Motorsport Prospects Weekly Debrief for May 28, 2021 – Small Deals are Big Deals

New on Motorsport Prospects This Week

As I was assembling the Motorsport Prospects Weekly Debrief for this week I realized that in its short history here on the blog it is continuously getting bigger and bigger. Without turning each installment into a book, and because I don’t want to skip any of the great content I come across each week I am going to start to break up the Debrief into self-contained posts on the blog to make it easier for reading. I will be doing this gradually but I have started with giving the Sustainable Motorsport Round-Up its own slot every Thursday. There is so much to talk about with this rapidly evolving topic that I figure it deserves to have its own dedicated column. I will make sure to sum up in the Weekly Debrief what was featured each week just in case you didn’t get a chance to read the latest post.

Also, if you have a hankering to own an iconic racing car there is a Benetton B188-01 for sale in the Motorsport Prospects Marketplace. Now that would be a cool Father’s Day gift!

Driver Development News

There is a lot to get to regarding race driver development news and views for this week so lets get at it!

The impact of injury on your mental state

Mental performance and executive coach Jenni Schierman posted an important article last month on how an injury can affect the mental state of an athlete. Injuries as we know happen to all athlete’s and sometimes the effects are more than physical. As she points out in The impact of injury on your mental state:

While it is usually easy to measure the physical impact and the recovery from injury, the mental side can be a bit harder to gauge.

I was fortunate to be in several very thought-provoking discussions this week regarding injury, mental performance, and even how we view ourselves. As a result, I want to share some of those views as well as those of the sport science institute on how injury can impact your mental state.

The impact of injury on your mental state

She then goes on to comprehensively lay out the kind of effects an injury can have on your mental state and strategies on how to deal with them. Well worth the read.

What makes a great racing team?

We all can easily give examples of great racing teams, teams that consistently win races and championships and operate at the highest level possible. But what sets the great racing team apart from any other? When you are researching teams, what is it that you should be looking for?

In The 12 Differences Between a Team and a Good Team over at The Motorsport MBA they lay out the 12 things that set a great team apart from a regular, run of the mill race team. How many of these characteristics do you see in your team? And if you don’t see many or any at all, what are you going to do to change this?

Ask Ross

I have mentioned Ross Bentley and his Speed Secrets company on more than one occasion, I have interviewed him, been interviewed by him and featured his podcast on my 8 Podcasts all Race Drivers Should Subscribe to article and I do so for a very simple reason. The man knows what he is talking about. Over on the Speed Secrets website he has a regular feature called Ask Ross where he covers all manner of racecraft-related questions and answers them based on his years of experience as a driver and coach.

If you are looking for answers on how to stop over-braking or what does “comfortable being uncomfortable” mean then Ross is your guy. And if you don’t find answers to your questions, Ask Ross!

Optimal Health and Performance – Experiences from Formula 1

Hintsa Performance has created yet again a great video you should check out. Now I should mention it is in German but in the article accompanying the video they do point to a related blog article that is in English. Always helpful stuff.

NASCAR’s Euro Series presents affordable development path for aspiring American racers

The assumption is that in order to make it up the NASCAR development ladder you need to race in the United States but that may not necessarily be so. In the Motorsport Analytics article NASCAR’s Euro Series presents affordable development path for aspiring American racers author David Smith tracks the path taken by American driver Myatt Snider as he raced in Europe in the NASCAR affiliated NASCAR Euroseries. His progress makes for a convincing argument that drivers interested in NASCAR should at least investigate the possibilities of this very different driver development path.

International applicants accepted for Formula Woman

In a previous Weekly Debrief I mentioned the relaunch of the Formula Woman driver development program and I just wanted to remind those from outside the UK that they are accepting international applications. Assessments start in September 2021 and winners are set to compete in the 2022 GT Cup in two McLaren 570s GT4 race cars.

Full details can be found here.

No “Road to F1” according to Bruno Michel

Motorsport Prospects Weekly Debrief for May 28, 2021

If you were hoping for some kind of development program similar to the Road to Indy for F1 it appears you are out of luck. According to the Autosport article F2 and F3 to focus on cost saving drive instead of driver scholarships F2/F3 CEO Bruno Michel claims that such a program is not part of his plans.

