August 04, 2022 / Crew Blog

Racing Towards Risk Management

Geraghty Anne Ellis

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Racing Towards Risk Management

I have a bit of a risky hobby. I’m an amateur race car driver. I’ve been competing in autocross since I was 15. In autocross, drivers of all skill levels race both against the clock and each other in a 30- to 60-second obstacle course fabricated from a copious number of orange traffic cones, typically in a parking lot or airstrip. Cars can range from 20-year-old Mazda Miatas to heavily modified formula-style vehicles, and pretty much everything in between.

It may not sound as flashy as Formula One or racing along a stretch of Sebring Raceway at 130 mph, but don’t discount it. Because the courses aren’t permanent fixtures, they are different every race. At a national event, drivers get just three laps to put down their best time. They can reach speeds greater than 80 mph and will see probably 10 times as many turns, braking zones, and acceleration zones as road courses. Now, factor in the standard uncertainty that comes with any type of racing – variable track surfaces and conditions, ever-changing tire temperature and wear, and possible course disruptions – and you’ve got a high-octane sport that will keep any adrenaline junkie on their toes.

Each lap is different. Drivers must always be looking ahead and preparing for the unknown. One of my mentors says, “If you wait until you’re 100% sure of what to do, you’re too late.” Slow decision-making wastes valuable time. The opposite is also true. If you start guessing about what to do next, you can cost yourself time, or, worse, cause the car to spin or potentially wreck. Drivers and vehicles are equipped with standard safety gear to mitigate life-threatening risks, although they’re very rare in the sport.

As you get more experienced in the sport, you become better at gauging how your car will perform under different scenarios and where the limits are. Drivers constantly calculate the risk of hitting a cone, going off course, or spinning by analyzing the likelihood that scenario and the impact to their time (or their car). Drivers must also make instantaneous decisions on how to mitigate those risks by making inputs like adjustments to throttle position or turning the wheel to reduce the likelihood or impact of an incident.

Risk management professionals are kind of like race car drivers, evaluating external threats and analyzing the likelihood of occurrence and impact to their business and planning mitigation strategies. Just as with racing, risk professionals must prepare for the unknown and make educated decisions based on the information at hand, which may not always be the entire picture. While the threat of hitting a cone in autocross is a two-second penalty, the threats to your business can have a much higher impact to your personnel, customers, or operations.

We at Infinite Blue can help you cross the finish line with our configurable risk management tools. These tools help ensure you have the data you need to make informed and responsive decisions in times of crisis by organizing and prioritizing risks, designing controls to mitigate the effects to your business, and practicing your strategies through different exercises. Are you ready to turbocharge your risk management program? Contact us to learn more or schedule a demo.

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