Preparing Boys for Life.
Fords in Four: John Tecce '94
The Haverford School

In Fords in Four, we ask an alumnus four questions; he shares insights and stories. In this blog post, John Tecce '94, the director of BGB Motorsports, shares his career path from finance to motorsports, and reflects on important lessons from Haverford about following your passion and not being afraid to learn new things. 

Can you recount a faculty member that really influenced you? 

When I reflect on my Haverford years, what I remember most was the level of attention we received from the faculty and the relationships we forged with our educators. I genuinely felt like our teachers truly wanted us to be the best that we could be.

If I had to pick two that helped me the most, I would say that it was without a doubt my Spanish teachers Rogene Austell and Rafael Laserna. Spanish was my best subject all through high school and that was because of the Spanish department. An advantage I had was my being educated in the hallways by Mr. Laserna who had taught all three of my brothers before me.  Even in Form I, he was training me for the years to come. Ms. Austell made sure we knew almost as many words in Spanish as we did in English, and we were taught to write as well as we could speak it. Both of them helped me on my Georgetown application that required I write an essay in Spanish. When I got to college and they tested us, I was placed into a Spanish program that had a more intensive writing requirement than my English classes! I have lived in parts of the country where Spanish is spoken frequently like New York City, Los Angeles, and Florida and to this day, people ask me why my Spanish is so good. When I tell them l studied it in high school, they are rather shocked. I often find myself thanking the two of them for their gift of excellent education.

How did you get started in the motorsports industry?

After college, I worked as a financial analyst for a Wall Street investment bank in New York City.  During a time of restructuring for the bank, my boss John Moore made an investment in a race team. I always had a passion for cars, and I had been to a few Indy car races.  He invited me to a race at Watkins Glen in upstate New York to see his new race team in action. Being in the pits of a major endurance race was a completely different experience and I was blown away. I immediately knew I wanted to be part of that world. My banking background gave me a skillset that allowed me to create a Microsoft Excel model that could calculate fuel mileage and predict pit stop timing. Later that summer, John was taking a race-prepared BMW he owned to Pocono Raceway for a track event that allows any sports car to turn laps, and he asked me if I wanted to do some driving in exchange for all of the hard effort I had put in at the track and in the office. That weekend in July of 2000, my life was changed forever. Not a month goes by that I don’t wonder what my life would be like had I not gone that day.

Over the next few years, I went to racing school, got my competition license, and began racing at the amateur level myself. I still had a full-time finance job in Los Angeles, and I was helping the race team during my off-weekends from work. In 2005, I was given the opportunity to run the team full-time in a managerial role. But we needed a full-time race engineer in the shop, so I began teaching myself about that side. I am very fortunate that along the way I have had some very smart people mentor me. At the same time, I tell people to never underestimate what you can do if you jump in the deep end with both feet and teach yourself to swim.  

During those years, we campaigned two to three Porsches in a road racing series owned by NASCAR called the Grand American Road Racing Series. From 2005 – 2013 we raced professionally, winning races and championships. In 2014, we decided to restructure the business and turn it into a retail operation that built race cars, sold parts, and took gentleman racing at the amateur level.

When I reflect on my Haverford years, what I remember most was the level of attention we received from the faculty and the relationships we forged with our educators. I genuinely felt like our teachers truly wanted us to be the best that we could be. 

What is the most exciting or rewarding part of your work? Are there any successes that you’re especially proud of? 

I discovered this sport late in life, and with the support of customers and my partner, I have gotten a lot of opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. The most exciting part has been winning races and ultimately winning two championships in 2012 and 2013, and those successes come from the hard work of many people. My efforts at BGB enabled me to find success by being able to set up race cars and find the right drivers to win races. It allowed me to be competitive in something I never thought possible. We now have a renowned brand all over the country and the world.

In 2012, the racing sanctioning body asked me if we could build a Porsche Cayman that would be able to run the famed Rolex 24 at Daytona. Over the course of two months my staff and I built a car from the ground up. I was able to drive in what would be considered the Super Bowl of sports car racing. We finished third in that race and went on to win a championship with our small privately funded effort that took on a multi-million dollar factory effort from Mazda with unlimited resources. Attending the awards banquet in New York City and being on stage with some of the best in the industry will always be one of my fondest memories. In 2014, the entire landscape of sports car racing changed; now only factory-built race cars are allowed to run that race. We built the last privateer race car to ever run the 24 hours of Daytona and it’s the only time a Porsche Cayman ever ran that race.

The biggest things that I started to understand at Haverford and have taken with me later in life are that you can always learn something new; you can always teach yourself anything you’re passionate about; and most importantly, relationships are everything. 

What lessons did you learn at Haverford that have stayed with you? What advice would you pass on to current students? 

The biggest things that I started to understand at Haverford and have taken with me later in life are that you can always learn something new; you can always teach yourself anything you’re passionate about; and most importantly, relationships are everything.

For current students, I think it’s important to find things that interest them. You will always apply yourself when it’s something in which you’re interested. I think that’s the lesson I learned later in life that I will teach my kids.

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