Do you have the right mindset to win? This week I bring you tips on how you can work on this important aspect of racecraft.
In addition to building a winning mindset, I also have advice on exercises to train your eyes, how to improve your race starts and using a sim to improve your racecraft.
All of this as well as the latest race driver development program news and a few driver spotlights for inspiration in this week’s edition of the Driver Development News & Racecraft Tips & Techniques Roundup on Motorsport Prospects.
Racecraft Tips & Techniques
The video from Blayze coach Ken Hill above covers Eye Training Drills For Motorsport Athletes. “In motorsports, athletes need to have remarkable visual skills. The ability to focus, use quick reactions, and track fast-moving objects can make a difference in winning and losing as well as staying safe on the racetrack. Being able to increase your visual awareness can help give you a competitive edge. Strong visual skills are critical for avoiding collisions and maintaining a clear view of the track. Sports vision training helps to strengthen a racer’s dynamic vision, reaction times, and depth perception.”
Don’t forget that Motorsport Prospects readers get a special discount on Blayze services using this code.
Ross Bentley at Speed Secrets answers the question, Can you help me improve my race starts? How do I get better at the start of a race?
Your Data Driven has put together a step-by-step guide to learning a race track. “How quickly you learn a race track is a crucial part of being a successful track driver. Whether you’re an amateur racer or a professional, knowing a track well can help you to be faster, more confident, and more competitive. However, learning a race track takes time – time you may not have for extra testing days or extended simulator sessions. In this article, I share a step-by-step guide to help you learn a race track quickly and effectively. By using deliberate practice and a combination of mental and physical exercises, you’ll soon be able to drive out of pits and be straight on the pace. Know each sequence of corners, all the key reference markers. You know which kerbs to cut, and which not too. Where to push, and where not too.”
This week on the “Inside the SCCA” podcast, host Brian Bielanski talks about racing simulators and the difference between a gaming sim and a driver training tool. Brian’s guest is Matt McGivern from Spark Virtual Racing. Spark is not only an SCCA partner, but the company is on a mission to illustrate how racing simulators can become a valuable tool all SCCA racers should utilize while not at the track. You can listen to it here and watch the video version of the podcast above.
Race Driver Development News & Resources
In the video above, Enzo Mucci explains how you will learn how to create an Alter Ego that will help you be your best on track and give you the best chance of success.
Feeder Series reports that inaugural Formula Winter Series champion Kacper Sztuka feels that the new series is a good option “for drivers like me who can’t go to the UAE.”
“I think the Formula Winter Series is a great idea because it’s a good option for drivers like me who can’t go to the UAE because of low budgets,” Sztuka says. “We race in Europe on Pirelli tyres, which are used in British F4, Italian F4, and so on. That’s good because in UAE they use Giti tyres, and I’ve heard it’s quite different than Pirelli. Then, of course, another advantage is competing on Spanish tracks. There are some good tracks like Jerez, Valencia and Barcelona, which is a good preparation for the future.”
“Outside of sponsors, another opportunity to find more funding could be from companies working in motorsport. For the past decade, Pirelli has supported the winner of the Formula 3 Championship and GP3 Series via a scholarship to put towards a seat in F2 or GP2, with 2022 F3 champion Victor Martins receiving €300,000. Sztuka says that Pirelli and other companies involved in motorsport could be a huge asset for drivers lacking money.”
Hyundai Motorsport’s Customer Racing department has revealed the four drivers that will form part of its 2023 ‘Junior Team’. The Junior Team initiative is an expansion of the previous Junior Driver programme, which backed drivers including Luca Engstler and Jáchym Galáš in recent seasons.
“The support we can offer all our customers, and our chosen Junior Drivers in particular, is a vital part of the work of the Customer Racing department,” Customer Racing manager Andrea Cisotti said. “The addition of Junior Team programme adds further to the support we can offer our customers racing in TCR series. From their experiences we know that while both TCR Italy and TCR UK are incredibly competitive, Hyundai Motorsport-built cars have the strength to contend for race wins and championship titles. The additional support we can offer as part of our Junior Teams initiative at the race track and throughout the season should provide the crucial boost to the drivers, not just for 2023, but in their future careers too.”
