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Perfect Isn't Good Enough

Bench Racing

by Ryan King

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In the German automobile industry, there is a saying:

Perfekt ist nicht gut genug.

Translated into English, it means perfect isn't good enough.

For me, personally, that's the only way a car should be built and cared for.

There's a good reason for that and it isn't that I'm anal retentive.

When I'm driving a car, I'm very, very in tune with everything the car is doing. Every vibration, every motion, every response. At all times.

When I go to provide an input or react to a change, if the car doesn't behave identically every single time, I can feel the subtle variation and it throws off — even if ever so slightly — the precision of my input or correction.

That causes problems — especially when racing.

Degrees are the difference between winning or losing, living or dying, and enjoyment or misery. It doesn't take the difference of many to cause one or the other — particularly at high speed and/or in complex, high stress situations like trying to avoid an accident.

When a car isn't built and cared for with the correct level of attention — the alignment isn't spot on in every way, the suspension components are worn or imprecisely assembled, the brake rotors start to warp, the tires have uneven wear, the engine isn't in top shape, the transmission is shifted poorly and it causes the synchros and blockers to get dinged, etc — it causes the vehicle's dynamics to get erratic and/or change, and/or become difficult to manage, which throws off both timing and the speed and action that it takes to execute.

In a highly competitive or demanding environment, that can be the difference between success or failure — and failure is often bad.

So, as far as I'm concerned, the only correct philosophy for automobile building and care is "perfect isn't good enough."


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