Kurt Rezzetano works with Subaru Road Racing Team (SRRT). At 26, he already has had a full career in racing.
At Phoenix Performance (the Subaru partner that builds and races the cars for SRRT), Rezzetano’s priority is to work on the #35 WRX STI. He helps prepare the two cars for the track (one used as a show car and backup in case something happens to the race car). His secondary priority is to work on other race cars prepared by Phoenix. Rezzetano commented, “I prepare the Subaru cars, replace their engines, go over the cars. The cars get cleaned when they come back from the track. The engines get pulled every time. The transmission gets pulled. It’s typical to go over the car nose to tail to make sure nothing came apart. We check everything for leaks and make sure the coolers work when we get back.”
At the track, Rezzetano makes sure the car is ready to go onto the track every session. The team checks and rechecks every aspect of the car. He said, “If there is an issue, I’ll go over the wall and try to fix it on pit lane if we can,” he said. “Back in the paddock, we pull the wheels, put it on the scales, make sure no suspension moved, and make sure our corner weights are where they’re supposed to be.”
Although similar in some ways to the path that Jacobs took to becoming a member of SRT USA, Rezzetano’s path had some stark differences. He started earlier in life. What drove Rezzetano to this profession was his desire to work on race cars. Racing seems to be in his blood. His passion for it started at the age of 4. “I have a long racing background, especially on dirt bikes,” he explained. “That’s how I got interested in motorsports stuff in the first place. My dad raced dirt bikes. My grandfather owned a motorcycle shop in Erie, Pennsylvania, and they actually owned their own track for the shop. Motorcross was my life every weekend until 2006.
“My dad went through the whole thing with me. Even after I got on a team and got sponsored, he still came with us every weekend. My grandfather came to a lot of the races, too. It was a big family thing. We raced up and down the East Coast. We raced in Florida every winter to stay fresh. We did indoor stuff – arenacross and things like that. Racing the bikes was a full-time deal, and it gave me a good background to get into knowing what it’s like to travel every weekend, having to maintain everything, and what it’s like to go racing.”
From there, Rezzetano moved to four wheels “… and a roof over my head. I couldn’t afford to get hurt on the bikes anymore.” His race cars included a 2002 Z06® Corvette® and a 2004 WRX.
Immediately before going to Phoenix Performance, Rezzetano was working in dealership service departments. His duties focused on performance cars – on WRX and WRX STI models at a Subaru dealership, for instance. “That’s how I had a Subaru background. It made the transition into working on the race cars not so bad. I did small modifications – exhausts, down pipes, intakes, access port tuners, and things like that.”
Rezzetano met SRRT’s Joe Aquilante at a track where Rezzetano was racing a car that Phoenix Performance had built. An ensuing conversation led to an on-site interview that resulted in his job.
About training for his work, Rezzetano explained, “I started at a bike shop when I was 14. The shop that I was riding out of asked me if I wanted a job. I told my parents I wasn’t going to college no matter what because I was too into the bikes and didn’t have time for worrying about school. The shop owner asked me if I wanted to build new bikes. I worked in four different bike shops.
“I started working on cars when I needed some real money. My uncles were really big into cars. That’s how I learned – by doing. My Uncle Ray showed me how to build engines. He and my dad gave me my mechanical background. That was my schooling. My knowledge was experience based.”