What To Include In A Great GT Racing Report?
“Currently I am preparing for my second season as data/performance engineer in GT racing. I plan on gathering all important data over the season to do a report. This report should guide me/the team in the next season (the racetracks remain the same.)
Do you have an article about standard data that would fit this? I think about run time, weather, fuel consumption etc.”
GT racing has many strategic factors to consider. Pitstops, driver changes, tyre management and fuel management to name but a few. The added complexities of GT racing increase your chances of making a mistake. By not being as prepared as you could have been might loose you a race you might otherwise have won.
It makes sense to want to do whatever you can to increase your chances of success. To have all the bases covered. To make sure you are learning from previous events and able to use that to inform your future decisions.
Just Report Everything!
What you want to do is report everything you can think of in order to improve. This ensures nothing gets missed. Having a complete set information would mean you (& your team) would have the best opportunity to never make a mistake. To always make the best decision.
Unfortunately, this is not possible. We are restricted to our limited resources of time, money and manpower.
Your challenge instead becomes working out what to focus on. Putting this another way, your challenge is deciding what you can leave out from your reports.
This might sound simple but in practise you might find this hard to achieve. Every piece of data or information could be valuable in some circumstance, right? How do you decide what to cut?
Apply “Best Practise” Instead
I can understand why it might seem tempting to look for the standard or best practise in your circumstances. Many have been before you so you should be able to learn from their experience.
If you do ask people, I’m sure that you will get no end of great suggestions. Metrics you might never have thought of. Insights into peoples secret source, honed over decades.
It is tempting to rush in and apply a shopping list of metrics. I get it but I would also caution you about blindly applying what someone else believes is best.
In my experience reports are most effective when they fit your team’s unique needs.
To achieve this is you need to create a framework from which you can decide what is mission critical (and what is not.)
Determining that is also not always as obvious as it might first appear.
A good place to start is to be clear on your goal (or goals) as a GT racing team.
To do that I’d suggest you start by answering these 5 questions:
5 Questions To Achieving Your GT Racing Goals.
- What are you trying to achieve as a team?
- What does success look like for you/your team, this time next year?
- How are you trying to get there?
- What are the things that are going to get in your way?
- What would be the mitigating circumstances for you to be able to deal with the causes or the consequences of those issues?
When you want straight answers it is tempting to be a bit flippant here. Trust me though it is worth taking your time and being considered in your answers.
Try to answer each question in as much detail as you can. I’d recommend you have a go on your own then do this together with your team and compare notes.
The answers are often assumed to be the same for everyone working in an organisation. Having facilitated many sessions with teams on these questions I rarely find complete consensus. Certainly not initially.
The answers to these open questions form the foundation of what in professional sports they call a learning organisation.
The outcome will be clarity of purpose and prioritises for your organisation.
Importantly for you, it will mean clarity on what you need to focus on to make the biggest impact within your team.
To get more specific, the following situational prompts should help you in answering the questions above.
4 Prompts To Help Your Thinking
Consider what about the following could be more or less important:
- Tracks. It might be that not all races are equal in your calendar. There might be some races that are more prestigious. Perhaps there might be some races that mean more to your sponsors. There might be some common track characteristics that if you improved could give you a big advantage (eg kerbs or hairpins)
- Drivers. How experienced are your drivers? What level of driver feedback do they offer? Do they look for specific behaviours in a car? What skills could they work on that would enable them to get more lap time? How can you help them?
- Car. What is special about the tyres you run? How do you approach changeable weather conditions? Is the driver comfortable in the car?
- Processes. What are the critical paths within your team’s operation? There might be some processes that take a long time but could be shorter. There might be processes you could automate or simplify. What if you rearranged the order you do things? What if removed certain processes all together?
Clearly you can add additional prompts where you feel they could help the conversations.
What you are trying to do is to establish a common understanding of why and how you go GT racing.
From this base you can then decide what information, data and knowledge you should include in your report (or reports …)
GT Racing Reports In Summary
When you are unsure of how to approach a new reporting situation it can be tempting to look for “best practise.”
Sometimes the best practise is not to look for specific answers but for a specific method from which to generate your own answers.
By working through these questions and prompts, you will be able to prioritise what will work best for you. You and your team can then map out what you wish to report given your unique situation.
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