If You Can Dream It You Can Do It

If You Can Dream It You Can Do It
Photo: Motorsport Prospects

If you can dream it, you can do it. This is what Enzo Ferrari apparently said (“se lo puoi sognare lo puoi fare”) and if that dream is to become a race driver, this week’s edition of the Driver Development News & Racecraft Tips & Techniques Roundup is for you.

I feature two race drivers from the completely opposite ends of the race driver spectrum. One is a young driver just making his way in the sport, the other is an older “gentleman driver” looking to make his Le Mans dream come true. What do they have in common? They both did what they needed to do to make their racing dreams happen. Hopefully these stories will serve as inspiration for you to fulfill your very own racing dreams.

In addition to these driver spotlights, I bring you some great racecraft tips, driver development news, a testing opportunity for young drivers and more.

All this in this week’s edition of the Driver Development News & Racecraft Tips & Techniques Roundup. Its news racers who dream can use.

Racecraft Tips & Techniques

In this older article from Road & Track, Chris Perkins explains How to Corner Quickly, as Explained by Pro Racers and refers to the Safe is Fast video above. “Corner entry is all about braking. “An engineer told me once, and it’s so true, ‘the corner starts as soon as you hit the brake pedal,'” said endurance champion Anthony Davidson. Getting on the brakes can help you rotate a car into the corner, as weight is transferred to the front providing more grip for the wheels that do the turning.”

Ross Bentley of Speed Secrets answers the following question in his weekly Ask Ross segment on the Speed Secrets website: How do I go from knowing what to do, to actually doing it on track?

In this 2021 article, CarBuzz looks at how to improve your track driving with these awesome tools. “Driving on a racetrack is arguably the most exciting thing a driving enthusiast can do in a car. It’s also one of the best learning tools to make drivers better, with the right help, of course. While lapping a track without any professional direction might eventually improve someone’s driving skills, we suggest a few helpful tools to speed up the process. By bringing a few handy gadgets to your next track day, you can “install” the ultimate upgrade to your car: a driver mod.”

Road & Track explains why there’s no easy way to make a race car fast. “In all of my research about car suspension, I have talked about advantages and disadvantages of various configurations and designs. And if one thing can be better, couldn’t there be a best? Surely there is some absolutely ideal setup, one that makes a car as fast as possible? Well, even when you dive into the world of motorsports, where faster is always better, you find that there’s no one clear answer, and it has as much to do with psychology as it does physics.”

Race Driver Development News & Resources

If You Can Dream It You Can Do It

Madpanda Motorsport will host a Junior test day at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on March 2. The Spanish team will test drivers for their 2023 Fanatec GT World Challenge Endurance Europe Silver lineup. Any driver coming from the GT arena or other series in motorsport and rated as Silver driver, are encouraged to participate in the test. Madpanda will evaluate the performance as well as the growth trait of young drivers on the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo #90. If you want to take part in the junior test, please contact: epcompanc@madpandamotorsport.com or on WhatsApp at +34 673 55 42 12.

AVL RACETECH launched their Associated Driver Program in order to help young talents in the beginning of their career. Lena Kemmer (AT), Luca Schlegl (AT) and Laura Bubenova (SK) will be part of the new Associated Driver lineup for 2023. All coming from different backgrounds and race series, they are united by one goal: to become a future motorsport champion. While Laura and Luca are both competing in different karting categories and series, Lena has opted-in for a career on two wheels. In 2023, the three youngsters are competing in the following race series and categories:

  • Laura Bubenova (Karting): Slovak National Championship/Morava Cup, Slovak Karting Cup, FIA CEZ Karting Championship
  • Luca Schlegl (Karting): Rotax Max Challenge Austria, Central Eastern European Rotax Max Challenge, Rotax Max Challenge Euro Trophy
  • Lena Kemmer (Bike): Women´s European Championship

As in Formula 1, the FIA has got the anger from teams in Formula E too. In the electric class, the issue was not about possible additions of new teams or the possible sale of the series, but about the introduction of the rookie rule. It is now clear that the FIA is on the losing end. “After lengthy talks, the FIA is now backtracking on the idea, reports the website e-Formel.de. Instead of two free practice sessions with rookies, there will be a special training session with only drivers who have never raced in this class. This session will be completed in Rome later this year, alongside the two ‘regular’ free practice sessions for regular drivers. There will also be a special test day for rookies on the Monday after the ePrix in Berlin.”