While the championship organisers are fully aware of the challenges drivers face to raise funds in these unusual times, boss Bruno Michel says his team will continue working to reduce costs to compete.

Michel believes a cost saving drive would be more beneficial than creating a driver scholarship system, similar to the ‘Road to Indy’ programme in the US, to help talented drivers progress or those in need of support.

“I think the way to try to help the drivers is what we have been doing and what we have tried to do all the time is to decrease the costs and try to increase the revenue to the teams, so that that they hand a decreased cost to the drivers.

F2 and F3 to focus on cost saving drive instead of driver scholarships

Maybe somebody should ask him why they can’t do both?

Enzo Shows How To Be A Relentless Race Driver

Enzo Mucci has a great video blog called The Race Driver Coach and this week’s episode is well worth watching.

Paretta Autosport makes the Indy 500 field

Nice to see that Paretta Autosport has made the field for this weekend’s Indy 500 with their female-forward racing team. Beth Paretta has to be commended for putting together a quality team so quickly and digging deep with driver Simona De Silvestro to make the big show. Well deserved!

TGRNZ confirms more Toyota FT60 test dates

Toyota Gazoo Racing New Zealand has confirmed a slew of testing dates for their FT60 race car used in the Toyota Racing Series. The dates are all at Hampton Downs in New Zealand and will take place on the following dates:

15/17 June
21/22 July
19/23 August
15/17 September
12/13 October

Full details can be found here.

Graham Stoker throws his hat in the ring for FIA president

If you are wondering why I am bring up Graham Stoker’s candidacy for FIA President in an article about driver development it is because he has stated quite clearly that he is passionate about bringing more people into the sport regardless of their background or financial situation. In the Motorsport.com article Graham Stoker: The quiet revolutionary running for FIA president he makes this quite clear.

“And then there is the whole idea of inclusivity, reaching out around the world. My experience, that difficulty I had carrying on with my driving, I want anyone with ability around the world to get an opportunity to get into a competition vehicle, rally or race, without any connections, just through talent. I think that’s a real goal that we should deliver on. Those challenges, they’re there, but I think we can meet them. I think this is a time of opportunity. And I’d really like to be involved in it, delivering some of the solutions.”

Graham Stoker: The quiet revolutionary running for FIA president

Whether this is all electioneering or a real plan for 2022 and beyond is anyone’s guess but he seems pretty adamant about it. Time will tell but let’s hope he is true to his word.

What is an F1 Driver’s Workload Like During a Lap?

Ever wonder what an F1 driver is doing on a typical lap? Check this out:

The Business of Being a Race Driver

Why you need a sponsorship contract

As you go about negotiating your sponsorship budget for your racing program, do not neglect getting a sponsorship contract. As Jess Shanahan of Racing Mentor explains (and as a former lawyer I fully endorse), having a sponsorship contract makes it clear on what is expected of both parties. Check out her article here.

Why the small deals are a big deal

A few years ago I was chatting with Canadian driver Parker Thompson about sponsorship and his approach to building his sponsor portfolio and what struck me was how important he felt smaller sponsors were in enabling him to race. While everybody wants that big budget major sponsor, he was passionate in explaining how small sponsors can really be key, especially in the lower tiers of the sport. Ikoniqa agrees and on their blog in part 6 of their sponsorship series they give the reasons why small sponsors are so critical. You can check the article out here.

Catching up with John Mirachi

One of my earliest interviews on the Motorsport Prospects blog was with Jon Mirachi from Racers Edge Motorsports. In GT4 and Young Driver Development – Thoughts from a Team Owner Jon explained why he felt that GT racing was a great fit for young drivers and he has just built on that since the interview. In Pirelli Paddock Pass: Jon Mirachi over at Sportscar 365 he talks about young driver development and his work running the HPD GT3 Driver Academy. When asked about his work with young drivers he had this to say:

“I do take a lot of pride in that, and beyond that I really enjoy it. It’s exciting in a different way and it’s very rewarding to see the development and the improvement that the drivers have.”

