Going it alone
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.