BK: I don't find the differences a problem. Of course, there are rules to adapt to and know but in the end racing creates its own challenges no matter where you are. Among our top successes I would consider Le Mans 2003 and 2005, for different reasons. In 2003 we raced Bentleys. We ran a perfect race, the car was flawless we made good pit stops. We just got out-run by a faster car that did not break. Any other year that was a victorious effort. In 2005 we had a slower, heavier car, got in the lead after three hours and were hounded to the flag. We were constantly under pressure and slower some times by up to six seconds a lap. The team was unflappable and kept its head under some extreme pressure. I was extremely proud to be the only American team that had won since 1967. That was a special moment for sure. Additionally, running those races overseas was made possible by a supportive and focused team owner in Dave Maraj of Champion.
Ec: Previously we asked Ralf Juttner what makes a successful race team. Now it's your turn.
BK: I think a successful team is one whose members trust one another. Team members check each other and have respect. A good team is a diverse group where each one takes his job seriously and respects others' duties. A good team has strong leadership, may disagree at times, but acts in a unified manner when it counts.
Ec: You've been fortunate to continue working with drivers like Allan McNish through Porsche and Audi. Does this type of continuity help, or have cars become so technical that it is no longer that critical?
BK: I think it's very important. I feel fortunate to have worked with drivers like Allan for a long time. I think that kind of friendship and understanding helps advance everyone's thinking. There's a trust factor there that puts you all up to speed quicker. You know each other; you know the voice, accent, mannerisms. This can be invaluable during the critical moments of a race. It streamlines the language and creates an economy of words and movements. This description fits with almost every professional driver I have worked with. The results speak for themselves. You know their names.
Ec: Following that vein, driver feedback used to be the major element in testing, and now so many engineers rely on electronics. There seems to be a split in opinion as to the driver's importance.
BK: I'm old-school here. I will also date myself by saying that intuition about the tires combined with driver feedback are most important for me personally. No matter how technical a car gets, a human still has to drive it. Without that, it becomes a dry science. Data systems now are amazing in their resolution. They allow you to spot anomalies and trends better than ever before. This cannot be diminished, but at the end of the day, no matter how good the car is, a driver has to have the confidence to use it all and feel comfortable.
Ec: How will the recent economic problems affect preparations for the new season?
BK: I'm certain they will in some way. It is difficult to speculate on. I think all businesses big and small will feel an impact. I'm optimistic for the series due to its emphasis on development of alternative fuels technology.