The Formula E all-electric series has announced WAE as its official partner of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) Girls on Track initiative. Girls on Track is an FIA programme designed to encourage girls between the ages of 12 and 18 to get involved in motorsport, and Formula E is ensuring the upcoming season will have an increased focus on education, offsite careers talks and a presence at all races.

Julia Pallé, sustainability director of Formula E, said: “We are thrilled to have WAE as an Official Partner of the FIA Girls on Track programme, that continues to grow in the quality and quantity of sessions that it delivers for young ambitious girls who are interested in expanding their knowledge and love of motorsport and engineering.”

The German automobile club has announced its line-up for the inaugural ADAC Formula Junior Team. Feeder Series has reached out to the ADAC to get to know the next generation of German single-seater stars.

Feeder Series also looks at the different driver development paths taken by the 2022 Brazilian F4 grid. “Brazilian F4 launched last year with the goal of exporting talents to competitive open-wheel championships across the globe. But has it managed to achieve this? Feeder Series reviews the latest announcements made by the 2022 Brazilian F4 grid about their plans for the 2023 season.”

Driver Development News & Racecraft Tips & Techniques

The Trans Am Series has announced the return of the Young Gun Award in 2023. All drivers under the age of 25 competing in the Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series will be eligible to win a $20,000 cash prize, which will be presented to the season’s top points earner at the year-end awards banquet. The award is intended to create competition between the series’ young, up-and-coming drivers and reward their success throughout the season.

“We are extremely happy to announce the return of the Young Gun Award this season,” said Trans Am President John Clagett. “The Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series has grown explosively over the last few years, and we’ve had a huge influx of younger drivers furthering their careers in full-bodied cars. The competition we saw between our Young Guns last year was impressive; they’re not only learning and honing their craft, but winning poles and races. We couldn’t be prouder of our young drivers and this program.”

PMH Powering Diversity Scholarship 2023

Parella Motorsports Holdings (PMH) has announced five female racers as recipients of this year’s PMH Powering Diversity Scholarship. Launched in 2021 as a way to create a more diverse field of drivers at the grassroots level, the program provides recipients with race entries for SpeedTour events. Previously focused on assisting drivers in Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda (FR Americas) and Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda (F4 U.S.), the program expands in 2023 to also assist drivers competing in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli and the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA).

This year’s PMH Powering Diversity class includes two women racing in F4 U.S. with Hannah Greenemeier and Ava Dobson, two in Trans Am with Michele Abbate and Amy Ruman, as well as Kaylee Bryson, who will race in SVRA while she works her way toward Trans Am competition.

Sophia Florsch’s return to Formula 3 has been subsidized by the championship due to the financial difficulties experienced by female drivers when raising racing budgets, says the series’ CEO Bruno Michel. “That’s what we’re trying to do with F1 Academy, helping young drivers to find budgets,” Michel said. “We subsidized the budgets ourselves quite a bit. It’s true that it’s not easy to find budgets at the moment, and I hope this is going change as well. That’s why we’re trying to help them as much as we can. This is why we are helping Sophia as well in Formula 3 this season. It’s more difficult, and a little surprising, for female drivers to find money than I would have thought and I’m really happy that we can contribute to that to help them to complete their budgets to allow them to go racing.”

F1 Academy has revealed the calendar and format for its inaugural season of racing, with the all-women series set to feature seven events, with 21 races in total – including a season finale alongside a Formula 1 weekend. Designed to feature as many F1 tracks as possible, the calendar provides an opportunity for the 15 drivers to compete on a variety of challenging circuits, helping to develop their technical skills and prepare them to progress to higher levels of competition.

Skip Barber Racing School has announced a $500,000 prize package for the 2023 Skip Barber Race Series season, with the overall Champion earning the grand prize of a $100,000 USF Juniors scholarship. The expanded series, taking place over eight race weekends, will be run on select SRO Motorsports America, USAC, and USF Pro Championship race weekends which means there are also excellent opportunities to network.

