EMERG­ING FROM THE DARK AGES

Autosport (UK) - - PERFORMANCE -

For­mer Su­per Aguri sport­ing di­rec­tor Gra­ham Tay­lor reck­ons that mo­tor rac­ing “re­mains some­what in the dark ages” when it comes to hu­man per­for­mance. He should know, af­ter mak­ing a re­turn as a race en­gi­neer with the Ganassi Ford World En­durance Cham­pi­onship squad fol­low­ing a seven-year stint as head of coach­ing at UK Sport.

He was charged with bring­ing what he calls ‘a race en­gi­neer’s ap­proach’ to the coach­ing pro­grammes of the or­gan­i­sa­tion that played a key role in Bri­tain’s record medal hauls at the 2012 Lon­don and 2016 Rio Olympic Games. What he doesn’t see are the ap­proaches and knowl­edge that un­der­pinned Team GB’S suc­cess be­ing trans­ferred the other way into mo­tor­sport.

“There’s some­thing slightly wrong in mo­tor­sport be­cause we are not look­ing holis­ti­cally when it comes to the drivers and how we pre­pare them to go rac­ing,” says Tay­lor. “There isn’t an in­te­grated ap­proach. Teams rarely look for the mar­ginal gains that were cham­pi­oned by Sir David Brails­ford at Team Sky in cy­cling.

“Rac­ing teams are go­ing test­ing at Snet­ter­ton or wher­ever, and the drivers are hav­ing lasagne and chips for lunch be­fore get­ting back in the car. That’s a very 1980s ap­proach to putting en­ergy into an ath­lete’s body. Rarely do teams look at how to cre­ate the right environment to get the best out of the drivers.”

Tay­lor (right) thinks there is room to grow

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