Gary Sheehan has been driving racecars since 1992, but his interest in racing started from the time he held is first toy car. The suburbs of Boston, MA were definitely not a racing mecca, but his enthusiasm for the sport continued to grow. It was during his sophomore year of high school that he decided he was going to be a racecar driver.
Although his family was living comfortably, they did not have the financial resources to get him started in the expensive world of motor sports. He understood he would need to find a way to fund himself. He dedicated himself to the pursuit of that goal over the next several years.
Gary knew that he would need to find employment that paid well enough to fund his racing development. After graduating high school he began his studies at the University of Massachusetts in electrical engineering. During his time at university he read every book he could find about auto racing and taught himself heel-toe braking and double-clutch downshifting in his street car. In the spring of 1991 he earned his BSEE degree and accepted a position in a major telecommunications corporation in Dallas, TX.
By the summer of 1992 Gary had saved enough money to attend his first professional driving school. He enrolled in the week long Grand Prix Racing class at the Jim Russell racing school in Mont Tremblant, Canada. His first day at the school proved to be an eye opener and Gary realized that driving Formula 2000 race cars was much more involved than it appeared on television. With added determination, he quickly got up to speed and by the end of the week he was chosen to attend the top student runoffs at years end. The runoffs were both Gary’s introduction to the stress of driving in competition as well as his first exposure to racing in the rain. His fourth place finish was quite respectable considering the karting experience of his competitors.
Over the next three years Gary continued to spend his personal income on additional racing schools and driver searches. He competed in the 1994 Horizon Motor Sports Driver Search and won one of the three finalist positions out of 100 plus competitors. The finalists were awarded free entry into the 1995 Bridgestone Racing School Formula 2000 Championship racing series. This was a huge opportunity for him as it provided plenty of much needed seat time at no cost. Gary captured his first race win towards the end of the season and finished fourth in the championship.
Gary continued to compete in the Bridgestone Racing School F2000 Championship racing series in 1997 and 1998. The constant professional level coaching he received during this time kept his growth as a driver on a steep learning curve. He raced the full season in 1997 and finished 2nd in the championship. These two seasons were excellent development years for Gary due to the constant coaching from the Bridgestone Racing School staff. By the end of the 1998 season he had accrued 12 race wins, four 2nd place finishes and two 3rd place podiums.
Over the next several years Gary branched out to race several other classes of race cars including Spec Racer Fords, front wheel drive sedans (including a Mazda MX3 and Honda Del Sol) and a 500+ HP supercharged Ford Mustang. He also spent several days testing the ultra-high performance Barber Dodge Pro Formula Reynard open wheel racecars.
By this time Gary had moved to Northern California and was continuing to work in the telecommunications industry. In late 2000 he started a motor sports marketing company under the name of Sheehan Motor Racing. Gary entered the 2001 U.S. Touring Car Championship with the support of several marketing partners, including Subaru of America. Sheehan Motor Racing had the only professional Subaru WRX race car in the country, competing on the track the very same month the WRX was debuting in Subaru dealerships across the country.
Gary continued to compete in the U.S. Touring Car Championship with the Subaru of America WRX through 2003. He and the team have had great success developing the WRX as a road race car and his driving skill has earned him a podium position in every race over the past two seasons. All told, the team has racked up seven race wins, nine 2nd place finishes, four 3rd place finishes, 20 podium finishes and five pole positions. Sheehan Motor Racing is still the only team racing the Subaru WRX at a professional level in the United States.
In 2004, Gary moved up into higher levels of racing and has had significant success in the Grand-Am Cup series. In his first Grand-Am Cup Grand Sport race at Le Circuit Mont Tremblant, he qualified in 2nd place in an Audi S4, led the first half hour of the race and set the fastest race lap, which was a new track record for the class and still stands to this day.
This success generated interest with several automotive publications. Several auto magazines have requested Sheehan as a test driver for car comparisons and tuner vehicle competitions. Publications include Road and Track SPEED, European Car, Sport Compact Car and EuroTuner.
In April 2006, Gary made his World Challenge GT racing debut in a Subaru Impreza WRX STi at the Long Beach Grand Prix. This marked the first time that a Subaru STi was raced in the extremely fast GT class. The race car, crew and driver were fan favorites during the entire Long Beach event.
Most recently, Sheehan was selected as the lead testing and racing driver for the Suzuki of America entry in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. The endurance effort, led by team principle Marshall Pruett, will field a highly modified Suzuki SX4 AWD car in the E2 class. Updates regarding this effort can be found on Road&Track.com