Popcorn! Tech Edition: Meet Joe Legan

Popcorn! Tech Edition: Meet Joe Legan

Joe Legan is the SRO Motorsports America Technical Manager. A face many recognize at the track, Legan is a significant part of the technical team as he coordinates physical and data scrutineering for teams. He also manages homologation and Balance of Performance in TC America powered by Skip Barber Racing School and the new Toyota GR86 in the Toyota GR Cup North America. 

Legan’s story is inspirational to those hoping to find a career in motorsport and highlights a strategy SRO America exemplifies throughout the paddock. Legan initially volunteered to work in tech under Marcus Haselgrove and Todd Ketchum. As a student at IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis), Legan used volunteer work to blend school with the application of his education. After completing his final semester, he was offered the Support Engineer position. 

“In 2009, I returned to college as an adult to pursue an engineering degree,” Legan said. “After spending 15 years working in the automotive industry, I decided I wanted to chase my dream of working in professional motorsports. While I worked in the automotive industry, there wasn’t anything I didn’t do. I did everything from retail auto parts sales, engine machinist, engine builder, dyno tuner, dealership repair technician, wholesale parts sales and independent repair shop management.” 

The initial goal of wanting to work in motorsport came from Legan's upbringing. He was born into a family competing in autocross. Both parents raced, and they encouraged the racing bug in their children.

“My siblings and I grew up with VW Rabbits, Opel sedans, Honda CR-Xs, Honda Civic and even Volvo station wagons serving as race cars and daily drivers,” Legan said. “That was until a 1966 Austin Healey Sprite arrived on a trailer. I spent my summers serving as a mechanic, truck driver, pit crew, course worker and grid worker. Finally, I was old enough to drive and started competing against my father for FTD (Fastest Time of Day) in our class, often swapping FTD back and forth with each run.”

Since his motorsport career began in 2017, one of the highlights for Legan has been passing on the effective immersion of a race weekend. Each race weekend, a STEM and SAE college program is invited out to the track and Legan helps provide examples of all the ways that STEM education tracts can be used in the single application of racing. He described being able to help them apply their classroom lessons in a practical, hands-on application as a privilege.

In 2023, Legan will continue to see those programs hosted. He looks forward to having the new Toyota GR Cup North America at the track under his direction for homologation compliance and more.

“Between the exceptional TRD technical staff and the SRO engineering staff, we have been able to homologate a new car,” Legan said. “We drafted technical regulations and developed processes in preparation for what will be a successful initial year of an amazing single-make series.”

Legan has selected Todd Ketchum for the Popcorn! Tech series. He and Ketchum head west with SRO Motorsports America to Sonoma Raceway. The weekend kicks off opening rounds for the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS, Pirelli GT4 America, TC America powered by Skip Barber Racing School and Toyota GR Cup. Rounds three and four of GT America powered by AWS also occur in Sonoma, California. The race weekend kicks off on March 30 and comes to a close on April 2.