It’s often said that locally owned businesses are the heart and soul of a city, and by extension, a nation. By that standard, one would be hard-pressed to find a more compelling story than BRracing. The B stands for Bruce, the father, and the R for Robb, the son.
The Todd family is well known locally and beyond, having run BRracing for 17 years. Located at 15553 Los Gatos Blvd. #5 with an additional location in Campbell, BRracing is a multi-faceted operation with three divisions: street car factory maintenance and service, street car performance upgrades and a full Motorsports program.
The Todd family are multi-generational Los Gatans. Bruce and wife Cynthia grew up in Los Gatos and attended Fisher Middle School, Los Gatos High School and UCLA. Before that, Bruce did his elementary schooling at Daves Avenue and Cynthia at Blossom Hill.
Their two children, Robb and Christine, attended Blossom Hill, Fisher and LGHS. Christine has been a math teacher at LGHS for over 10 years. All of Bruce and Cynthia’s grandchildren attend either Daves Avenue or LGHS.
Robb’s son, Karter, is a 2023 LGHS graduate and currently attends West Valley College. He handles all of BRracing’s photos, videos and social media for the business and motorsports team.
Karter’s Instagram handle is @ktmedia_photography.The company focuses on street car factory maintenance and service for European cars including Audi, BMW, MINI, Mercedes and Porsche.
They have over 20 years of experience in direct car development and preparation experience, a byproduct of Bruce and Robb’s experience and ingenuity. Bruce touts BRracing as the largest independent European service center in the South Bay, with approximately 7,000 customers, while also scoring the highest customer satisfaction score of any service center.
They do street car performance upgrades for European cars, including wheels, tires, suspensions, difficult “tunes,” exterior and interior, just for starters. What makes BRracing special is just about everyone in the Todd family is actively involved in the business.
Robb gets to work alongside his dad, and for that he is truly grateful.
“Aside from my wife and my children, my father has been my best friend for as long as I can remember,” Robb said. “I’m gifted with the opportunity to work with my best friend on a day to day basis. We’re so blessed to work together as a true family business. To be given this opportunity is beyond being able to express in words.”
Robb said what makes the father-son relationship dynamic synergize in the workplace is how they relate to each other.
“We operate together, but he operates the service and enhances the business side and I operate everything on the motorsports side,” Robb said. “It’s a true shared opportunity.”
BRracing’s renowned motorsports program—the largest Porsche race program west of the Mississippi—gained further accolades this year as the proud organization won the Porsche Sprint Challenge GT3 Cup and GT4 North America USA West car series championship, along with the 992 Porsche Cup Car team championship.
Surrounded by a great team and sponsors, Robb won the GT3 Cup USA West Pro-Am champion driver championship this season, earning six wins in 12 races on six different tracks in five states, including famed race courses Spring Mountain, Sonoma, Laguna Seca, Indy and Circuit of the Americas.
Driver of the No. 252 car, Todd raced in events that at times were 30-competitors deep, featuring Porsche 992 Class GT3 Cup cars that produce 510 horsepower at 8,400 RPM. The 41-year-old Todd took tremendous pride in winning a championship this season, as the last time he regularly raced was in 2016.
This year, Todd was driving one of his clients’ race cars.
“I raced this season and delivered on every element I could,” he said. “I wanted to prove at age 41 I could go and beat anyone that was younger than me and I did. This was probably my biggest appreciated year because being over the age of 40, it’s kind of a do I still have it kind of mentality. Especially when you’re competing against people who are in their teens to early 20s to early 30s.
“They’re going to have more natural reaction times, their physicality is a lot different, the ability to train is different. So it really was one of the more amazing years as a driver because as a driver I still was able to prove myself that I still have it and that I can achieve whatever I set out my mind to do. Before the season started, I said I wanted to go and dominate the series and I wanted to make a statement with it.”
As an added bonus, social media’s widespread influence also helped boost BRracing’s profile this year.
“Because of what we did, it brought so much more awareness and attention to our program, our team and to what we could do and provide to our customers,” he said. “That to me is why it [winning the championship] was such a big deal.”
Compared to Formula 1 or NASCAR, the Porsche Sprint Challenge GT3 races are exactly that—sprints. They’re 40-minute timed races with no pit stops, tire changes or refuels. But make no mistake: even though the Porsche Sprint Challenge races aren’t considered endurance contests, drivers need to possess tremendous stamina to finish a race strong.
“My internal cockpit temperature averages from 130 [degrees] at some tracks to 168 inside the car at Circuit of the Americas in Texas,” Todd said. “My average heart rate is 130 to 178 beats per minute. My physical trainer and training program is no different and actually more intense than most football programs that are currently training football players. Reason being our bodies are exposed to different variations of G forces, but for a longer duration of time.
“While in football you may get blasted or smashed by a tackle and the amount of exertion could be 10 to 12 G’s, my accident at Coda [Raceway at Circuit of the Americas], I had a brake failure at 168 mph and smashed into another car at 100 miles per hour and I hit 38 G’s on impact. We’re in a race for 40 minutes delivering maximum effort, and our focus is determined by how much you’re able to train from a physical and mental standpoint.”
