Ok, to tell the truth I have never played chess and I don’t know my Rook from a Pawn. I have a good idea what it means when the King jumps the Queen but that’s another story. Having won more endurance races than any other team in the U.S., what I do know is how to win endurance races. Many spectators and even racers really don’t have a true understanding of how complex winning an endurance race is let alone an endurance race series. What is there to it? Build a good car, use all the best equipment, have the best drivers and go win, that’s all there is to it. Riiiight.
Winning major endurance races begins with an understanding of what it takes to win. I have also learned not to be intimidated when teams from all over the world show up with their unlimited budgets. All it takes is one bad decision, one missed apex, one mechanical failure or the planets not aligning at the right time. That said, the car must without a doubt be well engineered and prepped and have all the necessary back up parts and a team who knows how to change them should they need it quicker than anyone else. This means lots of thought must be given not only to the “what if” but how each item can be improved so it can be a “quick-change” instead of a repair. For example, our entire rear end assemblies are made into quick change so in the event we should need to change one it would include housing, gears, wheel bearings, brakes, quick disconnect brake lines, and all. Then we rehearse changing it so that everyone knows EXACTLY what tools need to be ready and who does what, etc. We can change an entire rear end and be pulling back onto the track in less than 2 minutes. Then there is transmissions, clutch, and even quick change engines with radiators attached already filled with coolant. Engine change will take us 12 minutes from start to finish. It’s all about preparation.
Image of #20 Pontiac Crawford of Tony Stewart, Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace from Howard Boss Motorsports
The 2007 racing season is about to kick off, with the 2007 edition of the Rolex Daytona 24. The fabled endurance event features sports prototypes and production based sports cars battling it out over a full day at the historic Florida venue.