Throughout the next two weeks, members of the reigning Indy 500 champion team, Bryan Herta Autosport, will be blogging here on RACER.com. In our second entry, team co-owner, Steve Newey, explains how a small team plans and budgets for the challenges and potential pitfalls that lie ahead during the month of May.
I thought it might be interesting to let the fans in on some of
the pre-race planning that is part of being a Team Barracuda–BHA team co-owner
at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
of all, one of the more difficult things for a small team is being properly
prepared because it's a major compromise in spending money for performance
versus conserving money to spend on the car for the rest of the season.
Obviously, the Indianapolis 500 is the biggest race of the year, and so we tend
to focus a lot of our resources on it. However, some of the projects that we do
require a lot of research and development before they're ready to apply to this
it's tricky to accommodate all of the engineers' requests to spend the money
they want us to spend! Those guys are very creative – but they tend to not be very
budget-minded, especially when it comes to preparing for our showcase race. It
can be difficult to know where to draw the line, where to spend the money and
where not to spend
addition to that, one of the inherent risks of racing at 220mph is the fact
that if there is a problem with the car or an unfortunate incident on the racetrack,
then the damage will be considerable, and therefore fixing it can run into
hundreds of thousands of dollars. Consequently, you'll see me pacing back and
forth all week long, trying to settle my nerves; I admit, I sometimes get a bit
edgy when the car is on track. As fans will know, in 2010 we had two crashes at
the Speedway and, as a small team, we were very lucky to financially survive
after those incidents. So, knowing there's no such thing as a small incident
here, rattles my equilibrium and causes some sleepless nights.
me, the financial management is a challenge. Like I said, obviously we want to
come here and win: That was, is and always will be our goal. At the same time,
we've got to be smart. There's still a lot of racing left to do after the
Indianapolis 500, which marks just the one-third-distance point in the
championship. Some of the decisions are made collectively as a team and
sometimes I just have to say no, which is hard.
Some of the projects take time
to put in place, like long-term R&D projects such as gearbox testing and
wind tunnel testing. However, those kinds of things have to be high priorities,
particularly because it's a brand-new racecar. We don't have any historical
information as a reference for this DW12, unlike in 2011 when we could at least
start with the data from 2010. This car is very fresh and very new, and this is
its first oval race. So the engineers here are working hard to stay on pace
with all the info we've been collecting on the track since practice started
me and for Team Barracuda–BHA, it is all about winning. But we also have to
make smart business decisions and choose the wisest route to Victory Lane.