Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
1/13/20 1:13 p.m.

Story by Tom Suddard • Photography as Credited

Our last two races…didn’t go well. In fact, 2017 as a whole was a rough year for our turbocharged Miata. We blew the engine at Daytona and replaced it with a professional rebuild before stumbling through two test days that both ended in disaster. Then we capped off the season by destroying our freshly installed engine at Sebring.

Why did we keep failing? It’s a long story, but there was one overarching theme: We didn’t take things seriously. We’d been lucky in our past endurance racing efforts, and that luck had affixed rose-colored glasses to our faces. We assumed everything would work out okay with our Miata, even when we didn’t have any evidence to back up that belief.

We were tired of failing. So after we dragged home our blown-up Miata from Sebring, we decided to take a break, regroup, and reevaluate our approach. Over the next six months we learned some lessons, changed some practices, and ordered some parts. The result? We finished a race, had fun, and placed mid-pack. Are we Chip Ganassi Racing? No, not yet. But at least we can now say that we raced without embarrassing ourselves.

Here are the lessons we learned along the way, and how they improved our race effort.

Read the rest of the story

L5wolvesf
L5wolvesf Reader
1/13/20 3:42 p.m.

Good article.

 

I just finished rereading “The Unfair Advantage”, beyond the Mark Donahue story there are some things in there that relate to what you’re doing.

 

From my experiences you seem to be short 1 checklist, a ‘between sessions list’. Things like; debrief driver, clean windshield, check (oil, coolant, tire pressure, wear, lug nuts, etc. etc.). Ours was a laminated sheet that was placed on the windshield once the car returned to the pit. It would be wiped off after each usage.

nimblemotorsports
nimblemotorsports Reader
1/13/20 7:45 p.m.

"We were sharing the track with teams that literally had factory support staff on hand for their factory-built race cars. And our biggest technical innovation at this point was cutting our springs more precisely the second time around."

LOL

russelljones48
russelljones48 New Reader
1/14/20 7:00 a.m.

If the NASA checklists are from the racing org and not the space org can you share them?  Or share those you've created?  Or any others that would be generic and useful.  Thanks. 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
1/14/20 7:52 a.m.

I can confirm that your first time out in an AER race is a little intimidating. But I found the on track behavior exemplary and the off track people welcoming and warm. They're really well run races and a ton of fun. 

Rodan
Rodan Dork
1/14/20 3:52 p.m.

Great article!

Checklists are something that have been on my 'list' to create for a while... just haven't found the time.  I did create a log sheet a couple years back... it takes some discipline to be consistent in filling them out between sessions, but as an HPDE/TT driver who's just starting to get serious about data, the payoff is worth it.

Need to spend some effort on spares this year.  I've been very fortunate that my Miata is so reliable... I guess I must have done OK in the prep part of things.  wink

Paul_VR6
Paul_VR6 Dork
1/15/20 9:29 a.m.

I have read this article a few times, I just need to internalize it more. The tip about the toolbox/parts organization is gold.

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