Popcorn! Meet Morgan Leist.

Popcorn! Meet Morgan Leist.

Pit Lane Official Morgan Leist from San Antonio, Texas, joins SRO Motorsports America every race weekend as a familiar voice across team radios as he stands guard in pit lane. 

As a pit lane official for SRO America, he ensures drivers and teams act in accordance with sporting and safety regulations while in the pit lane for the five SRO series. Many fans immediately think of pit stops; his duty during pit stops includes watching over driver changes, refueling and tire changes.

When it comes to crew safety in terms of personnel and equipment, pit lane officials assist in making sure precautionary procedures are performed and in place. Leist and his fellow officials also help in grid form-ups of cars transitioning from pre-grid onto pit lane before heading out on track for their sessions.

“My favorite parts would be assisting newer teams or one-off starters in getting them acclimated to how our series operates to ease their transition into racing in SRO competition,” Leist said. “Being able to talk and interact with teams and crews throughout the race weekends is another highlight of my role.”

Leist has a wide array of race knowledge due to his lengthy experience of volunteer work. 

“Though I had spent a number of years as a fan, my first role was in 2017 serving as a volunteer Flag Marshal for both IMSA and WEC race weekends at Circuit of the Americas,” Leist said. “After several events over the next two years serving as a volunteer, I joined my local SCCA chapter to increase my involvement in motorsports. Then I expanded from that point onwards into joining Circuit of the Americas as a part-time Track Marshal in 2020.”

In his various roles, Leist worked everything from track days and club racing to working alongside professional race championships such as the FIA Formula One. It was his experience from the many series he volunteered with that brought Leist to the world of SRO Motorsports America.

“Through my experience with Circuit of the Americas events, I began working with SRO, and that led to an internship in 2021,” Leist said. “I originally got involved in racing as a later career change decision to pursue my passion of racing and how much I've followed along with different series and teams over the years.

“I always appreciated the behind-the-scenes element and structure of motorsport operations. So much so that I wanted to be a part of it, based on my own career background in business operations, inventory and logistics work. A decision I'm glad that I have made, as it has helped me develop into the person I am today.” 

The passion Leist speaks of developed over decades of interest and race attendance. 

“I've been a motorsports fan since 2004, starting with following along with NASCAR before transitioning to sports cars,” Leist said. “My first experience with SRO and World Challenge was discovering the GT World Challenge Europe Series and Pirelli World Challenge series in 2014. I was enamored by the close competition and action for several years before working my first SRO event at COTA in 2019. It has been pretty surreal to get the opportunity to join SRO and be where I am now, something I don't take for granted.”

Away from racing, Leist enjoys aviation history. This outside interest often combines with his motorsport career traveling to locations such as Sebring International Raceway, a former air base and Sonoma Raceway, which is outside San Francisco’s famous Naval Station Treasure Island, another former Naval base.   

“A hobby on mine outside motorsports is learning about and supporting military aviation history, particularly World War II time period,” Leist said. “Several members of my family were in the Air Force and my twin brother is a U.S. Army veteran. So, I have traveled around to different museums and attend numerous airshows and Fly-In events over the last 30 years, learning about their history and the men and women who flew them.

“This includes groups such as the Commemorative Air Force, which provides an opportunity to maintain and fly numerous warbird types around the country, sharing the legacy of those that came before them alongside keeping history flying where these rare aircraft are shown in a peaceful and educational capacity.” 

Leist joins the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 2023 season finale, the Indianapolis 8-Hour presented by AWS. Tickets are available for purchase with tickets starting as low as $25 dollars. Join over half a million subscribers on the GT World YouTube page to watch and rewatch the free live streams. Tune in to the Twitch stream on SROMotorsports, where host Ash Vandelay keeps the conversation going with insight while answering questions.