TEam chEmis Try
“Having been around the block a few times,
I believe racing exaggerates the positives
or negatives of a team’s performance”
TWO- Time CART indy CAR
2003 indiAnApOlis 500
WinneR t’s no secret that I love racing, but I do ften think, “Why do I love racing?”
It’s kind of a pointless exercise, really.
Going around in circles, trying to beat each
other, burning tires, fuel...risking your life,
others risking their lives. Springs, dampers...
Really?! Who cares? What’s the point?
Well... I know there are millions around
the world who feel the same way as me, but
I guess I can only really speak for myself.
There are many things that appeal to
me about racing. First, stating the obvious,
I love cars and all things mechanical. I love
the creative process and I’m fascinated by
what humans can create. Second, I enjoy
exploring and pushing boundaries. In
sport, it takes many many people to
accomplish this – a race team. Therefore,
we’re really talking about a hyper-intense
competition between teams, every two
weeks or so, with clear winners.
Having been around the block a few
times, I believe that racing, in many respects,
exaggerates the positives or negatives of a
team’s performance. There’s nowhere to
hide deficiencies; the numbers will show
them and your competition will exploit them.
A race weekend will show very clearly your
shortcomings as a team, so it’s the perfect
laboratory to judge the performance of
collective human endeavors. Bad
organization, you lose. Poor management,
you lose. Not enough knowledge, you lose.
Perhaps you work at a successful
company, or even run one. Or maybe you’re
still at school. Regardless, it’s likely you’re
part of a team, like 99. 9 percent of the planet,
and you’re wondering what makes a good
race team? Well, without further ado...
Every good race team I’ve ever come
across has had a strong leader. By strong, I
don’t mean dictatorial; I mean a person
who is visible, communicative, inspiring,
and embodies everything the team stands
for. This person sets the tone and culture
for the whole company and leaves no one
in any doubt what the company’s all about,
what it’s doing and where it’s going. They
live, act and breathe everything the team
stands for, making the vision very clear.
Further, at a lower level, other “leaders”
Beyond just driving,
Gil de Ferran’s
experience of team
from his owner/
driver role with
his own de Ferran
team (LEFT), and as
at the BAR-Honda
Formula 1 team.
limits aren’t explored, no success will come.
Lastly, it’s the intensity and certainty of
racing. Thankfully, I’ve never been to war, real
war that is, but the cycle of a racing season
feels like a war, where races are battles
culminating in a championship. With clear
winners, it’s not subjective – performance
is empirical. It feels like life compressed,
accelerated. Yes, it’s a lot of pressure, but
there’s no parallel I know of for the
excitement of being in the heat of “battle.”
Sure, I’m looking at it from a driver’s
perspective. But, regardless of how good
the driver is, he’s driving something – that
something usually being a car. That car has
to be designed, manufactured, developed,
maintained and optimized, as well as being
well driven. In the higher echelons of our