The 2005 Racing season is getting underway! The tough New England winter
(worst in memory) has made all of us nearly insane. We are excited beyond
words about the coming warmth, races, smells of gasoline and fresh cut
grass, and all the things that come along with the promise of a new
season. There have already been some great warm-up races around the
country and 2005 holds promise to be the best year ever for Challenge
Series Pilots and spectators.
I wanted to take a moment to personally put this upcoming season in
perspective. So much of what we do at FFR is driven by passion and the
series is one of the things I am most passionate about. I want to
describe the things we have to do in the near future, but also remind all
of us how far we’ve come and maybe be a bit of a cheerleader for some
folks who have dedicated a huge amount of time to building this series.
Before I get to the brass tacks of a status report, I wanted to give
everyone some big picture perspective on the magnitude of the
accomplishments to date.
What we have all done together is to have started an amateur racing
series that is today one of the fastest growing in the world! Factory
Five Racing is a small company with very limited budget. For every dollar
we have made selling racing products in the series, we have invested 10.
That investment rate is slowing and we hope to be break even this year or
by 2006 (that’s pretty cool). Many of the things that we haven’t done yet
are a direct result of the size and financial abilities of the company.
They say nine out of ten small businesses fail and all of those nine were
restaurants. Well, when it comes to successful, profitable and
well-attended racing series, the numbers are more like 999 out of 1,000
that are doomed. Think about every article you’ve ever read about a new
racing series and how many of those are around today! The fact that the
series is growing and vibrant is nothing short of a miracle! It is a
miracle that has been born of passion, friendship and a true commitment to
a special lifestyle.
The original design goals were well though out and supported by good
execution. Our 2004 Coordinators meeting highlighted the fact that as the
series grows we have to continue to change the way we do things. A good
example of this is technical inspection and rules. The original design
goals were to encourage fair and even rules. Every year the series grows,
the accuracy, enforceability and clarity of those rules becomes ever more
important. While in the first year there was more focus on car counts and
full fields than there was emphasis on post-race tech inspection. The
fact that the first two years of racing saw nary a protest was a testament
to the fellowship, camaraderie and good vibes of those early racers.
As the series has evolved the cars have become more safe, better handling
and more predictable. The recent change to Bilstein Shocks is only the
latest effort, in line with changes like the three-link suspension and
others, designed to make the cars handle better and more neutral at 10
This year will be the best ever! We’ll see more drivers and full fields,
we have a well thought out schedule and Nationals Plan that was finalized
early before the season started. The racing action on the track should be
intense as the cars are the best handling and performing chassis/cars
we’ve ever fielded. We have new partner companies and exciting new ways
for guys to get into the series with new “arrive & drive” programs. Our
sanctioning body NASA is more committed than ever to helping the FFR
series and better rules and enforcement will make things more fun. The
great crew of local coordinators are identified and funded, we have
contracted with a new ad agency to launch new advertising and develop
The team here at FFR, along with great help from a lot of really great
customers and racers has accomplished a huge amount over the winter.
There are items that are still being worked on feverishly as we approach
the warmer weather and the full racing schedule.
As we begin the 2005 season I want to ask all of you to continue on the
strong foundation that has been laid by the hard work of so many people.
Let’s have an exciting and safe season and let’s continue to build this
special race series into the dream that so many talk of, yet so few enjoy.