Joe Foster has turned a passion for motorsports into a fulfilling career overseeing media relations and logistics for California-based GMG Racing.
This week in the Pirelli Paddock Pass, Joe fills us in how how he got his start in racing, why racing in Pirelli World Challenge makes sense for GMG, and what the team’s ultra-succesful 2017 campaign meant to him.
Where did your interest in motorsports come from?
“I caught the bug early. My Dad was a car guy so I’ve always been into cars, but my passion for racing was ignited by my late uncle Pat.
“He took me to Laguna Seca for my first time and turned me loose in a Mustang and from that point on I knew I wanted to be at a race track as much as possible.
“I found myself racing an E30 M3 in local club racing events, but like many I quickly realized that funding was going to be tough to come by.
“After working in the film and TV business for a number of years I found myself at the track less and less, so I began learning the business side of the sport.
“I met James just as GMG was taking off and the rest, as they say, is history.”
What roles do you have with GMG and what does a ‘typical’ day look like for you?
“Typical day? In racing? I have my hands in almost all aspects of GMG. Some Days are spent working on planning all of our team travel for races, others are spent documenting street car projects in the shop, or I also manage our billing on the racing side.
“Then there’s keeping fresh content on all of our social media channels. There is much more, but at the end of the day my best days are at any given racetrack with the team and our clients.
“What’s interesting is that I started as a volunteer at GMG over a decade ago, worked myself into an entry level position, and now I find myself managing a number of programs.
“I worked hard every day and learn where I can use my talents to help anywhere we needed and it lead me to working right alongside the team owner.
“I made my passion into my career, but it’s never luck, it’s hard work and determination and we aren’t done yet!”
How has racing in PWC helped the dealership and tuning arms of GMG?
“Racing in PWC really gives us true credibility in that world. We have such an amazing staff at the shop that run this side of things when James and I are on the road.
“The dealer network we’ve created is quite amazing worldwide. Add to that a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of Southern California, and we are really one of only a few in the area who race at a professional level.
“Our knowledge and data from the track transfers directly to our road going customer cars, which is a major market advantage.
“The TV and media exposure we get from it is so great as well. We’ve been in the series a long time and it’s a real honor to race among some of the best drivers in the world.”
Between PWC and the club level racing GMG is involved in, how many weekends a year are GMG employees at a race track somewhere in North America?
“Even as we continue to grow, GMG is a grassroots company. We love being involved in as many races and local events as we can.
“Obviously, we know and plan for the PWC schedule, but we are sponsors of the local autocross events and club races here at home.
“At any given time our staff can be racing on the East Coast, doing a track day locally, and attending a car show at home all at the same time. We have a really amazing staff and great team.
“I consider myself lucky to be a part of all of it.”
How significant was James Sofronas’ first series championship last year for the GMG operation after all the years he has spent in PWC?
“James has long been like a brother and mentor to me so to see him succeed was such a joy for me personally, but I can tell you what matters even more to him is seeing our clients achieve success.
“Watching George Kurtz take the GTSA championship was what James was most proud of last season. He is humble in success and exemplifies grace in defeat. It’s truly an honor to work with him every day.
“So between the two championships for James and George last season, coupled with Alec Udell in 2016, it’s been a vindication of all the hard work.
“Our crew will stop at nothing and often work into the wee hours when called upon to do so, so the significance of all of it has been beyond measure.
“Honestly, it all boils down to our clients both on the race and street-tuning side being able to work with a championship winning team and trust their cars to GMG 100%.”