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How HMD Motorsports’ drivers will make being in a 10-car team work

by Ida Wood

Photo: James Black

Is there an efficient way to debrief on race weekends when you have 10 drivers? That is the question for HMD Motorsports in Indy Nxt.

There are advantages with larger line-ups, but drivers are having to learn as much as HMD about efficient communicating and data analytics against the clock in its big team environment.

“It’s definitely different to what I’m used to,” said rookie Jonathan Browne. “Half the grid is your friends, basically. The only good thing about [testing’s] rain delays is we’ve been able to get to know each other as people, and how HMD operates.”

Fellow rookie Myles Rowe noted HMD is operating in groups “because it’s so big”.

“A lot of people don’t know some other people’s names, there’ll be a lot of new people a lot of times, but that doesn’t stop us from loving each other and being one and being a family,” Rowe said. “It’s almost like the bigger, the better, is how I’ve been feeling recently. And I love getting to know the drivers.

“I’m feeling more in a group than I ever have. We really have a squad [or equivalent term], and that’s really cool. I can’t say I know all the mechanics’ names by heart, but I make sure I shake every one of their hands when I’m there at the track every day, or at least try to, and try to build that sort of relationship.”

The strategy Josh Pierson and his engineer, musician Alex Vedie, take for data analysis does not involve all of HMD’s cars.

“We take the fastest two guys on the team and then myself, and we look at what are the differences. It’s only three lines to look at, it’s not overbearing, but it’s also quite a bit of information,” explained Pierson. “Then we say: ‘who’s more around my speed? What are some things they do better? What are some things they do worse?’. The nice thing is with that many [HMD] cars is we have a huge influx of information. It’s really just about using it in the right way.”

Reece Gold meanwhile said having data from 10 cars “really helps”, rather than being too much to maximise.

“I can learn so much from each driver and all the engineers. I thought when I was [driving for a rival] ‘that’s not going to work, it’s too many people’, but they really organised it very well and it helps tremendously to have all the info and resources they have.”

Christian Rasmussen won the 2023 title with HMD, and actively helped team-mates interpret his data (which the team shares between them all).

“He wouldn’t give it all away, but he would definitely give things here and there to help the new guys out. So I’ll try to take on that role as best as I can, but I’ll still focus on myself,” said Gold, adding that “it’s kind of your own team within a team” but that “a good balance” exists between selfishness and helping team-mates at HMD.