Why is fitness so important for Le Mans? Cadillac’s Gerry Convy reveals all!
Gerry Convy has worked with the best in the business including the likes of Juan-Pablo Montoya, Paul di Resta, Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries and he exudes a calm discipline that is as impressive as it is unobtrusive.
He helps champions to become champions and then stay champions.His clients listed above know all about that as he has pushed them physically and mentally over 20 years in the motorsport world.
For 2023, Convy is embedded in the Cadillac Racing team, not just as the performance coach but as a pillar of the team that was built to represent Cadillac on the international Hypercar stage for the very first time.
So, where to start with a squad essentially built from the ground up over the last nine months?
“The number one thing is characters; you’ve got to get the right people in place,” Convy explained.
“As in any walk of life you only need one bad character, and whether you've got a set of great characters or strong characters, the one bad apple can spoil it… Getting the right characters in, with experience is therefore vital. Because we're a new team, we didn't have the luxury of building people up in to the roles. We didn't have a preseason to do team building, etc, which would have been ideal, but that's life.”
Convy was integral to Team Principal Stephen Mitas’ vision for the team. He says, that to him it was “really important thing is that I was involved in the recruitment of the mechanics. So, I could advise on the kind of people you want in your team... To share that with the Team Principal, who would listen to my opinions and where we’d actually interview the guys together was really important."
Convy has the knowledge and the experience to know what the building blocks of the team should be, and deliberately he advised against a ‘one nation’ policy when it came to hiring.
“We know we've got the right characters and the right fits…we were very particular in that we wanted guys from different countries. That’s because we think every country and every culture brings different strengths.
“We've got quite a mixture of guys in the team. We make sure characters that fit together, but also a mixture of nationalities is good, because I'm not really keen on having an all-German or British squad.
“They've all got their strengths, but they've all got limitations as well. So, when you get different cultures you get a range of skills and strengths.
Obviously Mitas and Convy want the team to be fit and mobile, and that is what they have in abundance, yet the physical and mental sides of preparation are a continuing project.
“They really look after themselves and they're mentally prepared for what is ahead.
“Le Mans now is like a series of sprints, and it's more than 24 hours, it's 40 hours, you got long days ahead on the weekend. Measuring that level of fatigue and managing it is really important. So, you've got to get the right fluids in and get the right habits of nutrition into people quickly.
Convy added: “Stretching and keeping mobile is key because you never know when you're going to get that emergency pitstop, that can happen spontaneously, and you've got to be ready at all times. These people aren't athletes but they have to have that athlete mindset. That's what I try to do all the time. Get that image of being an athlete in to their heads.”
The mental application is something that Convy enjoys. Its’s crucial and even more so at a high pressure event like Le Mans, especially with this year’s edition being so special as it celebrates its 100th anniversary.
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