There is a lot of Racecraft and Driver Development News, Tips and Techniques this week but before I get into all that I wanted to start off with a note about perseverance. Every team manager and driver coach I have spoken to has stressed the absolute need for perseverance if you are to succeed in motorsport. Racing is tough enough and nothing will be handed to you on a platter so the need to work your tail off, every day both on and off the track is critical to making a legitimate go at it.
Aside from perseverance it is important to work on your racecraft and I have a number of tips from some of the most authoritative names in driver development looking at pre-season training on a simulator, working with a driver coach and trainer, out-braking on the outside of a corner, making the most of your first track day and more. I also feature news on driver development programs and initiatives from the UK, mainland Europe, New Zealand and the United States. Enjoy!
Thoughts on Perseverance
Perseverance is defined as “doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” Motorsport and the drivers and riders that compete are the definition of perseverance. Despite all the odds they press on and get it done. It never ceases to amaze me how drivers who face significant developmental hurdles press on in order to make their motorsport dreams happen and this week I have two such examples.
- Despite a horrific crash at Pocano that almost killed him and following 3 years of very tough physiotherapy that he has chronicled on social media, Robert Wickens made good on his vow to race again and has been announced as one of the drivers for Bryan Herta Autosports’ Hyundai TCR car team. While admitting that a return to Indycar is unlikely, Wickens is fully focused on making his transition to TCR a success.
- Not all challenges are physical. Austin Riley has not let his autism interfere with his dream of becoming a professional race driver. A documentary following the Riley family across the country as their son, Austin, chases his dream of becoming a professional race car driver is now available to stream for free and it is inspiring. As his family explains, “our goal is to raise awareness for autism by harnessing the power of story telling. By sharing Austin’s story with the world, we aim to educate, inspire, and as a result empower each and every person we come in contact with. Empower those with autism to do great things and empower those without it by providing them with a deeper level of love and empathy for their fellow human beings.”
As these two drivers demonstrate, perseverance, hard work and believing in yourself are what separates success from failure. A lesson that can be applied to life in general, not just on the race track.
Racecraft & Training Tips & Techniques
- Enzo Mucci looks at why you want to use a simulator in your off-season training in the brief video above.
- Speed Cafe has published part 1 of an excellent look at driver prep. Have a look at The Final Tenth: How to unlock a racing driver’s full potential, Part 1.
- After watching this year’s controversial Brazilian Grand Prix, Ross Bentley answers the question: How can a driver out-brake another on the outside of a corner like Lewis Hamilton tried on Max Verstappen in the Brazilian Grand Prix?
- Have you had your body composition assessed as of yet? Read the importance as to why you should in Dexa – Body Composition via MotiV8 Training.
- Speaking of MotiV8 Training, they’re long-awaited membership site, which will contain resources that cover sponsorship, fitness, social media, mindset and branding, will be launched on January 31st 2022. On the site, you will find templates, podcasts, checklists and much more. They also offer a free downloadable guide with tips to get you started with your off-track development.
- In their February 2022 issue, Grassroots Motorsport explains why Motorsports is a mental game, too.
- Grassroots Motorsports also explains how to tackle your first track day from their June 2015 issue.
- Finally, have you ever wondered what goes on at an F1 driver’s pre-season training camp? Check out the video above from Williams Racing for an idea.
Driver Development News
- New Germany-based non-profit racing team PHM Racing, who have announced their participation in F4 UAE, plan to do things a bit different. As Charlie Parker explains in his feature in F1 Feeder Series, the team is looking to change the way drivers are developed so that drivers need not be from a rich background to compete. And they are just getting started.
- New Zealand-based Tony Quinn Foundation has been developed to give New Zealand drivers an opportunity to develop and shine locally and on the international stage, much like they are doing with their recent grant recipient Liam Lawson for his F2 campaign. Tony Quinn, who owns the Highlands, Hampton Downs and Taupo race circuits in New Zealand, launched his Foundation last year and has already committed over $200,000 to scholarships for emerging racing drivers. You can find out more about their programs here.
- The Ferrari Driver Academy has announced their plans for 2022 which sees Marcus Armstrong exit the Academy, Calum Ilott put on a “gap year” in IndyCar and a total of seven young men and two young women being part of the program.
- The W Series Driver Search & Testing Program has expanded to North America with their test for prospective drivers at the Inde Motorsports Ranch, Arizona, USA, which will take place between 31 January and 4 February 2022. As Racing Director Dave Ryan explains, “The purpose of this test is to get to know a new group of drivers and understand what they are capable of as we finalise our 2022 driver line-up and look to the future. All of the drivers who will be with us in Arizona have demonstrated talent and potential in their careers so far and, while some may be a year or two away from racing in W Series, this is an opportunity for them to showcase their skills and for us to accelerate their development. The final round of our 2021 season at the Circuit of the Americas was very successful and proved what a great appetite there is for W Series in the USA. I am therefore delighted to be staging this test at the Inde Motorsports Ranch with a great group of drivers, many of whom have experience of racing in the Americas.”
- Meanwhile, Formula Woman has announced the acceptance of their entry for a two car Formula Woman McLaren GT4 race team into the 2022 British GT Cup, with the support of McLaren Customer Racing. The winners of the Formula Woman assessments will thus have a place to hone their competitive skills on track.
- Base Performance Simulators are set to enhance ROKiT British F4 driver preparation from 2022 with the announcement that they will be offering their support to series drivers. Included within the championship registration fee for entrants next season will be two free sessions on the simulator, as well as a discounted rate for further sessions to enhance pre-event preparation and testing for all competitors.
- The Maffi Racing Association has officially been launched. The goal for the Swiss-based program, part of Maffi Racing, is to “help young talented women and men from diverse backgrounds, who aspire to build their career in Motorsports and related industries, but who have difficulties pursuing their career dreams due to their limited financial capabilities.”
- Formula de Campeones have announced that Alvaro Garcia and Max Mayer have been awarded Spanish F4 seats as part of the team’s annual shootout. Ignacio Avino, president of the Valencian automobile federation and one of the commissioners who assessed the finalists, said “there (were) two places for three drivers” such was the closeness of the three finalists and the difficulty in deciding the winners.”
- Motorsport Ireland & Formula Female have announced the Go Girls Karting & STEM initiative for 2022. The program, supported by Sport Ireland and Cjj Motorsports is designed to drive visibility, opportunity and a pathway to active participation in the Motorsport Ireland Karting Championship.
- I mentioned last week how Cem Bolukbasi has transitioned from gamer to F2 driver. Vroom International looks a bit more into the implications of this for driver development in general in Cem Bolukbasi, from “gamer” to F2: child’s play?
- Finally, how young is too young to make the transition from karts to cars? Luca Badoer , whose son is racing in karts, feels that 14 is just too young to start testing an F4 car. “They lack maturity. Physically and mentally, they need to wait and pursue their karting career a bit more.”
That is it for this week. See you tomorrow where I will post my weekly review on tips and resources for developing your career off track with the latest news related to the Business of Being a Race Driver. Stay safe and I will see you then!