What Makes a Successful Racing Program

As a racer and driving coach, I have driven cars that had input from some of the greatest minds in motor racing. When it comes to running a successful team it takes more than a bag of cash and a fast car. This is how you do it.

By Christopher Hurst - January 10, 2019
What Makes a Successful Racing Program
What Makes a Successful Racing Program
What Makes a Successful Racing Program
What Makes a Successful Racing Program
What Makes a Successful Racing Program
What Makes a Successful Racing Program
What Makes a Successful Racing Program

Money Talks

Bluntly put, if motor racing was a vehicle then money would be the fuel you put in the gas tank. Without your own (or someone else’s) you’re not going anywhere. Adding up your budget for a season and then doubling it is usually a conservative rule of thumb. If you want to go wheel to wheel racing you should triple it due to the increase in risk associated with banging doors. Wadding the car up is always a possibility, but more than that you want to make sure you can afford to get the best equipment possible—including spares.

PRO TIP: Racing beyond your means will make things incredibly difficult and can suck the fun right out of the competition. Be smart with your cash and compete where you can make the most of it. 

image courtesy of flickr.com 

Realize Your Setup’s True Potential

Now that we know money is important it’s more important to know that it isn’t everything. Spending big bucks on Penske racing shocks and super sticky tires is worthless if you don’t have your alignment dialed in or basic understanding of suspension geometry. Winning races is about being consistent and repeating this consistency at a high level. One great example of this would be buying coil overs for a car where the bushings are binding and not allowing the control arms to move freely. It doesn’t matter how nice the parts are if the system doesn’t function the way it was designed to.

PRO TIP: Winning a championship is about being on the podium consistently. No one wins every race, but you can guarantee the racer that takes a championship was always in the points.  

image courtesy of pinterest.com


>>Join the conversation about improving on the track towards a successful program right here in the S2KI.com forum.

Build To the Maximum Rules Allowed

Entering into a class where said double adjustable Penske racing shocks are allowed knowing that you can only afford a single adjustable Koni sport shock is a sure fire way to end up at the back of the pack. It doesn’t matter if you’re Lewis Hamilton—without the right equipment, you'll lose more often. Everyone is here to compete so assume your driving alone isn’t going to get you anything. In racing, we rely on our cars and our cars must be fast no matter how much we’d like to think our driving is heroic enough to outgun a horsepower disadvantage. 

PRO TIP: building to the rules isn’t cheating. Push things right up to the millimeter and there won’t be anything the competition can do but up their game. 

image courtesy of pinterest.com  


>>Join the conversation about improving on the track towards a successful program right here in the S2KI.com forum.

All about Testing

The more time you have to test the more of an advantage you will have. It’s not uncommon for professional racing teams to rent out entire tracks to fine tune things like gearing, springs and alignment settings before a race. If you don’t have that kind of coin what can you do? Participate in as many track days you can that have as little traffic as possible. Clean runs are crucial here as you may only be capable of exploiting setup flaws at the absolute limit. Becoming truly intimate with the race tracks you compete on is worth money in and of itself to a program which is just another benefit to testing time. 

PRO TIP: As often as financially possible you should test on fresh tires. Racing setups are designed on brand new tires, never used ones. At higher levels of time attack or circuit racing, this is the standard rather than the exception.  

image courtesy of kinja-img.net 


>>Join the conversation about improving on the track towards a successful program right here in the S2KI.com forum.

Show Up

On a club level championships can be won simply because other competitors didn’t attend as many races. If you’re serious about moving up the ladder then even club racing is important. By entering more races you are statistically increasing your chances to score points and have a good result. Again, another reason why a reliable car is incredibly important. 

PRO TIP: Strategy comes into play heavily when it comes to winning. The fewer races there are on a calendar year the more crucial it becomes to show up and finish strong at every race. 

>>Join the conversation about improving on the track towards a successful program right here in the S2KI.com forum.

Drive Clean

Speaking only from a driver’s perspective it is critical to stay out of any trouble on the track. Bumping people, banging doors and going 4 off is completely counterproductive and is not a sign of how badass you are. In most cases, it is simply a sign that you can’t keep your car or ego in check. Steering clear of drama can gain you places as other people take each other out. Driving clean is crucial. 

PRO TIP: Learn fundamental car control like drifting alongside your racing so you know how to react if things get out of shape. Racing wheel to wheel is more a question of when someone will bump you off track not if. Know how to control your car over the limit. 

image courtesy of flickr.com 


>>Join the conversation about improving on the track towards a successful program right here in the S2KI.com forum.

Anything Else?

Routine maintenance is incredibly important. Bleed your brakes before every single track day, change your oil before every race. Make sure brake pads are fresh and any maintenance items like ball joints are serviced at the proper intervals. It’s a lot of work, but the moment you drive a car that has this level of care put into it you will immediately notice a difference. Simple items like this can make or break an entire season and they often do. Know your equipment intimately. 

PRO TIP: Testing over and over will show you when parts will naturally fail. Keep a log book of how many hours are on parts before they let go and see if there are patterns. You can often catch them before they cost your team dearly. Hope you enjoyed reading. 

image courtesy of kinja-img.net 


>>Join the conversation about improving on the track towards a successful program right here in the S2KI.com forum.

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