Not All Race Driver Development Paths are the Same

Not all race driver development paths are the same and this week I give just a few examples.

Whether you are 35 years old or older or whether you start off in one racing discipline and graduate to another, there is no one way to become a race driver. For sure there are tried and true ways to develop your racecraft that enable you to grow as a driver but do not assume that everyone’s path is the same.

This week on the Driver Development News & Racecraft Tips & Techniques Roundup, I look at the Skip Barber Race Series Masters class as well as rallycross turned touring car driver Kobe Pauwels as just two examples of alternative driver development paths. If you are a regular reader of this column, you know there are many more.

In addition to this I bring you some excellent racecraft advice, a new electric junior development series, how FR Americas can be your springboard to Japan’s Super Formula, and the first driver signing of Canada’s innovative Road to Racing program.

All this and much more in this week’s Driver Development News & Racecraft Tips & Techniques Roundup on Motorsport Prospects.

Racecraft Tips & Techniques

Not All Race Driver Development Paths are the Same

In the video above, OptimumG lead performance engineer Bruno Finco explains how to analyze the driver inputs using techniques to achieve maximum car performance.

Autoevolution explains what you should know about the apex and what makes a racing line. “Case in point, what is the apex, and what does it do with the racing line? Well, the racing line is meant to be the fastest way around a racetrack or a specific route. Since reality does not always involve a perfectly flat track, with no banking and no other factors that may change things, the fastest way around a track, or around a corner, for that matter, may not be using the ideal racing line.”

Ross Bentley from Speed Secrets answers the question, how far from the steering wheel should I be sitting?

In the Masterclass with Willem Toet on YouTube, he explains “how aerodynamics is one of the dominant performance differentiators in Formula 1. But aerodynamics has also made it hard to get close to another car because following cars are in ‘dirty air’.”

Race Driver Development News & Resources

Driver Development News & Racecraft Tips & Techniques

The big news this week was the launch of the Ace Championship, projected to be a development feeder series for Formula E. The series, unveiled at the Hyderabad E-Prix, has pledged to provide an affordable championship for junior drivers, while also providing opportunities for new talent to get into motorsport. It is expected that the ACE car will have similar performance points to Formula E’s Gen2 machinery. The release states that the series will run on “a regional format and on regional circuits across continents”, which effectively renders the cast of circuits to be used as a complete unknown, or if it will run on the Formula E undercard. “We are looking at the ACE Championship to provide representation to people who are interested in driving, and engineers, around the world who have not had the opportunity to date and giving them a chance to level up.”

The series will be going up against the BRSCC’s Formula Foundation-E series in Great Britain which is being launched this year and the Europe-based ERA championship that has been several years in the making but has so far only held one race.

Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda (FR Americas) has confirmed its championship prize for the 2023 champion, and is once again offering the winner an opportunity to advance their racing career. Working with Honda Performance Development (HPD) and Honda Racing Corporation (HRC), the 2023 FR Americas Champion will receive a scholarship to compete in Super Formula, along with a host of other prizes. The FR Americas champion will be granted a 2024 Super Formula Scholarship from HPD and HRC. With a value of up to $600,000, the scholarship covers a substantial portion of the cost to run a full season, and includes an engine supply to run with a Honda-powered team selected by HRC. Additionally, the championship-winning driver will receive FIA Super License points, a carbon Bell helmet, a custom OMP Racing Suit, a Haas F1 Team guest experience at a U.S. F1 event, and an invitation to the FIA Prize Giving Ceremony at the conclusion of the season.

Driver Development News & Racecraft Tips & Techniques

Are you over 35 years old but still want to race single-seaters? If so, the Skip Barber Race Series Masters class may be the place for you. The champion of the 2023 Skip Barber Race Series Masters class will win a scholarship to compete in the 2024 Skip Barber Race Series, with second place receiving a half-season scholarship and third receiving a one-race scholarship.

Canada’s Road to Racing have signed their first Driver for 2023, 16 year old Antonio Costantino from British Columbia. Antonio will be racing in the highly competitive Toyo Tires F1600 Championship in Ontario. Antonio will be moving up from karting with Italkart Racing to F1600 with confirmation of the team forthcoming.

Road to Racing is a Canadian Amateur Athletics Association dedicated to motorsports, which has created a fundraising model for amateur athletes to assist in funding their racing career. R2R will be issuing charitable tax receipts for any donations made to Antonio’s fundraiser. This is a great opportunity to support Antonio and R2R, as well as make a difference in the lives of others. I talked to R2R founder Neil Braun back in 2020 about his goals for the organization.

One of United States-based SCCA’s most accessible activities, and one of its most popular and Track Night in America Driven by Tire Rack (TNiA) recently announced its 2023 schedule. From seasoned enthusiasts looking for extra seat time, to those with absolutely no previous on-track experience, TNiA has proven to be an outrageously fantastic place for everyone to have #funwithcars.

Track Night’s Hawk Performance Novice Experience is perfect for those new to being on track, or for those who are unfamiliar with a particular circuit and would like some guidance. Pace laps, drivers’ meetings, and targeted instruction offer Novice Experience participants a great introduction, while also giving those drivers room to enjoy the experience.

The sixth annual Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series has been announced and with the title of champion comes their $250,000 Championship Scholarship to move on to the pro ranks. Their one-of-a-kind race series is completely arrive and drive, they provide the cars, the mechanics, and instructors so that you can focus on racing to the fullest of your potential. More information can be found here.

Feeder Series looks at what is known so far about the new for 2023 F1 Academy. “Five of motorsport’s most successful junior teams – ART Grand Prix, Campos Racing, MP Motorsport, Prema Racing and Rodin Carlin – will race with three drivers each. Formula 1 will subsidise each entry with €150,000, whilst each driver must provide the same amount and the teams will cover all remaining costs. F1 Academy will use the Tatuus T421 chassis raced in European F4 championships like British, Italian and Spanish F4 as well as Autotecnica engines and Pirelli tyres. The series will be run by Formula Motorsport Limited and its CEO, Bruno Michel.”

Driver Snapshot

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.

Kobe Pauwels

Driver Development News & Racecraft Tips & Techniques
Kobe Pauwels

Having recently announced his move into circuit racing in 2023 in TCR Europe, reigning Euro RX3 champion Kobe Pauwels has explained how his two seasons spent in the FIA European Rallycross Championship was key to his development as a driver. “Moving into TCR in another front wheel-drive car, it will be a huge benefit having two years’ experience in Euro RX3,” he stated. “Working with such a professional team as Volland Racing, I learned how to analyse the data and set-up in a very precise way, and how to express what I was feeling from the car. It’s the small details that make the difference in the end.”

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.