CEO Seth Burgett scores big win in debut at Blackhawk Farms Raceway
“Throttle Therapy” is a favorite diversion for many in high stress careers. And for hard charging executives like Gateway Bronco’s CEO Seth Burgett, winning makes that downtime even sweeter.
“Running a privately held business is a demanding job,” said Burgett. “Adding non-profit work, board roles and raising three children with my wife makes for a full schedule. I only take on passion projects in life, for philanthropic reasons or to enjoy with our family.
No matter how rewarding, I look forward to pursuing projects in my limited personal time that keep the stress levels managed. That usually means slipping away for time on the track in one of our favorite racecars. Training as a racecar driver does wonders for my clarity, helping keep the most important priorities top of mind. Our team can feel my focus and calm decision making when I return from a weekend on the track.”
Burgett started his amateur racing career in February, continuing his freshman campaign this spring, competing in a Midwestern Council of Sports Car Clubs event at Blackhawk Farms Raceway in South Beloit, Illinois. Seth competed in his first race with SVRA in February at Sebring, qualifying first in his class and leading the final laps of the race in his 1967 Shelby GT500, a car with its own fascinating racing history. For his MCSCC debut, he piloted a Ford Mustang from an entirely different generation, but with no less a racing history. His 2011 Mustang GT was campaigned in the NASA Championship series in 2011 and 2012.
“Our Mustang GT made its racing debut a decade ago in a run for the national championship in 2011 and 2012,” explained Burgett. “We brought it to Blackhawk Farms in peak condition with it race-prepared for a potential podium position. The car was built by KohR Motorsports by successful racer Dean Martin. We asked R&R Motorsports in Benton, Illinois, to prep the car and my trusted driving coach for the weekend was Zac Anderson, a GT4 class winner at last year’s 24 Hours of Sebring.”
Burgett was racing at Blackhawk with a novice license from Midwestern Council, but that didn’t stop him from storming to a Group 5 Super Performance class victory and overall group win. “We qualified in the rain on slicks in position two and by the time we hit the first corner of the race, we had moved into first place. We never relinquished first place and enjoyed a dominant lead the entire race. We finished number one with about a quarter of a mile lead against the next car, which was a GT1 Camaro,” Burgett noted.
Racing two Mustangs from vastly different eras has given Burgett a unique perspective on race car evolution. “The 2011 has electric steering and modern racing slicks so it goes exactly where you point it,” Burgett said. “Unless the car is overdriven, it works with laser like precision. Hitting apexes within inches is like target practice. The 2011 Mustang provides a high level of satisfaction and control.
The ’67 Shelby goes generally in the direction you steer the car, but it mainly creates lots of noise. It easily understeers, which requires a balancing of the inputs with left foot braking and right foot on the gas to drive the car at 10/10ths up on the limit. Driving the vintage car is really an exercise in balance. It is less forgiving, as one coach has called it ‘diabolical’ when running at the limit. It’s a visceral experience like none other. The 2011 model feels like a scalpel while the vintage race car is more like a leaf blower, going generally in the direction it is pointed.”
Burgett had another motivation for adding Blackhawk Farms Raceway to his racing calendar. “Our vintage 1967 Shelby was raced at Blackhawk Farms Raceway with absolute dominance during Grant MacDonald’s ownership. When I returned to this track, I planned to live up to Grant’s legend in the new car and try to race with dominance.”
Victory Achieved. Mission accomplished.
Subscribe to our Newsletter!
Stay up to date with our latest builds, For Sale Inventory and more.