The nature of this season, including a schedule that is tightly condensed into a short span of months, creates a situation that requires teams and drivers to constantly consider not just the current race but the next race or two afterwards.
Some series have even gone to double-header formats, which makes it imperative to survive the first race in order to have a good shot at success in the second race. Even races that are every other weekend for the next few months don’t allow a lot of free time in between for repairs and maintenance. Teams will have to be smart about scheduling those things on top of the logistics coordination challenge this year’s schedule has created.
If a team was to have a major incident at one event, they could very well risk missing the next event. Having options on hand for local body shop resources or a camaraderie amongst teams to help each other out can go a long way to ensure that participation in the next event isn’t in jeopardy.
Teams have to make sure their necessary maintenance schedule is also carefully planned so that service intervals aren’t missed because of the tight turnaround time. Sometimes this means staying on the road between rounds and finding other teams who are willing to share shop space so that the cars can be properly prepped en route. This creates quite the logistics challenge for teams to coordinate not only all of the travel to and from each event but also the travel in-between for key mechanical personnel.
I can remember my time as both a driver and the team logistics coordinator at Freedom Autosport. It was always a challenge to my creativity to come up with the best plan for back-to-back race weekends. Who would be staying with the team truck to do the service, where would that service be performed, who was flying home and then coming back for the next race, what last-minute parts needed to be ordered, and where did they need to be shipped were some of the things to consider to keep the team running.
This year we’re all having to adapt to the unusual schedules, and that is a big key to success. When it all comes together correctly, it’s a great sense of pride and the hard work usually shows in the results. This season, strategic planning between the races has become just as much of a priority as getting results on the racetrack.