When does it make sense to start testing and developing for next season? You can look at this a couple of different ways. One way is to park your car and take some time to regroup after the end of the season. After a break, you can figure out what areas have the biggest opportunity for development, then move forward with the plan either over the winter or at the beginning of next season.

The second option is to actually start your development while this season is winding down, and this is especially useful if you already have components on hand or you have already identified things to adjust. By not waiting to start testing, you have great back-to-back references from current data and conditions, so you’re limiting your variables. Even your driving performance is consistent, because you haven’t taken a long break and let your skills get rusty! This approach provides an efficient alternative to waiting until the spring, and it means that you have plenty of time to correct or adjust anything you do.

If your budget is limited or if you’re out of ideas about what to improve, think about things that don’t cost much, like trying to reduce weight and other low- or no-cost adjustments that you can experiment with. And here’s a tip: there’s an episode on Ross Bentley’s great Speed Secrets podcast in which Jeff Braun discusses all the free things you can do to make your car go faster. Some of them may not be easy, but they are free! You can find the episode on Ross’s website.

Another thing to consider is reviewing your video now rather than waiting for the winter. You can identify things you could do better, like making more efficient passes or being more consistent with a particular type of corner. By reviewing the footage early on, you have all winter to work toward your new goals.

The next couple of weeks will be busy for me between the SCCA Runoffs at VIR and IMSA’s finale at Petit LeMans. Check back in soon for updates on the season-finale excitement!