Graduates of the Skip Barber Racing School 2-Day Advanced Formula Racing School and those with valid racing licenses are eligible to compete in the Skip Barber Race Series. The arrive-and-drive race series combines the expert coaching of Skip Barber instructors with a true spec series, utilizing state-of-the-art Mygale Formula cars, offering a premier amateur racing environment at world-class North American tracks. Equalized race cars and a focus on driver development allow a driver’s true talent to determine the race outcome.

The complete prize package is as follows:

Overall Champion: $100,000 USF Juniors Scholarship
Overall Second Place: Full Season in 2024 Skip Barber Race Series
Overall Third Place: Half Season in 2024 Skip Barber Race Series
Masters Champion: Full Season in 2024 Skip Barber Race Series
Masters Second Place: Half Season in 2024 Skip Barber Race Series
Masters Third Place: Single Race in 2024 Skip Barber Race Series

Renault SA’s Alpine is once again in the run for a Formula 1 championship this season but with a much bigger prize in mind than just gaining a few podiums. It’s seeking women drivers. The brand, which finished fourth last year in the constructors championship, is boosting investments to develop female talent in professional racing, a male-only realm for the most part in spite of being open to women as well. Alpine has a new center in Enstone, its UK base, to develop performance-based individual training plans for aspiring female racers in an effort to fight gender bias in motor sports.

“There are very few women competing and working in this industry,” Alpine Chief Executive Office Laurent Rossi said. “By detecting, hiring, developing female talent we want to strengthen the Alpine team. It’s our way of giving equal opportunities to everyone and fuel the performance of Alpine.”

Alpine wants more women at all levels of the organization, from mechanics and engineers all the way to female drivers that can help grow the brand with “talent, merit and hard work” beyond considerations on gender or social background, Rossi said. While there will be no quotas, Alpine wants to increase over time the number of female engineers to 30% from the current 14%.

Have you planned your racing aspirations for 2023? If not then you should listen to episode 136 of the MotiV8 Training Podcast where the topic is Goals, Mantras & Vision Boards. You can listen here.

If You Can Dream It You Can Do It

If you are looking to understand the FIA’s single-seater development pyramid, Feeder Series has you covered. “In the previous decade, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) has made continuous efforts to create a clear path for young drivers to go to F1. However, despite the launch of this FIA Global Pathway, there are still many possibilities for upcoming talents to climb to the top, which explains why there are so many different junior single-seater categories. Feeder Series guides you through all the different championships.”

Ignite Partnership is supporting three new organizations, Gender Action, Bradford College and the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers (AFBE-UK), to create more opportunities for young people from underserved communities to progress into STEM careers and motorsport. Research shows that women and ethnic minorities are significantly underrepresented in STEM across the UK:

  • Women represent only 27% of the UK STEM workforce and only 10% of engineers
  • Black and mixed ethnic groups represent just 3% of UK engineers
  • Black engineers have higher unemployment rates than other engineers, being twice as likely to be unemployed 6 months after graduation
  • Only 9% of apprenticeships in engineering and manufacturing technologies are given to women and girls, and 2% by Black students

Driver Snapshots

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.

Garrett Dettman

If You Can Dream It You Can Do It

Racing is expensive but if you truly want to be a professional race driver, you will do everything in your power to make it happen. Feeder Series profiles USF4 driver Garrett Dettman, an up and coming driver who parlayed his internship with a racing team and a low budget limited F1600 campaign into a Formula 4 drive. You can read all the details here.

Christoph Ulrich

From a young driver making his dreams happen above to Christoph Ulrich, an older driver doing the same thing, this is his journey.

From visiting Le Mans the first time in 2015 as a fan, to winning the “Route to Le Mans” support race in 2018 and becoming a 24h of Le Mans finisher in 2022. Enzo Ferrari once said; “se lo puoi sognare lo puoi fare” – “if you can dream it you can do it”. Not even in my wildest dreams could I have ever imagined to race at Le Mans.

This is a little movie about a part of my journey to participate, as a 50 year old gentleman driver, at the most famous motor race in the world! I hope you enjoy this movie as much as I do. Thank you to everyone involved.

Christoph Ulrich
Mark Boudreau
Author: Mark Boudreau

Mark is the publisher of Motorsport Prospects. As a former lawyer, he applies his legal background and research skills to assist race drivers by showcasing the resources they need to make their motorsport careers happen.