The Business Synergies With Motorsport

So a day at the racetrack is just a jolly right? A day away from the office to soak up the sight and sounds of a completely different world. Strut around proudly showing your VIP badge? Or is it? What can your business possibly learn from Motorsport?? Well quite a lot actually, irrespective of industry I believe the sport does a lot of these things really well - they have to for success and without success they don’t last long. Legend has it that a wise old racer was once asked “How do get to £1M in Motorsport?”.

The answer was simple, “You have to start with £2M But it’s not until someone calls it out that you fully appreciate the business lessons we can all learn from sport, and my chosen world of Motorsport. It’s a sport we fell into some 15 years ago in an attempt to entertain a young boy at the weekends while his mum worked shifts. It’s a sport I firmly believe has shaped that boy in the young man he has become; driven, positive, confident, and wise beyond his years. Oh yes ... and damned quick !

Because despite the “show”, Motorsport is a business - a big business. Can you believe that global Motorsport contributes over €160bn to the global economy with the centre of gravity generated in the UK. Most of the F1 teams choose to base themselves in “motorsport valley” here in the UK developing a high tech expertise and a workforce specialising in pushing the boundaries of advanced manufacturing and automotive technologies.

“Motorsport is a business - a big business”

But think beyond the high profile F1 teams and consider the rest of the eco system - the circuits themselves are business; the championship organisers are a business; the smaller club level teams are a business; and at most levels the drivers also operate as a business - we certainly do at SamRandonRacing Ltd. Motorsport obviously has clear business goals – to win the race, but we all strive to turn a profit too at every stage in the eco system. Some even achieve that but many fold along the way and cash is ALWAYS king. Sound familiar?? There are actually a lot of parallels with business in many of the things we do.

Cash is ALWAYS king. Sound familiar?

So more by chance than by design, I find myself now working in the sector in a real ‘busman’s holiday’ for leading transmissions manufacturer Xtrac Ltd, serving the very top end of the sport where on track success is the sole business objective.

My role is CIO so you would expect me to be a technology expert, but really my forte and interest is using the technology as a catalyst to drive business change. We all are familiar with the mantra of “People / Process / Technology” when implementing IT. Sure it involves installing new technology sometimes but that kind of ‘does what it says on the tin’ these days. But all too often we see business over focused on installing software at the expense of the Process and People side, and the results are often ... somewhat predictable. Yet look at how sport now recognises the importance of human behaviour, emotions and motivation. More about that in my future articles.

So look at the word cloud above. I have heard these terms every day in my day job in the manufacturing world but I also hear them at the weekend when we are racing. Which jump out at you?

• Consistency

• Speed

• Continuous improvements

• Sum of small gains

• Good enough (is the enemy of perfection)

• Luck (surprised to see that there? It matters!)

I want to add words to this slide everytime I use it – SALES and CUSTOMER VALUE are two that jump out at me. Essential for any race team if they are to gain sponsors and partners, and subsequent revenue. So there’s actually a lot of synergies between motorsport and business.

So I’m just going to call out a few during the forthcoming articles and it would be interesting to see how many you recognise and agree (or disagree) with. I will try to keep it light-hearted as we go recounting some our racing adventures along the way, but there is a serious side to the subject which I hope the audience will appreciate.

One of our very first sponsors - and now a dear friend - coined the phrase “Come Join The Adventure” which we used as our strap line for many seasons. Racing is the proverbial roller coaster, once described to Sam by a respected gentleman driver coach as “95% disappointment - 5% Cocaine”. Well we can certainly vouch for the 95% !! So if you enjoy reading about our exploits and the business value to be gained from Motorsport, why not contact me, and hop on the rollercoaster with us. But be warned it’s addictive [that must be the 5% kicking in].

Motorsport was once described to Sam as “95% disappointment - 5% Cocaine” So click and follow and please comment along the way. This is new territory for me so it would be nice to know someone out there is reading it !