Sample: Issue #2
This week's contributor is Peter Krause,
who is one of the most experienced, knowledgeable and best driver coaches
around. While he's been at this for a long time - and worked with drivers
at every level and type of motorsport - he's also on the leading edge
when it comes to using data and video as tools to help drivers perform
Peter's advice and perspective!
Five Things Every Track Day & HPDE Driver Should Know
by Peter Krause
competition driving gets an inordinate amount of ink and bytes relative
to the number of people that practice it. As a professional coach
known for working with historic, marque club and club racing
drivers, people often approach me or send an email opening
with, "I know you're a racing coach, but do you ever work
with track day and HPDE drivers?" My answer? Of course!
Statistics show that
nearly 100,000 people (in high season) are on-track every weekend
somewhere in North America. While a few of these HPDE
drivers progress (and continue to progress) quite far in
professional sports car racing (James Clay and Mike Skeen are two
examples), most participants have no inclination, desire or
ambition to engage in wheel-to-wheel competition.
Let's get one thing
straight: I believe what track day and HPDE drivers are doing at
various Hooked on Driving, TrackDaze, NASA or PCA/BMWCCA
drivers education events is JUST as important, rewarding and
worthwhile as "going racing," if not more!
One of the key
components contributing to the success of any top-level driver is
the fact that they can generally execute fundamental skills REALLY
well. Instead of the distractions and emotions invariably stirred up by
competition, the ability to practice these fundamental skills in a
safe, controlled environment is extremely valuable. The assembly
of the proper "building blocks" is something that should
be well ordered, managed and of the highest priority. Thankfully, there are plenty of good resources to help
guide track day and HPDE drivers in the right direction.
This sport is full of
distractions, frustrations and "performance plateaus."
It is also one of the most exhilarating pastimes imaginable and one
that is sure to 'set the hook" in any motorsports enthusiast.
By formulating a plan, the track day or HPDE driver can really
"practice perfect" and have much more in common with a
competition driver's desire to use as much of the car's capability as
they are comfortable with, within the rules, practice and protocol of
that track day or driver's education event. What can you do as a
track day or HPDE driver to make sure you keep the magic alive in your
hobby? Here are five things that can help.
- Frequency .
The more you do it, the better you get. It may not be a smooth
progression - a lot of folks get "stuck" until the light
bulb comes on or they make a mistake that has fewer ramifications
than they expected and they realize that there's "more
- Targeted improvement. Set very specific skills execution or
on-track car placement goals and STICK WITH them until you
can "do it in your sleep." All too often, drivers only
see the yawning chasm of EVERYTHING they think they don't do
well, never bothering to develop a plan to improve,
piece-by-piece, step-by-step. Start gently and add speed slowly,
because it's very hard to take it off!
- Homework .
Do it. In this day and age of YouTube and data-laden video, try to
become as facile as you can with the vagaries and topography
of the course, even one that you know well. You can NEVER know
enough about the track you drive (or will be driving) and to
reduce the amount of "questioning" in your mind (that
makes you hesitate in executing control inputs), you
MUST know what you will do, BEFORE you get to any particular point
or complex on the track you're driving.
- Good sense .
Trust your butt. If things are happening so fast that you're
reacting, instead of planning or "being ahead of the
car," there is something wrong. There is no place more full
of useless information than the racetrack paddock, and most of it
is worth what you pay for it! Trust, but verify... If other
drivers (or your instructor) says "Oh, this is FLAT,"
don't just throw it in there and hope it sticks. Develop and
execute a plan to get there, IF that particular goal is
important to you. There's WAY more time to be gained in the slow
stuff. Start there first, and always remember that your shiny
trophy at the end of the day is your pretty car loaded back in the
trailer or driving out the front gate just as pretty as it came,
less some brake pad material and tire tread!
- Upgrade your measuring technology. You can't know what you don't have solid,
concrete information for. It's never been easier to have real,
valuable and objective information overlaid on video, instead of
the intensely boring "riding around" videos. Many folks
start with the iOS or Android app, Harry's Lap Timer.
When you want something more reliable and powerful, get an AiM
Solo, VBOX Sport or a Traqmate Basic
and these, combined with RaceRender or TrackVision,
can add GOOD information to that GoPro you've been toting
around. The best tools are those that are integrated video/data
loggers. Come in from a run, pull the SD card and play what
you did with FULL information, right NOW. Our minds are
very powerful "loggers." We often remember the way
things happened on-track the way we would have
LIKED them to be, not necessarily as they WERE. So fix it. Take
advantage of the technology today to measure your performance and
mine areas for impro vement.
Have fun! This
is the most important ingredient to keep you engaged, interested and
coming back for more.
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