Doug Peterman is never more comfortable than when he is behind the wheel of a racecar.
“The events I drive are only 30 seconds in the car,” says Peterman, a business management major and member of the Global Formula Racing team at Oregon State. “That’s one of the most enjoyable parts for me, that alone time going around the track.”
Global Formula Racing, also known as GFR, is a partnership between OSU and Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg—Ravensburg, Germany. The two schools combine to build formula racecars and compete against other schools around the world.
GFR has been immensely successful since forming in 2010, winning nine competitions around the world.
Peterman, a lifelong racing fan, has been a fixture with the team since transferring to OSU in 2012.
“I was looking for ways to get involved and I found a trailer for the movie ‘Relentless,’” Peterman says, referencing a 2012 OSU-produced documentary on the team. “I was pretty much hooked from there.”
He started working in the garage and quickly gained more responsibility within the team. Now he’s not only a driver but also GFR’s marketing and finance director.
The roles cover everything from managing social media to arranging sponsorships and overseeing the financial health of the team. This year GFR finished with a positive balance for the first time, a major goal for the business team.
“What keeps me going is that I want to make this team sustainable,” Peterman said. “We know we have a successful team with our results at competition, but how can we do this three to five years down the road when I’m not here, so they have all the resources and connections to keep doing it.”
The business of GFR has a direct effect on its success at competitions beyond providing resources for the engineering team. A business plan and presentation counts for 75 of 1,000 possible points in a competition where every edge can be important.
This summer GFR took first place in the business plan at Formula Student Germany as the team won first place overall.
“It took everything I’ve done in my classes to put together a legitimate business presentation,” Peterman said. “Putting all your effort into the story and the concept takes a lot of brainstorming and second-guessing, and then making sure it fits in with all the criteria.”
Still, the driving is always the highlight of the competition for Peterman. In addition to his experience with GFR, Peterman has trained at the Portland International Raceway and the Skip Barber Racing School.
“I look forward to that all year,” he said. That’s the icing on top of being involved with the whole thing.”
Peterman’s goal is to someday own his own racing team and serve as the driver. He knows his experience with GFR and at the College of Business has prepared him no matter what direction his interest takes him.
“Everybody who has a passion for racing wants to drive, but the cool thing for me is that I have the business side of it,” he said. “I can see what it takes to get a car out on the track, on the engineering side and the business side. The driver is the last little puzzle piece.”
For more news, updates and events about Oregon State's College of Business, check out the 2014 edition of The Exchange Magazine.