Like most Babson students, Sebastian Landy ’18 has had his fair share of adrenaline rushes (An A? I thought I failed!) and tense moments (That paper is due when?) in the classroom. But unlike most of his classmates, Landy also has experienced thrills and chills on the track as a professional racing driver.
During the summer and in between classes, Landy travels the world to racing series, where he navigates winding courses in sports cars, such as Audis and the Porsche 911, traveling at speeds of up to 160 mph. He wears three layers of fireproof clothing, and the temperature in his car can reach 200 degrees Fahrenheit. And Landy loves it. “I love the adrenaline and creating order out of chaos,” he says. “When I’m in the car, I just get in the zone.”
Landy began racing as a kid when his dad introduced him and his older brother, Forrest ’17, who also races and goes to Babson, to go-karts. At 15, the youngest age at which individuals are allowed to race semiprofessionally, Landy got on the track. And when he turned 16, he started racing professionally.
Landy has a small team—including his dad who serves as his manager—that works with him at every race. But Landy is responsible for much of his own promotion. “Racing is a business. You need to work with companies to find and create partnerships,” he says. “Sponsorships need to create value for the sponsors and for you.” Recently, Landy landed a partnership with a new sponsor, Forto, a maker of coffee-based energy shots. Social media also is a big part of the racing world, and Landy is responsible for all the marketing on his channels, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
But nothing garners more recognition than winning races, and Landy is doing just that. Currently, he is participating in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA, a series that races across the country and spans the calendar year. So far he has won three times and finished second twice, which has helped him hover in the top three for the overall championship rankings. While Landy prides himself on his accomplishments, he also tries to learn from his mistakes. “In 2015, I spent a year racing in Europe in the Audi Sport TT Cup. But I didn’t get there as far in advance of the races as I should have, so I didn’t have enough time to review and prepare,” he says. “It was not a good showing, and I knew I could do better.”
Landy says his time at Babson has been invaluable in helping him succeed in the racing world thus far. “Racing is work. The level of professionalism at Babson is something that no other college has and that has helped me learn how to manage myself well in the racing world,” he says.
Whether he will continue to race after he graduates, Landy isn’t sure. For now, he is happy to be a full-time student and a professional racer, straddling two worlds that compete for his time, energy, and business acumen. “I’m lucky to be able to pursue the dreams I have for as long as I have. Less than half a percent of racing drivers make a sustainable career out of this,” he says. “I don’t know if I want to do it forever, but it will always be a part of my life.” —Alexa D’Agostino