Tire management is critical...
Tire management is critical skill at the track and back at the shop. The correct set of metrics should be developed to make sure the team is getting the maximum value out of each tire.
The variable costs are a bit more difficult to track. Again, by their very nature these costs stem from unexpected events on the track that can cause damage to your car. We call these crashes, costs that we expect to happen but don't really want to happen. Remember, sooner or later you will crash. As a well prepared owner you should plan for damage that is unexpected, especially if you are running for a championship and can ill afford to miss a point-paying race.
There are other, simpler ways to save money. Here are several.
Take Your Own FoodRacetrack food is not known as health food. Although some tracks have great menus, the point is you will save some cash by providing your own food and beverages. It is not uncommon for a soft drink or bottled water to cost $3 or more at the track. Shopping at a local Wal-Mart or warehouse-type store can get you the same product for less than 75 cents. If each of your team members drink several bottles of water or soft drinks each day, not having to purchase these items from the snack bar can save you a significant amount of money by the end of the day. A selection of fresh fruits and energy bars are a good start to keeping the crew nourished and content until meal time. This is a real slam dunk and way too easy to accomplish.
The engine is a component...
The engine is a component that can eat up a significant amount of your budget. Simple maintenance and attention to detail can be a driver of dollar savings. Just keeping the oil clean and the incoming air clean can add significant life to the engine. Keeping on top of any of the various systems on the car can save you money as well. It is easier to repair than to overhaul.
ToolsThis is an area where you can save some real money. Most teams have too many tools, including a good number of tools that are never used. While the old Boy Scout adage of "Be Prepared" is a good idea, you need to identify the costs of being prepared and how likely you will have to be prepared in the future. The idea of tools and what you have in your toolbox is often tied to emotions, not data. All you have to do is review exactly how many tools you have in your toolbox and how many do not fit any nut or bolt or screw on your racecar. Avoid the emotional trap of buying tools that you don't need or will not really help you run any faster. It is very easy to get sucked into the mentality that you need this new widget wrench when you may not have any widgets on your racecar. Look at any tooling and equipment with a very close eye towards the cost to your racing program.
Spare PartsIt is very easy to buy parts that you may not need. Getting a deal on some spare parts is not a deal if you don't need them to support the car. Buy what you need and no more. The cost of carrying that extra inventory is a cost that you really do not need to carry on your books. While it is valuable to have spare parts that are a requirement to adjust springs, shocks, sway bars, different wheels, and gearsets, you need to realize that just because you are getting a deal on a 500-pound spring, you may not ever need a 500-pound spring on your car. The same goes for that 21/4-inch sway bar. This is another area where you need to plan and spend your money wisely.
Remember, too, that used parts are just that-used parts. You need to be aware and thinking about why someone is selling these parts and if they really are that much better of a deal than a similar new part. The point here is to not buy more than you need or are willing to carry back and forth to the track. Don't buy it simply because you might need it or because you may like to try something different. Remember that spending money on a part that you may or may not need could leave you short of funds to buy parts that you really do need.