Howard Marmon on Race Team Size

This article was originally published in the February 20, 1910 Indianapolis Star and was written by Howard Marmon of the Nordyke & Marmon Company that manufactured Marmon automobiles. Marmon - the man - discusses the power of auto racing in advertising a manufactuer's product and the importance of making a full-hearted investment to yield results. Part of that investment was entering more than one car and deriving benefit from competition internal to the team as the drivers strive to out-perform one another.
Marmon posits that by relying on one team a manufacturer most obviously puts all their eggs in one basket leaving them vulnerable to complete failure when one issue arises. Further, by depending on the skills of a single driver the team is solely dependent on his ability to set up the car. If he lacks the ability to do that effectively or at least to a point that extracts maximum potential from the machine the reputation of the car suffers.
Also, Marmon stresses, the driver inevitably blames the car for poor results. All of this yields little in development input to designers. Instead, Marmon says, a manufacturer is best served with three teams, and, of course, three drivers. The drivers, intensely competitive individuals, become determined to out-do one another. A Darwinian philosophy to be sure, but most certainly a correct observation.
Marmon mentions a team he refuses to name that was "well among the winners" the previous year (I suspect this was Buick but that's just a guess) and notes that they were more competitive with each other than the rest of the field. He says that the Marmon team followed the same model when entering racing in 1909 and becoming immediately successful. He underscores that neither of his drivers, Ray Harroun or Harry Stillman were well known at the time but earned fame through winning races.
Marmon seems to qualifiy all this by saying a manufacturer should "have a carefully team that will play this sport in a fair manner. This requires care in selecting the drivers and also in managing them."
This suggests to me that while intra-team rivalry was encouraged, negative, petty and destructive competition was not. This had to be a fine line but an important one. How much information the different teams within the larger Marmon team shared with each other is unclear. The tone of the article suggests that it was not given freely but given that they all worked for the same company the data inevitably converged at some point.
Marmon concludes the article with an endorsement of the sport: "I am a firm believer in racing, and our policy is to continue in the game for the present season. Our output is well sold; in fact, it is hard to make deliveries; but still our purchasers derive the benefit of our experience, as, when they buy one of our cars, they know that it has a reputation for running all the time."

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