Strategy within endurance racing can and has been the difference between winning and losing. The choice of tyres, fuel strategy, stint lengths for drivers can all play a part of what gives a team as good a chance as possible in performing at its maximum.
For a team with maybe two cars running, the support behind the scenes also gives the drivers the best opportunity to drive at 100%. Nutritionists, ensure drivers and Crew members are as hydrated and as healthy as can possibly be. Each car will have a race engineer, who is as part of the team as the drivers. His information regarding track conditions, to possible changes in track conditions caused by weather, or fluid leaks caused by a car at a specific part of the circuit.
He is there also to act upon the information given to him from the driver, tyre wear, track conditions, weather, his well being. Information shared is key in the decision-making process. Deciding upon a strategy does not mean the team is not flexible in its approach. Far from it, the situation is fluid, forever changing, prepare to change at a moments notice. Are you bold in your thought process, or are you reactionary? Can you, with your decision change the course of events? With well thought out planning, often looking hours ahead, can you somehow steal a march on your opponents. Who, more often than not are running to that point, similar lap times, and similar stint lengths. Can your pit stops, be 100% efficient every time? Have countless hours of practice for this very scenario about to pay you back with an advantage towards the end of the race.
Have you assembled the best team, sometimes the outright pace is not always the solution, more often its a balance, a young fast driver is often best coupled with the wise head to give encouragement and sometimes to advise on backing off maybe ever so slightly because of conditions which he has seen in the past? Or do you fill the car with pure pace to simply try and outrun the opposition? Decisions made months ago with one aim to win what is one of the toughest races on the calendar.
The old saying: “ By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail .” has never been more true than at GTR24h. Intense preparations, ensuring all drivers in the car are comfortable is essential, race engineer communication lines are working. Can you ensure enough rest periods for team members before the race gets underway? Two qualifying sessions to contend with, who is slotted in for the all-important race start? Who is tasked with the stints through the night? Who brings the car home after 24 gruelling hours? What are the plans when the race is over?
Immediately thoughts turn to Next year!