New children on the block: Meet DTO, the consultants in motorsport experiences
Words from Nick Hendrix
Imagine the scene: you’re at your desk, your inbox bursts, the phone rings, and Janet in Accounts keeps bothering you about those quarterly numbers. The next thing you know is that your boss crashed through the door calling for a customer day – a deal is imminent and it says on LinkedIn that the company’s archenemy is ready to sell their own children to get this enable.
There is an established list of typical customer field trips that have proven themselves. The long, leisurely golf break has been the hotbed of many deals and the ever-prevailing dilemma of whether or not it’s good to beat your prospect. Then there is the boat trip – in good weather a rental yacht chartered from the south coast or even a motorboat can win up the river. It’s a self-contained place where hair can be let down without reproach and most skippers can be forced to navigate creatively and sign up to one or the other NDA. A third reliable favorite is the exclusive box at a sporting event – whether it’s Arsenal in the Emirates, England in Twickenham or The Ashes at Lords, because who doesn’t like sport and an endless flow of alcohol? Well, actually there are quite a few.
There’s a new and emerging industry of seasoned companies looking to buck the trend of unoriginal liquid lunches and stale conversations about beat averages. Forward-thinking companies want both their customers and employees to think, engage, collaborate, reap healthy competition, and hopefully learn about themselves and themselves. And it would be nice if everyone didn’t have to take the next 2 days off because they thought that a 6th Jaeger bomb would seem like a joke.
DTO exists to provide the best motorsport driving experiences, driver training programs and racing coaching
I’ll give you DTO Motorsport. A track day as a work trip is not necessarily new, because a great deal of interest in cars was often the toy of many CEOs, but nobody really got it right – DTO doesn’t actually do track days’ they have ‘motorsport experiences’.
When you picture the pit lane on a racetrack like Silverstone, you rightly imagine a series of garages made entirely of gray breezes, gray shutters, and gray concrete. The only thing that breaks the cold is the unpredictable and brilliant collection of cars you are about to come across – a trackday can attract practicing racing teams, classic car enthusiasts, or just a wealthy 911 owner who wants to let his frustration out on his right foot. It’s a great place if you are into cars, but if you aren’t, you need to warm up a bit, both literally and figuratively.
Founded by former American Express Executive Vice President and Fintech CEO Mike Jordan, DTO prides itself on delivering a high quality product that is as personal as it is professional. Jordan and his team show their knowledge of the world of luxury hospitality and their clear passion for motorsport in their various packages. These two main faculties are clearly recognizable as soon as you step into their inviting and downright cool space. The interior is so changed that one wonders whether one was actually still in the garages of the National Pit Lane and not stepped through some kind of teleportation device. A DJ spices up the room, there is a coffee bar, sofas and a flashy McLaren that sits between the furniture. The mix of car and character can be clearly seen.
DTO has a fantastic range of cars, all of which are serviced to the highest standards
When you arrive, you’ll be quickly worked with your racing coach for the day who is at the heart of their product – a true one-on-one experience with someone who really knows what they’re talking about. The fleet consists of all drivers who are currently at the start or former racing drivers. So those who don’t still race are teaching now, so they are even better placed to guide you. It’s an impressive bunch of talented guys and girls – all ready and very enthusiastic to show you the ropes.
The other beating heart of the DTO arsenal is its collection of cars. This is not a used sports car collection held together by gaffer tape and confidence. This is not a daily voucher that your Aunt June bought you because you “like cars”. It’s a real, deliberately chosen, performance-oriented line-up. There is a development from the performance street car to the track weapon and all steps have a reason and have been dutifully considered. In addition, the coaches all know the cars so well that they could probably disassemble and reassemble them.
The programs are tailored to your skills and your racing ambitions
After you’ve had a freshly brewed coffee, it’s time to drive – the buses take you out first to get you used to the route, the car, and the road rules. You are able to nurture a nervous debutante or push a budding Lando Norris – no one is too experienced or too inexperienced to personalize their coaching. Once all the intros are done, get behind the wheel and begin your trackday journey – it starts gently in the BMW M140i, a slightly improved version of the road car so you don’t confuse the interior and you will feel like you are still a normal car drive. This then moves into a Porsche Cayman 718 GT4 and on to a BMW M2 CS Racing and ends in a McLaren 720S. But that’s not all, the fleet is deep and often expanded, so there will likely be more that day.
Between trips, drivers are encouraged to sit down with their buses and analyze their data, all of which is recorded by the sophisticated VBox facility in the car’s cockpit. It’s a great tool for seeing how you are doing and encourages gentle competition among colleagues. Most of the time, someone with a vague interest in self-preservation slows down too early and doesn’t accelerate hard enough, which is easy to see on the screen. The challenge for all drivers, both mentally and physically, is to exert themselves to find that extra bit of courage that will increase their lap times and cement their peak scores.
Whatever your driving ambitions, DTO provides the highest level of racing driver coaching on racetracks and private circuits across the UK
The warm atmosphere and the hum of the engines envelops all participants in a sense of community and drama – there is nothing better than to sit down for a gourmet lunch and hear the roar of the racing cars flying through the open garage doors. Before the day is over and you have hopefully managed to leave the cars as you found them, the coaches take you on a “hot lap” – and show you what is possible with these cars and what you can do with them have made from the start. It’s pretty amazing. It will make the most terrifying theme park ride seem like a slow stroll to the post office and you’ll be amazed at how far you have to go to get that elusive “perfect lap”.
I’m not an expert on company outings, but I could imagine your team interacting with each other and with your customers in a pleasant, high-octane manner that can only be good for business. There’s no jaegarbomb in sight and luckily there’s no need to rescue someone who fell overboard or attack Nigel the intern when he decides to cross the center line. The only hangover your team can experience is a sore neck and the oddly optimistic claim from Dave in HR that he “really has a talent for racing.” Fortunately, you go home with all of your data so you can actually find out if this is true.
Use all images used in this article: DTO credit