THE EDITOR COLLECTIVE GREATNESS
“Think how many titles have
been lost by one pitlane mishap,
one poor strategy, one driver
error, one piece of bad luck”
We want the red one! Kia Motors America let us put its Pirelli
World Challenge Optima on its assembly line in Georgia
before Richard Dole started our In Focus shoot. It seemed
appropriate: that’s where the GTS race-winner started life.
nine-time Le Mans
winner, told RACER
some of the things
he does to maximize
his chances of
making it 10. Take
note, TK wannabes...
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robably the greatest basketball player
of all time, Michael Jordan succinctly
conveyed the hard work and hardline
attitude it takes to succeed in any sport.
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in
my career,” he said. “I’ve lost almost 300
games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted
to take the game-winning shot and missed.
I’ve failed over and over and over again in
my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Almost all the greatest teams in the
history of auto racing could relate to that.
Following Jody Scheckter’s 1979 Formula 1
World Championship, it took Ferrari until
2000 to clinch another drivers’ title,
Michael Schumacher’s fifth season with the
team. From the formation of Target Chip
Ganassi Racing in 1990, it took four years
to score the first victory, and two more
years to make a serious run at the CART
Indy car title – which was successful. And
how about John Force Racing? We think of
Force’s 16 Funny Car titles and JFR’s 18
as a team – but it took eight years from
his NHRA debut until his first win (in
1987) and a further three years before
he became champion for the first time.
There are many ways to define a great
team, and one of them surely is the ability
to disprove the theory that it’s harder to
stay on top than to get there. Then there’s
the cliché that’s also a truism – a chain is
only as strong as its weakest link. As Red Bull
Racing – undeniably a great team – is proving
right now, great drivers, great cars and
great strategies aren’t enough to overcome
the deficit of a down-on-power engine. And
think how many titles have been lost by one
pitlane mishap, one poor strategy, one
driver error, one piece of bad luck.
A great team has to collectively do
what a great driver individually does:
repeatedly go faster than anyone else,
while minimizing the number of errors
and minimizing the effect of those errors.
Or to quote the sage Mr. Jordan once
more: “Talent wins games, but teamwork
and intelligence wins championships.”
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