Go­ing it alone

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle Man -

GlennG Se­ton Rac­ing was set up to field Peter Jack­son-liv­er­ied Ford Sier­ras in 1989, but it could eas­ily have gone the other way.

“At the time, we were ac­tu­ally look­ing at a Sierra or a Walkin­shaw Com­modore. Yes, I was think­ing about run­ning a Com­modore.

“The rea­son to go in the Sierra di­rec­tion was be­cause it was the most com­pet­i­tive car and it was the best way to get to the front straight away,” he says.

The first-year bud­get was $800,000, which was used to set up from scratch in­clud­ing a work­shop, cars, equip­ment and staff.

“The first year was re­ally, re­ally hard. We only had the con­tract to run one car, but we ac­tu­ally built three cars that year. I lost one in that big crash at Lake­side.

“We had noth­ing. I think we had about five peo­ple all up, in­clud­ing my­self and Bo. There

was a lot of work but not a lot of re­ward.”

The cars would win, and Se­ton of­ten showed his skill as a wheel­man, but even­tu­ally the Group A era was killed by the Nis­san GT-R and Se­ton was not too wor­ried.

“The horse­power was great. The straight-line speed was amaz­ing. But they were de­mand­ing be­cause they had quite a small tyre. It was de­mand­ing to make speed out of them.

“We won the en­durance cham­pi­onship in 1990. I teamed up with Ge­orge Fury that year and we won the Sandown 500. Through ’91 and ’92 we were quite com­pet­i­tive and we were prob­a­bly equal or bet­ter than Dick John­son’s cars.”

When the 5.0-litre tour­ing car rules came along the Se­ton team was ready for the new-gen­er­a­tion Fal­con V8.

“We built ours through­out 1992 to run at Bathurst and it was night and day. I re­mem­ber the first time we ran the Fal­con at Phillip Is­land and it was 2.5 sec­onds quicker than the Sierra. It was so much eas­ier to drive, an un­be­liev­able change in di­rec­tion, and I en­joyed it enor­mously.”

This was a great time for Se­ton as he be­came the man to beat in 1993, win­ning the first ATCC run to the new rules, with team­mate Alan Jones as the se­ries run­ner-up. This was no mean feat, given the qual­ity of the well-funded op­po­si­tion – no­tably Gibson Mo­tor­sport, the Holden Rac­ing Team’s VP Com­modores and Dick John­son Rac­ing’s EB Fal­cons.

True, Peter Jack­son Rac­ing was not lack­ing for spon­sor­ship, but the 5.0-litre/V8 Su­per­car era has seen just six or­gan­i­sa­tions win the ti­tle in 22 sea­sons and Se­ton’s out­fit won it twice.

“I was also sec­ond in 1994 and ’95 and third in ’96,” he em­pha­sises.

But the most sat­is­fy­ing was the un­der­dog ef­fort to re­claim the ti­tle in 1997, the first un­der the V8 Su­per­car tag.

“It was af­ter the cig­a­rette era and we only had a staff of six peo­ple. We had $700,000 to do the whole year with Ford Credit.

“Nat­u­rally it was very re­ward­ing. Look­ing back, I owned and ran the team, did the en­gi­neer­ing and driv­ing, and also won as a driver. I don’t think a lot of peo­ple have ever done that.”

Life was get­ting tougher, how­ever, de­spite the re­brand­ing of Ford Credit Rac­ing to Ford Tick­ford Rac­ing in the late 1990s and ex­pan­sion back to a two-car team.

It’s only now, with the pass­ing of time, that Se­ton’s achieve­ment of win­ning two ti­tles in his epony­mously named team can be fully ap­pre­ci­ated. He will go down in rac­ing his­tory as the first V8 Su­per­car cham­pion.

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