Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) announced at the end of January that they would expand to a two-car team with Tristan Vautier driving their second car in IZOD IndyCar Series competition in 2013. Like expansion in any organization, careful planning and execution is crucial to ensure that the team hits the ground running when both cars roll off the transporter in St. Petersburg, Fla. on March 22. SPM General Manager Rob Edwards sat down to walk through some of the major changes SPM has underwent to ensure the team is properly equipped to provide Simon Pagenaud and Tristan Vautier with competitive cars.
Tristan was recently announced as a second entry for SPM, but when did planning for a second car first begin?
Rob Edwards: Expanding to two cars full-time has been a goal since we started the team. We started planning the switch to two cars in detail when the checkered flag fell at Fontana but only really started to hire people and purchase things we needed after the first of the year.
How many SPM employees were able to switch over from Firestone Indy Lights to IndyCar?
RE: We were able to move four mechanics from Indy Lights to IndyCar – Taylor Kiel, Max Neyron, Nic Kaminski and Michael Langston.
How many new people have you hired, and what are their roles for the team?
RE: Allen McDonald and Dan Hobbs (Engineers)
Dan Rushing, Pascal Houtin and Tom Jacobs (Mechanics)
Josh Davis-Butte & TBA (Truckees)
Can you provide a list of major equipment you have had to buy to prepare for next season?
RE: We’ve bought a chassis from Michael Shank Racing and a trailer from Kentucky Trailer. We had two sets of equipment when FAZZT purchased Roth Racing and we ran two cars in the second half of the 2011 race season, so we already had a lot of what we needed.
Have you ever spearheaded a change of this magnitude on a team before? What are some of the challenges that have surfaced?
RE: When I worked with Derrick Walker we ran two ChampCars, two Formula Atlantic cars and two Formula BMW cars in 2006 so yes, change of this magnitude is nothing new. The biggest challenge is to find the right people to complement the existing staff.