Review: ACE Thinking: Life Lessons From Engineering the Ultimate Racing Cars, by Mike Law

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Technology transfer from motorsport to other industries is relatively commonplace, however, the mindsets and working methods employed at the pinnacle of our sport can also be deployed to great benefit outside of racing. To this end, McLaren Racing’s head of vehicle dynamics, Mike Law, has set out to help others harness the lessons he has learned over a decade and a half of racing in his book ACE Thinking: Life Lessons From Engineering the Ultimate Racing Cars.

Based on a decade of research into the various disciplines of science, mathematics and engineering, Law has sought to distil his learnings to improve the efficiency of his and his team’s working practices; encapsulated in the ACE model. Within this, Law identifies the three key elements that have commonality across tasks. These are human beings with agency, the goal that needs to be achieved and the environment within which the task is performed; Agent, Control and Environment, hence the ACE moniker.

Within these headings, Law explains how some of the ideas derived from science and math can be incorporated to help inform the best route to achieving a given task. Throughout the book, Law works through how each element can be defined and applied to both individual and team tasks, bringing in real-world examples to illustrate how he has done this throughout his career.

What Law achieves is an almost perfect balance between theory and practice, providing a unique resource that should help those in racing, or any other arena, approach problem solving in an efficient and structured manner. As Law puts it, this is the book he wished had been available when he started his engineering career.

As an added bonus, all profits from sales of the first edition will go to The Smallpeice Trust, an educational charity that helps young people move into STEM careers.

ACE Thinking: Life Lessons From Engineering the Ultimate Racing Cars is available on Amazon.

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About Author


Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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