A Lesson from Le Mans

“I wouldn’t say we had the speed to win but we had the team to win.”

Andy Priaulx is a British race car driver who drives for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing. This past weekend Priaulx spent 8.5 hours driving at Le Mans. His co-drivers in the #67 Ford GT car were Harry Tincknell and Tony Kanaan.

Priaulx and his colleagues finished the in the GTE Pro category in fourth place, finishing just behind the #68 Ford GT driven by Joey Hand, Sébastien Bourdais and Dirk Müller, the trio that won the race in 2016.

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Imagine the challenge of driving hard on that difficult track: dealing with the car itself, the other drivers on the course, the ever-changing conditions as day turned to night.

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What caught my eye about Priaulx is a statement he made after the race.

No, not his “I had a lot of fun in the car,” even though that borders on the inconceivable: Let’s face it, the man was working. Guess the old saw about how if you love what you’re doing, you’ll never work a day in your life can be true.

The statement that says a lot—a tremendous amount in a few words—is this:

“I wouldn’t say we had the speed to win but we had the team to win.”

Think about that.

Here is a man who is putting his team—not only his co-drivers, but the team of engineers and mechanics and all else who work day and night for an immense amount of time getting ready for one of the most notable races of the year—ahead of all else.

It is almost as though he is saying that even though the car itself may not have had the stuff to put it on the podium, his team would have been the ones to get him there were it to be done.

“The car was great, the team did a brilliant job and we finished fourth in a race that is very difficult to finish at all,” Priaulx went on to say.

Racing at Le Mans might seem like a team sport only in the context of, say, Priaulx, Tincknell and Kanaan driving the #67 Ford GT.

But Priaulx recognizes that no matter how good a driver he is, or his colleagues are, it is the team behind the team that is key.

And that’s true if you work behind the wheel of a car or behind a desk.