Greg Gill, now president and CEO of the Pirelli World Challenge, served as Group Vice Publisher of RACER and SportsCar magazines during the period in which the company was under the ownership of the Haymarket Media Group. Here are his recollections of his time with RACER. -Ed.
My first interaction with [RACER founder and CEO] Paul Pfanner was like any other interaction with a famous artist. You know their work but you don’t know the artist except by the interaction of their art in your life.
RACER magazine and the other projects that Paul and his team created impact the world of motorsports in the same way a architect guides our daily steps. We do not see it but instead live with the expression of their work.
I cannot adequately explain the impact of knowing Paul and then working on RACER except to comment that it was working with the best in the field where excellence was expressed at the highest level possible.
David Malsher was the editor of the magazine at the time, and he introduced himself with a profound, “Hello, I’m David, I smoke cigarettes and I drink a lot of coffee.” And he did. More importantly, he was tireless in his execution of Editor-in-Chief Laurence Foster’s vision for RACER.
Foster is a genius with an encyclopedic knowledge of global motorsports. Having twice held the leadership of Autosport magazine, he brought his knowledge to the iconic RACER brand, growing the magazine’s influence and impact.
Before joining RACER and SportsCar under the umbrella of Haymarket I had spent 20 years with enthusiast automotive titles such as European Car, Street Rodder, Truckin, and of course Lowrider! I had cross-over experience working with sister titles such as New York, Automobile, Seventeen and Modern Bride, but none of that prepared me for the gravitas of being on a magazine as influential as RACER.
When Foster related Sir Jackie Stewart stories or one-on-one moments with Niki Lauda, you realized you were in a very special place. Quality and innovation were the watch word. Fools were not suffered, and if you wanted to disagree with the accepted thought your argument had to be bulletproof. That passion often translated into friction with our corporate masters in New York and London. Through a great staff and their efforts we were able to keep the business profitable and the integrity of the magazine intact.
RACER was the pinnacle of my 20 years in the media business. The passion and dedication of the racing community inspired me to leave RACER and join the National Auto Sport Association. I wanted to know the experience of motorsports firsthand and not just behind a keyboard or camera. From there I joined WC Vision, the parent company of the Pirelli World Challenge Championships.
RACER continues to be the vision and expression of the best in motorsport and I am proud that we at World Challenge recognize that vision and partners with Racer every year to meet our business goals.