A lot of young drivers look at an F1600 race car as a relic from racing’s past and completely unsuited to developing their racecraft when they graduate from karting. They would be wrong.
In addition to the discussion about F1600, this week’s Racecraft & Driver Development News, Tips & Techniques Roundup includes a discussion of braking techniques, using data to go faster, the role of a race engineer in a driver’s development and the importance of fitness and nutrition.
I also look at the latest racing scholarship shootout developments, 25 ways to better enjoy motorsports and three more Driver Spotlights that you can take inspiration from.
All this and more in this week’s Racecraft & Driver Development News, Tips & Techniques Roundup.
Racecraft Tips & Techniques
To start of this week’s edition of the Racecraft & Driver Development Roundup, I thought that a drivers eye video of James Bladwin racing a McLaren 720s GT3 at night at Spa Francorchamps would be a great way to kick off the column.
Blayze Coaching has put together The Braking Masterclass For Racecar Drivers. “Where and how we attack and release the brakes is the single most important part of the corner and race track. In this article, we’re going to tackle exactly how we can improve our braking so that you can enter into any corner in the fastest possible way.”
Grassroots Motorsports looks at 10 innovative ways to go faster on track using data. “Let’s say you have a data system and can handle the basics: lap times, max speeds, lap comparisons. But have you thought outside the box about what that equipment can also reveal? Here are some creative ways to use your data system.”
In the video above, Enzo Mucci talks race engineering and race driver insights with Race Engineer Raul Prados.
Ross Bentley of Speed Secrets answers the question, How can I tell whether I have my brake bias set correctly?
Race Driver Development News & Resources
Last weekend, the Walter Hayes Trophy concluded with a win by Don Hardman Racing’s Joey Foster. Combined with the Formula Ford Festival two weeks ago, for many these are considered some of the most important events for young driver development and indeed, there was a huge amount of drivers that attended from all over the world. Many parents and young drivers may be asking themselves, is F1600 still relevant to young driver development, especially for karters moving to cars? As Road & Track explains, the answer is an unqualified yes. “An F1600 car is simple as they come, a tube-frame chassis with a bit of bodywork, powered by a 1599-cc Ford or 1496-cc Honda inline-four. The engine sends power to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual ’box. There are no hybrid systems to manage or data streams rendered on the steering wheel. Power is routed through an open differential.”
In last week’s Racecraft & Driver Development Roundup, one of the drivers that was featured in the Driver Spotlight was on Aliyyah Koloc. Aliyyah and and her sister Yasmeen have launched their #EQUALITY #RESPECT #DIVERSITY initiative, a campaign to raise awareness about equality, respect, and diversity in motorsports and to help young racers from unusual backgrounds to become successful in the sport. “At the 2021 Dakar Rally, Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc became the target of sexist and degrading comments by a competitor. The twin sisters who were only 16 at the time were understandably shocked at first, then angry. Then they wanted to change perceptions and outdated mindsets.”
This edition of the On the Kerbs Podcast features Claire Johnson. “Claire is a fitness and nutrition expert who knows exactly what it takes to whip up drivers and non-drivers alike into the best shape of their lives. We caught up recently to chat about how this line of work led her into the world of motorsport, the biggest challenge of her career to date, which racing drivers she’d love to put through their paces and much more! You can watch it above.”
Indy Lights has been rebranded and will now be known from 2023 on as INDY NXT. The rebrand, however, is also part of making the Series Formally Known As Indy Lights “fresh, more youthful and more energetic”, as the official press release puts it. More specifically, the document explains: “The 2023 season will provide an additional opportunity for a reset and a new mission to emerge, guided by an ethos that aims to inspire and relate to Generation Z and the young talent piloting race cars.”
I have mentioned that the FIA is reportedly working on an all-women feeder series for 2023, involving F4 cars and younger drivers than have been competing in the W Series. The rumored proposal has proven to be controversial in light of the financial struggles of the W Series, but W Series driver Jessica Hawkins thinks it would only be a positive. “Any championship that helps females out I think should be welcomed, and we should do everything that we can to welcome it,” said Hawkins. “I also would like to think that it would work alongside W Series. I would hate to think they would ever be competing against each other, because that’s not what we’re fighting for here. It’s not who’s got the best championship, it’s how do we work together, because we’re all trying to achieve the same thing. I think it’s a positive thing.”
The 2022 Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout finalists have been announced. You can read all about them in this two part feature: Meet the Finalists Part 1 and Part 2. The top prize is support from Mazda that is valued at $110,000 toward participation in the 2023 Mazda MX-5 Cup.
The Heart of Racing has confirmed nine drivers that will compete in its Female Racer Shootout, with the front-running candidate set to earn a spot in the team’s GT4 program next year. “With over 100 applications, The Heart of Racing team narrowed it down to just nine female racers with a range of racing backgrounds from across the globe. Selectees include Jessica Bäckman (SWE), Chloe Chambers (USA), Hannah Grisham (USA), Nicole Havrda (CAN), Jem Hepworth (UK), Chelsea Herbert (NZ), Rianna O’Meara-Hunt (NZ), Sara Misir (JAM), and Annie Rhule (USA).” All nine female candidates will head to Apex Motor Club just outside of Phoenix, Arizona in a bid for a GT4 seat in 2023 this week. The Heart of Racing drivers Roman De Angelis, Alex Riberas, Ian James as well as Paul Charsley and Ashton Harrison will be on hand to work with each of the candidates on and off the track.
TJ Speed’s Raoul Hyman has secured a scholarship with Honda to race in Super Formula next year after wrapping up the Formula Regional Americas title. This year’s scholarship will be valued up to $600,000 and incorporate an engine supply agreement for two SF seasons. As Honda is involved in choosing the line-ups of the teams it powers in the series, it will choose which one the scholar races for.
Chase Fernandez has been crowned the latest winner of the Ginetta Junior Scholarship, securing himself a fully-funded season in the Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship next year.
The FIA’s superlicence system is still being fiercely debated by IndyCar drivers as the two latest IndyCar drivers to appear in Formula 1 sessions both admit they have qualms about the FIA superlicence system. “The superlicence system’s perceived shortcomings were highlighted by fellow IndyCar driver Colton Herta’s plight earlier this year as he tried to gain dispensation to take up a seat AlphaTauri wanted to give him, but a lack of intervention from the FIA meant Herta had to forego the seat now taken by Nyck de Vries.”
Grassroots Motorsports gives you 25 tips to better enjoy motorsports. “The title says 25 tips for Motorsports enthusiasts, but a lot of it can apply to all! Fantastic article and it really makes you think… we’re consumed with life and all that’s going on around us that we do forget to actually “be present” in it. Don’t take the people in your life for granted, because they’ll be gone before you realize it and always enjoy the little things!“
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.
Nathalie McGloin (UK) is the first female quadriplegic racing driver in the world and, as if that wasn’t impressive enough, she is also a public speaker and an inspiration. “I love to see the shock on people’s faces when I get out of the car and they see that I’m a woman and I’m on a wheelchair. They are like: ‘what?!'”
Tom Long explains how his motorsport activities have evolved once he was no longer a factory driver. “Of course, I was disappointed to see my time with a factory team come to an end, but age and time away from factory racing does have its benefits.”
At 16, Josh Pierson explains to Forbes how he is determined to become an IndyCar series sensation. “My whole career has been open wheel up until this point,” Pierson said. “As for expectations, I don’t have any at the moment. It’s all about getting in the car and putting myself up against the Lights guys for two years. In IndyCar, it’ll be the same thing.”