Todd has always had a need for speed. When he was 10, Todd said his family took him to Maryland to visit the Naval Academy because his dream was to become a fighter pilot. But a routine health check put the kibosh on his passion at the time.
“I found out very quickly I would not be able to pursue my wonderful dream of becoming a fighter pilot because my vision was not 20/20 naturally,” he said. “At the time, they wouldn’t allow corrected vision for fighter pilots, so that very quickly shot my dreams and blew it up into smoke.”
It didn’t take long for Todd to find another speedy pursuit. A year later, Bruce was driving Robb around the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds when they happened upon a competitive go-kart race. Robb was mesmerized.
“I begged my father to stop to see it,” Robb said. “So we did and I told my dad at age 11 that this is what I want to do. Like every father, he looked at his young son as if to say, ‘Oh yes, I’m sure this is what you want to do.’ He didn’t take me very seriously, but I continued to pester him for the next year, constantly asking, ‘Can we do something?’”
Robb finally got the answer he was looking for. Bruce took Robb to the renowned Jim Hall Kart Racing School in Oxnard. Robb said he became the youngest kid to ever attend the prestigious school, which built him a special kart. Robb said he adapted to kart racing “very quickly” and had a natural skillset for it.
He entered his first race at 12, was lapped multiple times and shoved off the track.
“It was the most humbling and worst-best experience I ever had,” he said. “It was a very uncomfortable event, but I didn’t let it get to me mainly because I felt like you can only get better from where you start. I made it out and told myself I’m going to be better than them and I’m going to beat them. I got into full-time kart racing and at age 16 became a grand national champion. Then I went into senior karts and won additional championships.”
Robb continued to race but upon graduating high school, he decided to bypass the pursuit of a professional racing career in Europe in favor of earning a college degree and getting a job in the tech industry. He went into software sales and said he was skilled in the art of making a sale.
“I like to use the term that I could sell ice to eskimos,” he said. “Even if people didn’t need it, they buy it because I’m very personable and help them understand the value of what they’re investing in.”
Robb worked at a couple of different companies before being laid off in 2006. Now at a crossroads, Robb vividly remembers the conversation he had with his dad when he came home that evening to tell him the news.
“I told him I don’t know what to do, only that I want to do something different that will impact people’s lives,” Robb said. “I said I want to change people’s perceptions of automotive repair and service.”
A year later, his daughter was born, as was BRracing.
“My wife will never let me forget it,” Robb said. “Our daughter was born, and I was restless from the stay at the hospital. We put her in the car and I drove my wife and daughter to my mother’s house, dropped them off and went straight to the shop and worked from there forward. My wife will never let me forget that.”
By the early 2000s, Robb said he and his dad had gained a semi-decent following in the BMW racing community after they constructed and made their own race car out of their garage. As things progressed over time, BRracing was formed and has become well known among car enthusiasts in the South Bay and beyond.
Robb will never forget the dynamics at play when his dad bought a 1996 BMW 328i from a Walnut Creek resident approximately 20 years ago.
Their conversation as to why they were purchasing the BMW gives a snapshot into their mindset and approach toward their passion.
“It was a very pretty black color, but we didn’t care about anything cosmetic,” Robb said. “We’re looking underneath the chassis, the frame, making sure it’s straight. The seller said, ‘Don’t you want to see the leather, interior amenities?’ We looked at the gentleman and said, ‘Well, no sir, we don’t care about any of that.’ He said, ‘What do you mean you don’t care?’ We told him, ‘Sir, we’re going to take your car home tonight and we’re going to gut it completely down to the frame, down to the metal.’ He looked at us with stunned eyes, ‘You’re going to do what?’
“I said, ‘Well, we’re going to make a race car out of it.’ The gentleman says, ‘Well, I don’t know if I want to sell it to you then, it’s a beautiful car.’ We told him, ‘Well, we have cash.’ We hauled the car in our trailer, put it in my parents’ garage and dad and I stayed up till 4 in the morning, stripped it down to the bare metal chassis so we can have a roll cage installed into it. We built our own race car out of it.”
With Bruce having a mechanical engineering background and having built race cars his whole life, and having passed his knowledge down to Robb, the Todds have a keen understanding of how suspensions work and the dynamics behind how a chassis flexes.
BRracing has already started their “silly” season, or the off-season, where they make plans for the following year. It hasn’t been determined yet whether Robb will race next season, but in either scenario he’s focusing on finding a corporate level sponsor that can continue to help the team pursue a championship.
“I think it’s conceivable to win a title next year and 2025, but we have aspirations for the team to jump up to a higher level and the only thing that will allow us to do that is find corporate level sponsorships so we can help corporations gain notoriety and increase their level of visibility,” Robb said. “As of right now we will be currently in the Porsche Sprint Challenge for the 2024 season and looking to expand the calendar in terms of the number of events we’ll be involved with and grow the team anywhere from four to six cars, a full-time effort.”