This week in Racecraft & Driver Development News, Tips & Techniques I have some great resources that you can apply to your development as a race driver. From tips by the author of Optimum Drive to a course on data analysis there is plenty here for you to sink your teeth into. I also include two Driver Snapshots that should inspire as well.
Racecraft Tips & Techniques
Finding the Optimum Drive
I have interviewed Paul Gerrard, the author of Optimum Drive: The Road Map to Driving Greatness before on Motorsport Prospects for his experienced insight into racecraft and driver development. While he does not maintain a blog on the Optimum Drive website, he does offer some excellent advice on his Facebook page. Recent topics have included Balance and Passive Overdriving and there are always lively discussions in the comments section. A highly recommended page to follow.
Speaking of Paul, in the video above he breaks down his full race run at Pikes Peak from 2017.
Data Analysis for Beginners
Data analysis in motorsport is a key aspect to developing and improving your racecraft but it is not necessarily an intuitive skill. Here are two resources to get you started.
Grassroots Motorsport has an excellent article called how to demystify data acquisition that is a good starting point.
From that you can enroll in the Beginners Guide To Motorsports Data Analysis course put on by Your Data Driven. Topics in the course include:
- A step-by-step process you can apply immediately to gain useful insights.
- The basics of how GPS data loggers actually work.
- The data you need to know about and what you can ignore.
- Where and what to start looking at.
- What good looks like …
- What to focus on if you are novice, front runner or even a pro driver.
- What you can learn from how Olympic coaches develop athletes.
- Ways to create a plan that you know will improve your lap times.
Respect on the Track
I don’t often cover karting but as it is a fundamental part of driver development, I think the video above is instructive in getting respect back into karting. A panel of pro racers including Brandon Lemke, Race Liberante, Bradon Eves, Marijn Kremers and more discuss the most hotly debated topic in kart racing. It all starts here.
The Importance of Fitness and Nutrition for Race Drivers
Simon Hayes appears on the excellent My Data Driven podcast to discuss Practical Fitness And Nutrition Tips For Racing Drivers. You can listen here.
Why Race Simulations Work
WTCR regular Néstor Girolami won the TCR South America Buenos Aires endurance race with W2 Racing regular Raphael Reis recently and was quite clear on stating that race simulations during Friday were key to the win. “Our key was running race simulations in the free practices, we didn’t focus on the qualifying,” said Girolami to TouringCarTimes.com. “Being this is such a long race, if you don’t know how much you can push the tyres to the limit until they are gone, you don’t understand how flat out you can go. With those sims we got the tyres’ temperatures and degradations, that was useful data for today.”
As the use of sims increases and their benefits become clear, I wanted to delve a little more deeply into this aspect of racecraft but wanted somebody who had the experience and knowledge to help the readers of Motorsport Prospects understand why sim racing is so beneficial. Luckily I found that person in Davin Sturdivant.
Davin is a competitive sim racer, based out of the Pacific Northwest. Davin’s enthusiasm for performance driving and motorsports is highly engaging, encouraging people to become involved with the sport through his impassioned efforts. With an additional background in sim racing, road course racing, Solo II autocross and competition kart racing, Davin’s ‘superpower’ is being able to introduce new people to accessible forms of motorsport and pointing them to resources they can use to develop themselves. Look for Davin’s first post on Motorsport Prospects, The Benefits of Sim Racing to go live on the site, tomorrow March 15, 2022.
Driver Development News & Resources
- The Alpine F1 Team has launched a new ‘Affiliate’ driver program which will work alongside the team’s existing junior academy. Alpine says the goal of the program is “to support and nurture promising young racing drivers as they begin their careers in motorsport, as well as acting as a potential feeder program for the Alpine Academy”. According to Alpine: “The Alpine Affiliate programme will offer its drivers professional support and provide the benefits of working at BWT Alpine F1 Team’s world class facilities in Enstone.” The drivers associated with the programme are former Alpine academy member Hadrien David, W Series racer Abbi Pulling and Nikola Tsolov, who is managed by Fernando Alonso and will start his single-seater career in 2022. Karters Kean Nakamura and Brazilian Matheus Ferreira complete the line-up.
- The Street Circuit of Beyoglu, Istanbul, was this month named as the venue for Race TR, the second round of the FIA ETCR, eTouring Car World Cup, the new name for PURE ETCR on May 20-22. The promoter of Istanbul’s all-new street race has targeted having a Turkish driver in the series in the near future to compete in the country’s largest city. “The appetite for motorsport in Turkey is huge, and growing all the time. About 20 years ago we started to see Turkish drivers and riders show that they could be competitive in international competitions,” Mert Güçlüer said.
- Formula Scout Looks at the announcement of Max Verstappen’s extraordinary contract extension until the end of 2028 and notes that this is the most extreme of F1’s recent long-term deals. In their post F1 teams are showing big faith in young drivers, by blocking others out, what does this shift mean for young drivers now and then?
