Steve Moore's passion for cars started as a kid, writes Elton Smallman.
A Hamilton man who left New Zealand for the world of American motorsport has taken the reins of a top racing team in the 2013 IndyCar world series.
Steve Moore, 37, a former Melville High school student, left for the United States 15 years ago with a dream to work fulltime in the motorsport industry.
He has worked for KV Racing Technology for the past six seasons and is busier than ever in his new role.
"We are a professional race team in the IndyCar world series that races all over the USA, Brazil and Canada," he said.
"I have been appointed the team manager so I am responsible for the complete day-to-day operations of the factory, all the logistics of getting cars, equipment and people all over the world and I am responsible for the budgets as well."
Mr Moore took the step after a former boss, Steve Richards, secured a job for him as a mechanic in the United States. He now lives in Indianapolis with his wife, Rachel, and their three children Aleya, 12, Keegan, 8, and Holden, 3.
"I jumped on a plane seven days after I got the phone call, came over and never left," he said.
Since then his career has grown from building cars to pit duties, before becoming crew chief and then operations manager.
"I just started at the bottom as a mechanic and through working hard I worked my way up the ranks."
Mr Moore learned his trade working on cars in the garage with his father. He left school to work at Waikato Clutch Specialists but had no formal training in mechanics and takes on this leadership role with no business qualifications.
"The last 17 years I've learned a lot from mechanics to business management," he said. "Part of my success is the fact that I've worked on the floor, I've worked with the mechanics and I've been a part of every part of the operation in every department. It has helped me move forward in my career."
KV Racing Technology operates a "multimillion-dollar budget in the range of $15 to $20 million" and it is a testament to his on-the-job training that he takes on the job in the middle of tough financial times in the US. "With the economy the way it is, it doesn't help our business. It is very difficult to find money to go racing because it is a luxury - it's not a necessity."
Mr Moore's passion for motorsport started early. His father, Richard Moore, raced Minis for a decade in local rally cross and car club racing and said his son was never far behind him.
"Steve was always hanging around helping me when he was a little fulla," Richard said. "He was always mucking around in the workshop when I was working on the cars and things."
"When he was 11 we went to kart racing. I was the mechanic and he was the racer and we had about 10 or 12 years of that."
Richard's wife, Margaret, is a motorsport fan as well and they are "immensely proud" of their son's success.
"He was going to get on a plane anyway regardless of whether he had a job before he left or not," Richard said. "That's how passionate he was about it."
Steve attributes much of his success to his time growing up in Hamilton and said he has the backing of a whole family of motorsport fans. His wife, Rachel, is from Cambridge and her father raced cars locally and in the United States.
"There is a lot of motorsport background in her family which helps because she has the same passion as me," Steve Moore said. "The hours we do and the travel, the time away from home and family, so behind me is a strong wife who has supported me my whole career."
"The main force behind where I am now is my father and my upbringing. I absolutely 100 per cent believe that right from when I was a young boy in the garage running around with tools and learning the trade - it has come from my father."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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