Scott Raymond Joins Performance Tech as Lead Engineer
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 27, 2018) – Performance Tech Motorsports welcomed former professor and engineer Scott Raymond to the team as Lead Engineer for the 56th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Raymond returns as a race team engineer at Performance Tech after a four-year term with IMSA as the Senior Technical Engineer. During his years with IMSA Raymond worked as part of the technical committee to set Balance of Performance for each car class in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
"At IMSA my main job was to find truth in the data," Raymond said. "I'm analyzing timing data trying to understand what's actually happening. I love solving complex problems, having tons of variables that don't make sense and at IMSA we were engineering multiple sports cars with a large number of drivers, which made for many variables.
"Coming out of my time with IMSA, I would say it improved my abilities with overall analysis. I trained myself to take away any bias. As humans, we approach anything with a preconceived notion. My job was to strip away that potential bias. Anything not backed up by data had to go. I learned to handle multivariable problems better. My best summation is I became really good at the recognition of confirmation bias and the destruction of the bias."
While on the job with IMSA Raymond was introduced to Team Principal Brent O'Neill. There were also a few other faces in the crowd he recognized from his days as a professor at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). One of which was Ross Bunnell who engineered the No. 38 Prototype Challenge for Performance Tech Motorsports in 2017. Another stood out, albeit it was more for the position he held than just having been a former student.
"I showed up to my first day at IMSA and saw James French on the timing sheets which was exciting. That just doesn't happen," Raymond said. "I was a professor at IUPUI in the Motorsports Engineering Program for just over three years. While teaching there, James was enrolled in the program and I had him as a student in many classes. I taught vehicle dynamics, mechanical design, programming and data acquisition and analysis, so he had plenty of opportunities.
"Many of my top students work in motorsports which is very satisfying. I had a student who got a job at Penske, she started in the design department and is now on their NASCAR side as the Xfinity, race engineer. She called me one day to tell me that she wouldn't be who she was if it wasn't for me, and I was so taken back by that because it was amazing to hear I made a difference in a life.”
Now, Raymond becomes a peer to his former students by competing against them with Performance Tech in the Prototype class. His return to competition will be special to him in part to the venue, Daytona International Speedway. This is where it all began for Raymond, as a volunteer at the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
He's ready to revel in the enormity of coming full circle in his career. First starting as free labor sweeping out garages, now working as the lead engineer on the No. 38 Centinel Spine Prototype with multiple years of engineering alongside numerous top teams in various series under his belt.
"I've actually never won at Daytona," Raymond said. "My second race ever was Daytona as a volunteer. I got my start polishing tires, filling coolers and sweeping while I worked on my master's degree. After that, Donna Freedman at TRG took me under her wing as a volunteer, then I went on to become an actual race engineer."
Adding Raymond to the pit stand is a huge move for Performance Tech as it joins the top class of IMSA competition. The team is in the position to claim back to back wins across two classes. Raymond is instrumental in making that goal a reality, and he's more than happy to be helping O'Neill.
"Two years ago, at the end of season banquet Brent won the Continental Tire Extreme Spirit Award," Raymond said. "I thought he was most deserving. He was consistently there doing a good job, which is one of the reasons I took this challenge. I know Brent is a fighter. He's going to go after it, then, of course, knowing James makes it fun."
There are many layers to the challenge Raymond takes on by being with a team versus representing the series. Though he may be working with fewer variables, there is more opportunity to interact and teach.
"When I worked for IMSA, I was competing against myself," Raymond said. "If I could predict the race winner with five minutes remaining, I failed. Now it's just myself, one team and one car against everyone else to win. So, in addition to competing against myself and a manufacturer now, it's competing to win. I love race strategy, it excites me to win.
"I like to teach in general and I believe in sharing knowledge because you’ll never know what you'll get in return. As an engineer, you shouldn’t hoard information. You can learn from anyone. I enjoy working with drivers and mechanics. With mechanics, it’s always a conversation, I don't ever demand mechanics to do something."
Catch the end of The Rolex 24 At Daytona Jan. 28 from 1-3 p.m. on FOX Sports 1 followed by podium ceremonies live from IMSA.tv at 3:00 p.m. IMSA.tv also supports the race throughout its entirety.
Tune in Schedule
2 – 5 p.m. FOX
5-10 p.m. FOX Sports 2
10-11 p.m. FOX Sports GO
11 p.m. – 1 a.m. FOX Sports 1
1-8 a.m. FOX Sports GO
8-10:30 a.m. – FOX Sports 1
10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. FOX Sports GO
1-3 p.m. FOX Sports 1