Roles in Motorsports
The celebrity of drivers might make motorsports and racing seem like a solitary sport, but that couldn’t be further from reality. Racing is a team sport and requires many different people with specialized skills to get a car and a driver ready for competition.
The team owner is like the CEO of a company. The owner makes all of the decisions. Who to hire, how to promote, what to build, and when to race. This includes responsibility for organizing all business operations in relation to Motorsports Sales, Engineering, Production, Service, and Support.
One of the primary functions of the team owner is to secure funding through sponsorships. The owner can sometimes serve as the team manager and take on the daily administrative responsibilities of keeping the business of the team running.
An owner must have strong business and marketing skills.
The crew chief oversees all of the day-to-day activities related to running the race team. A crew chief must possess deep knowledge about the car and the driver and usually has a degree in engineering.
The crew chief is like the head coach of the team, and assumes responsibility for race strategy and setups, as well as the actions of his/her driver, car owners and team members.
The crew chief manages the employees responsible for the car – the engineers, drivers and mechanics. The crew chief is also responsible for managing the pit crew and decreasing the amount of time spent in a pit stop, so the car can get back on track as quickly as possible.
A motorsport engineer works in the design, testing and build of the car.
The engineer also monitors performance and adjusts/tunes the car as necessary during a race.
A motorsport engineer’s day-to-day duties may include:
Engineering the car for driver, track and weather conditions
Adjusting the car, fuel, tires and technical elements of the car
Managing the vehicle mechanics
Organizing the testing schedule
Studying the regulations of the racing organization
Make sure everything on the car is perfect and ready-to-go for the driver.
An engineer needs:
excellent problem-solving skills
the ability to analyze and interpret data
the ability to prioritize and plan effectively
the ability to work under pressure to deadlines
In the early days of racing, every team member was a general mechanic, but in this era of specialization, most teams employ a number of mechanics that the crew chief can call on for a variety of fixes and adjustments.
Race car mechanics remain cool under pressure. When a car breaks down in the middle of a race, the mechanic has to figure out the problem and get it repaired as quickly as possible.
Race car mechanics are also responsible for maintaining, improving, and setting up the cars for a race or track day. Getting a job as a race car mechanic is a competitive endeavor.
Race mechanics work very closely with the engineers and pit crews to accomplish the shared goal of running a fast and winning car/team.
Sponsorship keeps the race team funded.
The Marketing team is responsible for securing licensing and sponsorship deals, and for designing, promoting and managing the brand.
This role is responsible for creating and implementing a sales and marketing
strategy for the team, the car and the driver.
The driver is the face of the team, and responsible for driving the car, but is involved with much more than just driving.
The driver will communicate and work closely with the other members of the team to discuss strategy and also give valuable feedback about the car and its handling so the engineers and mechanics can make the necessary adjustments.
Drivers must be disciplined and remain focused for many hours during a race. Racing is extremely taxing on the human body.
All of the G Force from taking turns, braking, and accelerating require a driver to be athletic, responsive, agile, coordinated, and strong.
A lot of drivers spend many hours, not only on the track, but in the gym, to make sure they are in top physical condition to handle the physical effects of driving the race car.
Drivers need a lot of practice to perfect their driving skill and like any skill it's something that takes a lifetime to master. You can't just hop into a car and start racing.
A perfect car needs a perfect driver who can maximize its ability and drive as fast as possible.
Your Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is a clear, brief message or “commercial” about you. It communicates who you are, what you’re looking for and how you can benefit a company or organization. It’s typically about 30 seconds or the time it takes people to ride from the top to the bottom of a building in an elevator.
(The idea behind having an elevator speech is that you are prepared to share this information with anyone, at any time, even in an elevator.)
Your elevator pitch will be used
to place you in a role on the race team.
It is important to have your speech memorized and practiced. Rehearse your 30-second elevator speech with a friend or in front of a mirror. The important thing is to practice it OUT LOUD. You want it to sound natural. Get comfortable with what you have to say so you can breeze through it when the time comes.