“It’s really rewarding in a different way than just having two pros and winning races. Now there’s nothing wrong with that! I enjoy that too. But to be honest it’s been in our DNA since the beginning as a race team and I do take particular pride in that.”

Pirelli Paddock Pass: Jon Mirachi

Its a great article with somebody passionate about driver development and well worth the read.

Dan Shufflebottom of Ram Racing on Running a GT Racing Team

Professional Motorsport World has a great interview with Dan Shufflebottom of British GT racing team Ram Racing. As a driver it is always important to understand how a team functions and the economics behind all of it and in this interview, Dan explains how he went from F1 to GT racing, how he runs his team and gaining a competitive advantage. Check it out here.

Series News

Michel Explains F2/F3 relationship with FIA

Over at Formula Scout Bruno Michel explains a bit how the relationship between F2/F3 and the FIA works, especially when it comes to setting the calendar, a calendar that is seeing a lot of grumbling amongst F2 drivers. One interesting nugget is how the the F3 flyaway race at COTA came about. I could never figure this one out, especially as the reason for the calendar changes this year was to save the teams money. Apparently it wasn’t Michel’s decision:

Michel extended, pointing out that heading to Circuit of the Americas for this year’s FIA F3 Championship finale was Carey’s idea.

“We have been discussing that with Chase and with Ross, and Chase was the one who was pushing for FIA F3 going to Austin, for instance, which was a great idea.

“We discuss, and we take decisions together.”

Michel explains F1 and FIA’s influence in 2021 F2 and F3 format change

Is GT racing under threat from the FIA and ACO?

Motorsport Prospects Weekly Debrief for May 28, 2021 - Small Deals are Big Deals

Stephane Ratel has done an amazing job in resurrecting GT racing globally through his SRO Motorsports Group but does he have something to fear from the FIA and ACO? He seems to think so. With IMSA adopting GT3 regs for 2022, the DTM (relutantly) going down that path this year and potentially the ACO adopting GT3 in place of GTE Pro in 2023, he feels that the whole point of GT racing will be destroyed. In GT3 could be “doomed” if adopted by WEC – Ratel on Autosport and The new threat facing motorsport’s greatest success story on Autosport Plus he passionately argues that he always intended GT racing to be for amateur drivers as well as a revenue source for manufacturer’s selling to privateer teams. With the professionalization of GT racing in IMSA, the DTM and potentially WEC, he argues that once again the privateers will be priced out of the sport.

Not so fast argues Leena Gade, the new head of the FIA’s GT Commission. In the Motorsport article Will GT3 regulations breathe life into sports car racing at Le Mans? she points out that times have changed and adopting GT3 to Le Mans and the WEC might make the most sense from the standpoint of global sportscar racing as a whole.

“I’ve had opinions expressed to me about GT3 cars going to Le Mans and how we can’t have that happening,” she says. “But because of the way of the world at the moment we have to look at the economies of scale for racing and I do think it makes logical sense for GT3 as a grand tourer category to be represented in certain places and replace what we currently have.”

Will GT3 regulations breathe life into sports car racing at Le Mans?

Is this just Ratel trying to protect his baby or does he have a point? He has stated that the whole reason behind GT2 is to protect the gentleman driver in case GT3 becomes unsustainable for the amateur but it is hard not to see that having been burned by the FIA before he does not feel like getting burned again. Time will tell.

Meanwhile IMSA insists that they are not structuring the new GT3-based GTD Pro around any one manufacturer (Cough Corvette Cough). In Sportscar 365 IMSA President John Doonan insisted:

IMSA President John Doonan said that decisions being made on the shape of the new GTD Pro class for 2022 are not being influenced by “one manufacturer” stressing that the sanctioning body has “terrific communication” with all of the OEMs involved.

“[We’re] trying to make sure that we do the right thing, to give GTD Pro the continued spotlight that it needs with factory efforts and the resources that factory/works programs provide.

GTD Pro Decisions Not Being Made Around ‘One Manufacturer’

He figures there could be up to six manufacturers racing when the category debuts in 2022 which would be great for all involved.

