Force Performance Center now re-opens to the public.