Popcorn! Tech Edition: Meet Charlie Leo

Popcorn! Tech Edition: Meet Charlie Leo

Charlie Leo is a Technical Inspector for TC America powered by Skip Barber with SRO Motorsports America. As Technical Inspector, he regularly visually inspects and measures cars in the TC classes to ensure they’re within the technical regulation of the series. 

Leo was first introduced to the world of racing as a child when his father, Kyle Leo, worked with various race teams. However, his opportunity in racing came about more naturally, having experience in those shops himself.

“It just happened to dawn on me one day that it would be something I’d be interested in pursuing,” Leo said. “I have experience working in a shop and at a track from when my Dad would take me to work with him. I would go on to complete the motorsports program at Lanier Technical College in Gainesville, Georgia.” 

From his “aha moment” that encouraged him to pursue a career in racing to his current role, Leo has watched racing as a business and sport evolve over the years, as many others have.

“The highlight of my job is being able to witness the forefront of automotive and motorsports technology,” Leo said. “I enjoy being able to travel even if it is a plus that comes with a hurdle. Trying to balance life on the road with life at home can provide some unique challenges.”

The Georgia native is much more than his job, though and has a few unique hobbies he is known for outside of his automotive abilities. Bryan Sluder chose Charlie as the follow-up Popcorn! story for some of his extracurricular commitments. One of which also included a bit of travel itself.

“I skipped college for a few years after high school to play around Georgia with a few bands,” Leo said. “I was hired for the country rock band Georgia Red Clay. After that, I formed an Alternative Rock band with some friends of mine called The Unread Script. That outfit lasted a few years and would garner the most success of any bands I’ve played in. I then played in a post-Rock band known as Virgil for about a year.

“While I had a blast during that chapter of my life, I found it extremely difficult to find consistent work. So, I decided to pursue something where I would have a more consistent stream of work. It’s also very difficult to establish yourself as an artist outside of a major city. Like most professions, it’s not what you know but who you know. I still play as much as I can during my downtime.” 

Music and more describes Leo the best. He seemingly picks up hobby after hobby as the years tick past. His newest is cycling. Leo cycled to work nearly every day at the kickoff race event for the GT America powered by AWS series in St. Petersburg, Florida.

“You can usually find me listening to music,” Leo said. “I like to practice my six-string and pedal steel guitar, hang out with my friends, or with my nose in a book. There is also nothing a good ride on the bike can’t fix. I typically ride a mix of road and gravel single track. I started to ride regularly about a year ago, and it’s been a life-changing endeavor. 

“What I love the most about cycling is the sense of freedom it instills,” Leo said. “The fact that you could theoretically get on a bike from your house and ride across the country is amazing to me. I also derive a great sense of mental clarity and relaxation from a good two to three-hour ride.”

SRO Motorsports America and five series, including Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS, GT America powered by AWS, Pirelli GT4 America, TC America powered by Skip Barber Racing Schools and Toyota GR Cup North America, bring the 2023 race season into full swing at Sonoma Raceway. The weekend begins with practice Thursday, March 30, and ends with a second round of racing on Sunday, April 2. Tickets for the event are still available.