The Growth of SuperTrofeo Racing

Motorsport Prospects Weekly Debrief for May 28, 2021 - Small Deals are Big Deals

Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America is growing from strength to strength argues Automobili Lamborghini America motorsport senior manager Chris Ward in Sportscar 365 and he sees no reason why it cannot continue.

“There’s been a lot of effort of engaging new teams from within the IMSA and SRO paddocks,” Ward told Sportscar365. “Education has been a big part too.

“For some time, I’ve jokingly called Super Trofeo the best kept secret in sports car racing in America. I think we’ve had an awareness issue.

Ward believes that Super Trofeo’s stable sporting regulations, which again remain unchanged for this year, has been one of the big selling points as well.

Ward: Super Trofeo’s Record-Breaking Growth “Multi-Faceted”

That growth trajectory should continue next year with the newly announced Huracán Super Trofeo EVO2. Featuring a host of improvements and refinements, they figure that they are on track to hit the 500 cars sold mark:

Maurizio Reggiani, Chief Technical Officer of Automobili Lamborghini, remarked: “The Super Trofeo is the best testing ground for technical and aerodynamic solutions for both road cars and GTs, and with the Huracán Super Trofeo EVO2 we have definitely taken another step forward. In April 2021 we celebrated the milestone of the 400th Huracán racing car, and our goal with the Super Trofeo EVO2 is to reach 500 in just a few years”.

Lamborghini Unveil Huracán Super Trofeo EVO2

Revolution Race Cars

Racecar Engineering have a great write-up on Revolution Race Cars and their A-One. While you may be familiar with Radical Sportscars, Revolution is a more recent addition to the spec sportscar racing scene but they definitely have big plans.

Abbott’s vision for the car was to bring LMP2-type construction in terms of safety standards to the production racecar market but at less than half the price. Noting the pre-preg work used to construct LMP chassis was very labour intensive, Abbott perceived that this was where Revolution Racecars could find a considerable cost-saving element.

Insight: Revolution Racecars A-One

While the article goes into some detail about how the cars are built, Revolution are actively building a thriving racing series in the UK as part of the UK Sports Prototype Championship and they have supported Formula 1 on their last two trips to Portimão in Portugal so their reputation is growing. Might be worth a look for UK-based amateur racers.

From the Motorsport Prospects Archives

As Jess from Racing Mentor mentioned in “Why you need a sponsorship contract” above, contracts and therefore lawyers are a necessary evil that all drivers will have to face at some point. Understanding why is sometimes a hard sell to a driver but as a former lawyer myself it is crucial to ensure that you are legally protected in what is a very expensive sport with potentially expensive consequences if things don’t go to plan.

Last year I spoke to Genevieve Gordon of the law firm Tactic Connect about the importance of a lawyer for a race driver. With extensive experience in motorsport law, Genevieve points out some of the issues you should be concerned about and the red flags to keep an eye out for. Have a look at Fit for Purpose – Exploring the Role of the Lawyer in Motorsport with Genevieve Gordon Part 1 and Fit for Purpose – Exploring the Role of the Lawyer in Motorsport with Genevieve Gordon Part 2. While it should not be considered legal advice, it can prepare you to ask the right questions of your lawyer and hopefully prevent or at least mitigate any potential legal issues in your racing career.

The last lap, or is it just the beginning?

Motorsport Prospects Weekly Debrief for May 28, 2021 - Small Deals are Big Deals

Race drivers have always amazed me. In the face of sometimes impossible conditions they have still managed to persevere and compete no matter what disability may be affecting them. Sam Schmidt is a racer through and through. Whether in the cockpit or as a team owner he has shown how fiercely determined he is. When as a driver a testing crash paralyzed him from the neck down it slowed him down but didn’t stop him. And now he begins a new journey that will not only astonish you but help you to understand why perseverance in the face of all obstacles is the only way to move forward. In Sam’s case he has taken this literally. Watch and prepare to be amazed.

Stay safe and see you at the track.

Mark Boudreau
Author: Mark Boudreau

Mark is the publisher of Motorsport Prospects. As a former lawyer, he applies his legal background to assist race drivers in finding the resources they need to make their motorsport careers happen.