First impressions. Future ambitions. Favourite quotes. We cover it all in this Q&A where I'll be joined by Toyota Racing Development (TDR) Chief Information Officer Jonny Elliott and Commercial Director Jon Flack.
1. What do you look for when considering potential partnerships? What were your first impressions of this one?
Justin: Partnerships can be tricky. Ideally, you’re looking for a match of several characteristics of the two businesses: Industry alignment, non-competing commercial interests, overall ethos and cultural alignment and a general excitement at the prospect of working together. With TRD, we’ve found a partner that lined up perfectly with all of the above. Their heritage of excellence in the automotive industry and racing field, their grasp and interest in new technologies to advance their performance and their honest approach and excitement to work together… all of these things line up with how we operate at Endava, and particularly how we aim to establish a pole position in the racing technology field (sorry for the pun… it was too easy).
Jon: Toyota Racing Development looks for partners with the capabilities and expertise to positively impact TRD and improve performance across the organization. Equally important are the people and culture of the company that TRD is building a relationship with. We at TRD feel Endava’s culture is a fantastic fit. Endava makes us feel that we will be a priority to them, and they’ll respond to our needs with pace and skill.
2. What impact is technology having on in-car capabilities and the experience for drivers?
Justin: In-car and driver-focused technology does exactly what it should: It allows drivers and teams to focus on the critical things they need to by eliminating the need to split their attention further. The automated monitoring of key performance data combined with intelligent situational handling of that data gives drivers an extra edge. In racing, fractions of seconds matter, and if we can eliminate distractions–evenly minimally–we can contribute positively to the team.
Jonny: Technology plays a large role when it comes to the in-car capabilities and driver experience. In terms of driver performance, they’re receiving real-time live feedback in several different areas, including from their digital dash, health monitors, telemetry data and GPS data. All things that drivers and teams rely on to get the most out of their car and compete at the highest level.
3. In what ways do you think races will become more digitized? For example, with TRD we see iRacing and with Endava we see virtual showrooms.
Justin: The digital simulation of real-world scenarios–in racing and more broadly–provides huge value to participants. In inherently dangerous situations, the use of hyper-accurate simulations can provide situational training opportunities that would normally be too risky in which to repeatedly engage. Further, with intelligent digital simulations, we can create a level of nuanced variability in those experiences to maximize realism and accelerate the value of the training. Much like the creation and management of virtual showrooms, the level of detail in those experiences is critical to the overall value it creates.
Jonny: There are three ways that we see racing becoming more digitized as we continue to move forward. The first being with the fans. More and more apps are emerging and using data to engage fans and enhance their experience through methods such as using driver cameras and showing the audience what strategy their favorite team is deploying. The next one is Augmented Reality (AR), which will allow fans to delve into each race and follow it from every angle. Lastly, with the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), there are going to be opportunities to optimize race strategy and execution on the team side.
4. What’s the best part of being at the races in person?
Justin: Personally, I believe the power and speed of watching a race in person is the best part. The sensation is downright visceral–you can feel it in your chest as much as you can hear or see it. Watching a race on TV will never compare to experiencing it live.
Jon: There is nothing more enjoyable than bringing a new brand into the motorsports world and being at the track when stakeholders see their car in person for the first time. Or, when the field of cars drives by at full speed, and they get to experience the adrenaline rush that racing offers. Being able to craft a partnership that works well for all parties involved and allows the partner to experience something new is extremely rewarding.
5. If you could describe the partnership using one racecar movie quote, what would it be?
Justin: That’s easy. Both TRD and Endava have a history of winning and an ambition to be the best in the fields in which we operate–and that alignment of spirit is amazing in our partnership. We’re committed to excellence and will settle for nothing less. Perhaps a bit tongue in cheek, but in the sage-like words of Ricky Bobby, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” 😉
Jon: While it is not a movie quote, racing legend Mario Andretti once said, “If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”
Within our industry, TRD is always pushing the envelope and looking for ways to find advantages, whether it is on or off the track. The partnership with Endava is going to allow us to continue to push those boundaries and ultimately make quicker and faster decisions throughout the organization.
To learn more about our new partnership with TRD, read the official announcement here.
Chief Digital OfficerJustin has spent the last 20 years helping clients provide the kind of customer experiences that build lasting brand loyalty. As chief digital officer, Justin combines strategy, creativity and technical know-how to unite the agendas of CMOs and CIOs. If you think that sounds impossible, don’t worry, he is a rock-star that understands quantum physics, a husband to a woman who is cooler than he is, a father to three awesome kids and an excellent public speaker. The man is unstoppable, except if you pass a whiskey bar, he’ll definitely want to stop there.
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