After a hotly contested final at Silverstone – the home of British motorsport – ACO has crowned a new Race Team Manager Champion for 2018.
Following a successful debut season, Race Team Manager – which sees teams of merchants pit themselves against colleagues and rivals to test both their teamwork skills and F1 knowledge – returned for the closing leg of the 2017 season. Starting off with the Italian Grand Prix at the iconic Monza circuit, it ran for a concentrated six-race period covering races in Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, USA and Mexico.
With over 500 participants from merchants up and down the country taking part, the competition culminated in the Grand Final with just five teams making it through, including some looking to make amends for falling just short at the inaugural Finals Day last year.
In-keeping with the competition’s ethos of teamwork, the final featured a series of challenges which drew out a number of parallels between a successful F1 team and profitable merchant business, such a logistics, finance and marketing.
For example, an F1 team needs a seamless transport network to get all aspects of the car to a race track well in advance of the race itself; be able to work to a budget when designing and building a car; and secure sponsorship to help fund the team. However, a successful merchant also needs to ensure stock can be efficiently ordered and delivered to customers, to allow them to complete their job on time; be able to manage stock holding to meet budget targets; and gain supplier support to fund promotional activity to customers.
The Final itself comprised of three different elements, all of which accounted for points. These would be added up over the course of the day to determine the overall winner for Race team Manager 2018.
First, the teams had to put their communication skills to the test by changing the tyres on a replica F1 car in as quick a time as possible. They were then presented with a race day simulation where the teams each had to devise a tyre strategy for the Italian Grand Prix, factoring in changing local weather conditions. Crucially, the pitstop times used were those recorded in the tyre-change challenge, meaning those who took longer had to gamble against the weather to make up valuable seconds.
An F1-themed quiz followed, supplemented by questions testing the merchants’ knowledge of ACO’s product range – some of which can be found on 11 iconic F1 circuits around the world, including Monza, the Nürburgring and the Circuit de Cataluña. Finally, the five teams then completed a 50-lap time trial on a specially-made Carrera slot car track, with the four fastest going through to the semi-finals.
Teamwork was again paramount in the racing, as at least two members from each team had to control the car, meaning a smooth handover was critical to a fast time; while the team also had to work together to devise an effective pitstop strategy to ensure the cars had enough fuel to reach the end of the race at a competitive pace. To simulate a real-life race scenario, each race also featured a safety car to test the driver’s skill in a controlled environment.
After two hotly-contested races – one of which came down to the very last lap – it was last year’s runners up, ‘Destroyers of Panis’ from Buildbase Civils, and newcomers, EH Smith’s ‘Smiths Wonders’ who made it through to the final.
Once again, the outcome was decided on the final lap – which given the average lap time was less than ten seconds, highlights the closeness of the race – and it was Smiths Wonders who emerged victorious, condemning ‘Destroyers of Panis’ into second place two years running.
Smiths Wonders walked away with the top prize of VIP tickets to the 2018 British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
“The track was awesome. It’s much harder than you think it’s going to be – the pressure makes it so competitive,” said James Wilde, from the 2018 Race Team Manager Champions. “Once you start, you’re in the zone and you work as a team. I think we did that really well, hence we won! We’ll certainly come back again and try and defend our title.”
‘Destroyers of Panis’ team member Phil Jones, added: “When you get to the race and see the other car on the track, you start to panic a bit. When he was counting down the laps I went a little bit too fast on the last lap and ended up coming off. “I’ve had a great day though. It was nice to talk to other merchants in person. You speak to them on the phone but rarely face to face, so it was good to gel with them.”
While the Grand Final is done and dusted for this year, the competition will return towards the end of the 2018 F1 season.
For those merchants keen to sign-up, click here to find out more.