Andretti Autosport has announced a partnership with Skip Barber Racing School, the world’s largest automotive education and entertainment company. The partnership builds upon decades of history between the two brands, with over a dozen of Andretti’s INDYCAR drivers, past and present, and five members of the Andretti family having been trained in Skip Barber programs.
Michael Andretti, Chairman & CEO, Andretti Autosport: “Skip Barber Racing School represents one of the best training opportunities in the world for young racing talent. We’ve been fortunate to have a strong friendship over the years and are proud to be able to evolve this into a greater opportunity for our future racers. Sebastian (Wheldon) will take a big step in his career this year competing in the Skip Barber Formula Racing Series with Gainbridge, and we’re excited to watch his continued development. I have no doubt he’ll be up to speed quickly and will grow immensely in the Skip Barber program.”
As the inaugural grid has been announced, Feeder Series asks the question, has F1 Academy got the drivers it wanted? “The average age of the grid is 20, three years lower than that of W Series in 2022. Comparably, the average age of Formula 3’s 2023 grid, which has more advanced machinery than F1 Academy, is only 18. Opportunities for female drivers have been far fewer than their male counterparts, and therefore it is not a shock to see this older age, but it is an indicator of the challenges that W Series and now F1 Academy are trying to address: a widespread lack of opportunity and funding for women at the forefront of single-seaters.”
Learning from the experience of others is key to succeeding in any walk of life and racing is no different. In Driver Snapshots, I will feature the experiences of various drivers where you can get some perspective on what they have gone through (and continue to go through) as they work to make their motorsport careers happen. I hope you can take some lessons from these experiences and apply them to your own motorsport careers.
Jess Wilkinson, Sarah Wood and Zoe Kyle-Henney
Last weekend, as the UK national racing scene got underway, there were some additions to the paddock, and none more distinctive – or historic – than the new driving trio competing for SW Engineering in the Porsche Club GB Woods Foodservice Boxster Club Championship. SW Engineering fielded three female rookie drivers; Jess Wilkinson, Sarah Wood and Zoe Kyle-Henney. The line-up marks the first all-female entry to compete in the championship, which kicked off at Donington Park on 1st April.
“Sarah, a barrister by day, has followed the sport for years but was encouraged to give track racing a go by her father and partner. Jess, who works in international business, moved from western Canada to the UK in 2019. She embraced racing after experiencing the thrill of a track day, while biomedical science graduate Zoe has built on her family’s long links with the sport: father Peter has competed in Porsche Carrera Cup GB while brother Matt made his racing debut in 2019. Competing with the very same SW Engineering, he won his class and the Porsche Club Championship overall in 2021 and was instrumental in SW Engineering securing the Teams Championship. Together with SW Engineering co-founder Ellie Bartley and Mandy Sear, Porsche Championship Coordinator, they are growing proof that motorsport is open to anyone who has a real passion for the sport, regardless of gender or background.”
Frederik Vesti discusses his career in motorsport so far to Paddock Magazine and offers advice for those drivers who may not have as much as others while climbing the motorsport ladder.
“Frederik usually succeeds in getting the most out of all situations. That has given him a solid backbone, making him hungrier and more determined than most. When his competitors could afford to put on new tires in karting, Frederik always had to settle with used ones. In the first years of his career abroad, he would stay in an old, worn-out camper that his father brought from Denmark. He could not afford the hotels where other drivers would stay.”
Callum Ilott has revealed to the Formula Scout Podcast that he struggled with mental health during his junior career, especially in 2016 when he also suffered from chronic fatigue.
“It’s one of those things [mental health] that sometimes people speak about it more. Lando [Norris] obviously dove into it quite a lot,” Ilott said as he admitted to also have struggled himself. “An athlete is, it’s a weird life. You know, your mood is dependent on your results most of the time. And of course, those results can change during the weekend, weekend to weekend, year to year. When we were doing Formula 3, there was three races on a weekend, and you could do a great first two races and mess up the third race, and you leave that weekend feeling like you’ve done a shit job in a certain way,” he explained. “So the answer is yes. I have struggled at times. I’ve had to see people to help with that,” he affirmed.”