Axalta Racing is proud to introduce its newest partner and brand ambassador, Sarah Burgess, who is in the midst of her fifth season in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series in the Pro Lite class.
“Being a part of the Axalta Racing family this year is a great asset for our team,” Burgess said. “Crossing the Axalta brand into alternative forms of motorsports shows the diversity of the company and their passion for racing.”
In addition to representing Axalta on the track, Burgess, whose sporting career started at the age of five with BMX before she moved into triathlons, cycling, kayaking and speed skating, will serve as an Axalta Racing brand ambassador at several NASCAR races this season.
How did you get started in racing? What initially attracted you to the sport?
Sarah Burgess: “I’ve actually been working on cars and been in the automotive industry my entire working life. How I got into racing cars is another story – I’ve been racing something or another my entire life from BMX, cycling, triathlons, speed skating on roller blades to speed skating on ice. It was inevitable that my passion for working on cars would turn into racing them.”
What is your earliest racing memory?
SB: “I’m a first-generation race car driver, but my earliest memory of motorsport was watching Formula 1 with my dad – he was originally from England, so he was a big F1 fan. My first experience watching motorsports at a race track was NHRA Top Fuel. Then my first time competing was drifting a Mazda RX8 26B (4 Rotor). I guess you could say I appreciate all forms of motorsport.”
Who was your favorite racer growing up and why?
SB: “That’s a tough one due to the sports I was involved with – I had my favorite racers in the disciplines I raced. Also coming from Australia all we really had was V8 Supercars, so I’m a fan of Craig Lowndes for his perseverance and focus.”
Did you have anyone you considered a mentor in the racing world? Who was it and how have they helped you?
SB: “Moving from Australia to the USA was tough in terms of having connections and established relationships; all the experience I had in Australia didn’t quite have any value in the USA and I had to establish new connections. My mentor is Jim Jordan, who at the time when we connected was the Alternative Marketing Manager at Mazda Motorsports. While his advice might have been very blunt, I took it and ran with it; Jim had provided an insight to the world of motorsports and what it involved beyond the race track. If it wasn’t for Jim, I wouldn’t be where I am today both on and off the race track.”
What are you most proud of in your racing career?
SB: “While I am still chasing my first podium in off-road racing, there are so many things that I am proud of in my racing career. The skill set I have is like no other, I wrench, fabricate and work on my own truck, and if there are any issues, I can report back to my crew chief to help diagnose problems. I also get to share my story with a lot of young people; talking to the youth of today and encouraging them of the opportunities that exist in the world if you chase after them.”
How would you describe your racing style?
SB: “Calculated with a touch of aggression.”
If you weren’t racing, what do you think you’d be doing?
SB: “Making cars go fast; being involved with automotive aftermarket industry.”
What are some challenges that are unique to your sport compared to other racing series?
SB: “Every form of motorsports has challenges; for what I do – every lap, every corner changes. There is no consistency in the track conditions and we only have 14 laps to accomplish what we need to do. Plus, we have banked corners, rhythm sections and jumps that can fly us about 15 feet in the air in a 3,400-pound truck.”
What is the best piece of racing advice you’ve been given?
SB: “Keep pushing forward.”
Do you have any racing-related superstitions?
SB: “In all my years of being competitive in different sports that’s one thing that has never crossed my mind.”
How do you relax when you have free time away from racing?
SB: “Living in Utah is simply relaxing in itself, but honestly, it’s in my nature to be competitive or active. We have open (asphalt) track days where our workshop is at Utah Motorsports Campus so if I’m not racing or getting ready for a race, I’ll probably be turning laps in my street car or drifting the prolite truck at a local drift event.”