This week in Racecraft & Driver Development News, Tips & Techniques I have tips on training your reflexes and your brain for optimum performance, how to know you are driving at the limit, a driver development program for Australian and New Zealand young drivers, the challenges of racing in LMP3 and more.
Racecraft Tips & Techniques
- VroomKart has an excellent, in depth look at training driver reflexes. They interviewed Matteo Cantella, psychophysical trainer of drivers of Undertraining Sagl, a Swiss personal training company in Morbio Inferiore (Chiasso). Matteo works with GT, GT3, and Lamborghini Super Trophy drivers. “There are four main areas: reaction speed, improvement of peripheral vision, reduction of focus time, and ocular-manual coordination. Different exercises can be developed in these areas that are related to each other and that allow for real improvement in driver performance.” Make sure you read the article as it includes informative photos.
- Speed Secrets is always an excellent source of racecraft knowledge and this week I bring you two more examples. In his regular Ask Ross column, Ross Bentley answers the question: How do I know if I’m driving at my limit, or the limit of the car?
- Also on the Speed Secrets Podcast is Episode 4 of No Dumb Questions with Jeff Braun, “Jeff Braun and I sit down to answer your questions, and we promise – there are no dumb questions, maybe just some dumb answers. On this episode, we discuss how to start approaching car set-up as an amateur endurance racer. Lots to discuss here. We also address what works best in the rain from a driving and set-up perspective.”
- In Episode 36 of the Your Data Driven podcast, Dale Thompson shares with the listeners “many interesting and pragmatic ways to better understand and setup your car – so that it is easier and faster to drive on track. It was great chatting to Dale to get his insights. I’m sure that this show will get you thinking. Grab a pen, grab a coffee, sit back and lets enjoy what Dales has to say.”
- Wondering what its like to drive an Indycar? Calum Ilott will tell you that it tears your hands up. “This is the hardest car I’ve ever driven,” Ilott recently said after completing his first St. Petersburg Grand Prix. The 100-lap race held on the Floridian street circuit exacted a stomach-turning toll on the English rookie, a Ferrari Formula 1 test driver who’s giving American open-wheel racing a shot. “I’ve got five chunks of blisters taken out of my hands. I felt them starting to bleed 30 laps before the end.” Producing nearly 5000 pounds of downforce, IndyCar’s Dallara DW12 chassis—mated with 750hp engines twin-turbo V6 engines from Chevy and Honda and wide racing slicks from Firestone—is nightmarishly fast in the corners. At the heart of the controls are the drivers charged with using their cores and biceps and forearms to resist the ungodly forces at play.“
- Can Virtual Coaching Turn Into Real-World Winning? That is the question that Grassroots Motorsports set out to answer in a recent column. “That quantum shift: online racing and coaching, specifically using iRacing. “I absolutely wish I had access to laser-scanned race circuits to utilize on simulations as an up-and-comer,” Patrick Long tells Grassroots Motorsports. For new drivers, he says, “it’s a huge tool.”
- Racecraft is not just about your physical fitness but your mental as well. In Train Your Brain for Optimum Performance, PitFit Training’s Jim Leo discusses his approach to “neurocognitive training.” “Leo designed his “neurocognitive training” to stimulate the brain’s neurological pathways. His goal is to improve drivers’ ability to make split-second decisions in a race car traveling 220 miles per hour while moving hands and feet, trying to read and comprehend displays, making steering wheel inputs, and dealing with: an elevated heart rate, an activated fight or flight nervous system, and extreme environmental conditions like heat and humidity.”
- Autosport looks at how to prepare for driving an unfamiliar car. “Whatever your level of experience, it can be daunting to hop into a new car for the first time. Our new Autosport Performance columnist Adam Carroll, a race-winner in GP2, A1GP and GT cars, shares his tips to impress and make the most of the experience.”
- Finally, if you are considering Formula Drift, the secret is smoothness and finesse, not violence. As The Drive explains, “the most impressive thing was the finesse. Being a car idiot, I’ve done my fair share of slides but they never felt as buttery smooth as Bakchis’ FD Nissan. There were no jarring directional changes, even through the transition points. I was not hurled around the tiny interior. When we first broke traction, it was a quick bump, and then just smoothness—and testament to Bakchis’ years of experience behind the wheel of a drift car.”
Driver Development News & Resources
- I have always been clear on my opinion that F1600 is one of the best training grounds for young drivers, and I am certainly not alone. In the the latest episode of the Formula Scout Podcast, Catching up with Van Diemen founder Ralph Firman, Formula Scout sat down with Van Diemen founder Ralph Firman to talk about the legacy of the racing car manufacturer he created in 1973 and the cars he produced that are still racing today. Well worth a listen.
- In Episode 1 of this season’s Traxion.GG Podcast, Romain Grosjean discusses how he is helping find a new generation through esports.
- PRI Magazine has an excellent special report called Follow the Science. “Scientific and medical advances that relate to motorsports can sometimes break through with revolutionary suddenness, but usually the process moves forward at a steady, evolutionary pace. Undertaking research to find new ways to keep drivers and crew safer, and improving driver performance, is a marathon, not a sprint, as the saying goes.”
- Is racing in Europe different from racing in North America? Jalopnik looks to answer the question when they talk to DTM champion Mike Rockenfeller in Here’s The Biggest Difference Between Racing In America And Europe. “Well, the biggest difference between being a race car driver in America and Europe is how relaxed things are Stateside. On the whole, Americans are more open and positive than us bunch in general, and that is reflected in how American teams go about their racing.”
- Australian and New Zealand drivers, check out the NAPA Know How Motorsport Academy. “With financial support and mentorship from race industry specialists including V8 Supercars driver, Bryce Fullwood, the NAPA Know How Motorsport Academy will give you the tools you need to succeed on and off the track. We’re not fussed if you’re into go karts, sprint cars, Formula Ford, drag car, super sedan, touring, production car, NASCAR or any other form of Australian Motorsport; all we care about is helping you get the most out of your racing experience.” Go here to register your interest in the NAPA Know How Motorsport Academy.
- The F1 Feeder Series podcast looks at Japan’s Super Formula and asks the question, is it the secret path to Formula 1? Watch the debate above.
- Dakota Dickerson is making a name for himself in sportscars after starting out in single-seaters. Racer.com tracks his progress in Dickerson climbing IMSA ladder via LMP3 as he offers advice on what is the biggest challenge in endurance racing. “Dealing with multiclass traffic was one of the biggest challenges Dickerson faced in his debut.”
- Twenty one year old Jack Hawkeswood is the 2020/2021 New Zealand Hillclimb Champion, a MotorSport New Zealand Gold Star Recipient and a graduate of the 2021 MSNZ Elite Academy. He will begin his New Zealand Rally Championship 2022 campaign in a AP4 Rally specification Toyota Yaris before moving to the fearsome Gazoo Racing ‘GR’ version of the car.
- Eight drivers competing in last weekend’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach weren’t born when Helio Castroneves made his debut on the event’s 11-turn, 1.969-mile temporary street circuit in 1998. Two of them were born after he won his first “500” in 2001. In Reeling in the Years: Helio Reflects on Young Stars in Series, Castroneves looks at the recent crop of rookies and compares their experiences with his starting out.
- Autosport looks at the MG ZR 160s that form Class C of the MG Car Club’s MG Trophy Championship in the UK and calls it the low-cost tin-top ideal for beginners to get started in racing.
- Finally, famed race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin will be taking on a new role with the Red Bull Junior Team. Christian Horner: “He’s going to take on a new role working with a plethora of young drivers, looking to utilise all his experience to develop Red Bull junior drivers.”