One of V8 Supercar racing's toughest and most enduring competitors has cited his own experience in encouraging six-time champion Mark Skaife to concentrate more on his driving and the Holden Racing Team in order to return to the top. Ford ...
One of V8 Supercar racing's toughest and most enduring competitors has cited his own experience in encouraging six-time champion Mark Skaife to concentrate more on his driving and the Holden Racing Team in order to return to the top.
Ford Performance Racing's Glenn Seton gave up ownership of Glenn Seton Racing last year for reasons of family and lifestyle, having been a team owner for 15 years. He has now joined FPR, moved to the Gold Coast and has not regretted a thing.
Still he believes Skaife has made the right move by buying HRT -- it's just the accumulation of hats that the Australian sporting great has taken on that has become a burden.
Seton will line up for FPR, which has had its fair share of dramas this year particularly with engine problems, at Queensland Raceway in this weekend's six round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Ipswich south of Brisbane.
Seton and Skaife are childhood friends from the days they used to cause havoc in the garages of their fathers Bo Seton, the 1965 Bathurst winner with Midge Bosworth in a Ford Cortina, and Russell Skaife, when they raced together.
This year marks two decades since Seton made his Australian Touring Car Championship debut in a Ford Capri at the at the now defunct Surfers Paradise circuit in May 1984. This will be the Ford driver's 181st Championship round start.
Sunday's Queensland 300 is the also first event in Seton's new 'home' state since the New South Wales native and long-time Victorian resident moved to Queensland early this year, again to promote the lifestyle for his family.
Seton will compete against his long-time Holden rival Skaife who is also battling in 2004 since taking ownership of the HRT and assuming a number of positions in governance along with the demands of being one of the greats of Australian sport.
Seton, however, believes his great rival has not overloaded himself by buying the Holden Racing Team. Its other interests that he believes are getting in the way.
"I don't believe Mark has taken on too much with the ownership of HRT," Seton said.
"I do, however, think he has taken on too much outside of the ownership of a team and his job as a driver. By that I mean his positions as a TEGA and AVESCO board member, his involvement with Holden Special Vehicles and other interests.
"When I owned a team I was able to control it because I was solely concentrating on managing, owning and driving. Mark has plenty on his books not to mention taking over Project Blueprint, a new model VY Commodore, a new engine and everything else.
"At the end of the day he is driving as well as anyone. I just think the competition is so much harder and the fact that because of the situation he is now in he is sometimes pushing it harder on the track than he should in the search for results."
"If he was focussing on what Mark Skaife does best -- which is driving a race car and being involved in their development-- the ownership issue should not really be a problem.
"It's certainly not the case that he's dropped the ball in terms of driving or his natural ability which is as good as it has ever been."
Seton has no regrets about his decision to give away team ownership. That's not to say he doesn't miss being more hands on with the team.
"The bits I really miss are the day to day involvement with the team and being able to make decisions about the direction of the team," he said.
"I have been reasonably happy with what I've done in the last 18 months but I'd have to say I am disappointed with the way the team has performed this year."
Seton and his FPR team-mate Craig Lowndes have been maligned by problems. But as Seton points out engine problems are not the fault of the man behind the wheel.
To that end he has backed he and Lowndes to help steer the team through the dramas. He pointed to Bathurst, where they finished second last year, as a race that they would still be more than capable of winning.
"I rate Craig as one of the best, if not the very best, driver I have seen," Seton said.
"And the way I have been racing I haven't looked like a complete goose behind him. Things will get better for us, we just need some time for it to turn around."
The Queensland 300 could have a big bearing on the outcome of the championship. It is the first single race format of the year where everything is on the line in one race this Sunday. It also spells the start of the enduro section of the season.