Markus Lattner may take his job as an improvement manager for a Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) farm seriously, but he knows the value of a hobby about which he feels passionate. For Markus Lattner, a love for racing came early, while racing with his father in Austria.
Markus Lattner’s father was passionate about racing as well. In fact, Lattner fondly recalls joining his father as he worked with the Austrian Rally scene. Watching his father support drivers at the beginning of their careers taught Markus Lattner the importance of hard work and perseverance.
Today, Markus Lattner tells us what he enjoys most about rally racing, which is still a family affair.
Zrylw: When it comes to rally racing, you aren’t just a fan. You also work on the technical side, right?
Markus Lattner: I’ve repaired and helped build cars for the races. My brother owns his own business building and repairing cars for the sport, so we both have a special interest in it.
Zrylw: What’s one of the things you like most about this sport?
Markus Lattner: I love the fact that it stays true to its roots. Rally racing is one of few sports committed to its history. Rally racing features cars like you and I drive on roads like the ones you and I ride on every single day.
Zrylw: Rally races also have co-pilots. That isn’t seen in other forms of racing.
Markus Lattner: The co-pilot helps the driver by telling them where to Drive and what the next turn is and at which optimum speed it can be taken.
Zrylw: Like a GPS?
Markus Lattner: A human navigation system, yes.
Zrylw: Have you ever done ride-alongs?
Markus Lattner: As a kid I would sometimes ride along with the drivers. I can’t tell you how great the experience was.
Zrylw: What did you learn from these?
Markus Lattner: I saw firsthand just how alert and experienced these drivers must be. Professional racing is far more than steering a car and pressing a gas pedal. It’s hard work.
Zrylw: Did you ever want to be a driver yourself?
Markus Lattner: What boy wouldn’t? But I learned so much working with the support team, and as I got older I ended up putting that knowledge to use in the business world.
Zrylw: How so?
Markus Lattner: When you’re working with the pit crew, you see how slimmed-down and efficient the process is.
Zrylw: Is this where you learned the lean manufacturing you speak about today?
Markus Lattner: It provided the core principles, yes. A pit crew has to be on top of everything. There’s no wasting time or working with clutter. It’s the same philosophy I apply to my work with manufacturers.
Markus Lattner has a love for the environment and brings that love to the sport of rally racing. He points to advancements in car safety and technologies that were developed with the sport and helped to improve them for everyday cars.