- If you are racing in the Spec MX-5 Challenge Series this year, you will want to read Michael Borden: The Factotum of Sports Car Racing. “Borden’s passion for sports car racing and the NC (2006-2015) Mazda MX-5 is something he’s been eager to share with others, volunteering as a novice instructor at autocross events and an instructor at high-performance driving events across the Milwaukee Region. All this led to a job as an instructor at Road America and, now in 2022, a position as the Mazda Club Racing Factory Team Coach in the Spec MX-5 Challenge Series.”
- I have mentioned many times the potential that sports car racing holds for young drivers. It is a topic I discussed with Paul Charsley of IMSA’s Heart of Racing Aston Martin team and Team Speed Club Racing about why sportscar racing is so appealing. Emmanuel Collard definitely agrees. In a recent interview with Sportscar 365 discussing his new status as a silver-rated driver, “Collard remains in doubt if his new rating will lead to additional chances later down the line, pointing to the steady stream of talent climbing the junior single-seater ranks.”
- Women from Formula E, the FIA and the series’ teams and partners were on-hand at the recent Mexico City E-Prix to educate and inspire the girls on the potential career paths and opportunities open to them in the championship and beyond.
- The pandemic has been hard on all of us, that much we all can agree on. Pitlane News looks at how the pandemic changed the trajectory of some young racing drivers’ careers.
- Debate still continues on whether the W Series helps or hinders female drivers in their quest to make it to the higher levels of motorsport, especially with the news that Jamie Chadwick is returning for her third year in the season after winning the championship last year. While Chadwick has explained that funding was the main issue: “I think the most important factor is the funding and to be quite honest, we were not able to raise the necessary funds in the short time that we had,” Jost Capito, the Team Principal of Williams Racing, says she will need to make the step up to FIA Formula 3 ‘at some point’ if she still has Formula 1 as her ultimate career goal. “It’s up to her how she develops her career. We support her path,” Capito is quoted as saying by Motorsport-Total.com. “I think she had a few options and if she wants to continue racing in the W Series, that’s her choice.“
- Speaking of the W Series, they have embarked on a collaboration with the UK’s Royal Air Force to improve opportunities for women. As part of the collaboration, W Series and RAF will run a series of joint events to demonstrate the career paths open to women and inspire young girls. Additionally, W Series drivers and RAF pilots, as well as engineers, mechanics and other female support staff, will work together to broaden their knowledge base in their respective industries. This will begin with a W Series visit to RAF Valley in Anglesey, Wales.
- Formula E looks unlikely to hold its traditional rookie test for a second straight year in 2022. The combination of the lack of a suitable venue and manufacturers being faced with massive workloads in collating and testing their Gen3 programs for the 2022-23 season have made it unviable. But not everyone in the series seems to agree. Venturi boss Jerome d’Ambrosio: “In the long term, I think this needs to be something that we try to do and try to keep on the calendar because I find it useful. And I think it’s important for us as a championship to be able to open the doors to young drivers.”
- A revitalized Skip Barber Racing School looks ahead to 2022 with a number of new programs, tracks and cars.
- Miki Koyama has been announced as the first woman signed to the Toyota GR Young driver program. The young Japanese racer will now return to the F3-based Formula Regional Japan series for a full campaign with team Super License, with support from Toyota.
- Want to get your car in Grassroots Motorsports magazine and see how it stacks up on track? All you have to do is fill out the form here to enter the 2022 Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge. Note that not all entries will be approved, they are looking for interesting stories, and don’t have space to allow everybody in. Once your application has been reviewed and approved, your registration info and entry fee will be handled through NASA, Grassroots Motorsports will provide you with a link for that upon approval.
- Finally, Formula Scout has a review of season three of F2: Chasing the Dream, Formula 2’s version of Drive to Survive. “There was a bit more focus on FIA Formula 3, namely on Oscar Piastri’s success the year before and on this year’s action on either side of the Monza F2 round, bringing us in at the Spa-Francorchamps round (handling the sensitivity around Juan Manuel Correa returning to action there as well as ever), before heading straight to Sochi to cover Dennis Hauger’s crowning glory and his rivalry with Jack Doohan.”
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.
Do Something Extraordinary
Do Something Extraordinary charts the story of Gabe Tesch, an 18 year old racing driver and brain cancer survivor as he attempts to become a professional driver. The film is scheduled to be released later in 2022 but the trailer above should prove to be an inspiration.
It’s Not What You Are, It’s Who You Are
It was just a few years ago when Hurley Haywood found himself in an interview with a high school student who made Haywood realize how important his influence could be. The young man was gay and confessed to the legendary driver that he was struggling with being bullied and contemplated suicide frequently. In a moment of pure humanity and empathy, Haywood responded by comforting the young man with his words and sharing some important wisdom. “I said, ‘Listen, it’s not what you are, it’s who you are. That’s what people remember,'” Haywood told Autoweek.