This week’s Racecraft & Driver Development News, Tips & Techniques is filled with some great guidance for helping you get on the track and exceed on it when you are there. I bring you some great racecraft advice from Speed Secrets and Blayze, news on driver diversity resources, an all-female rally in Saudi Arabia, comparisons between a North American Spec Miata with that of one in the UK, racing the Nissan Sentra and more news racers can use. (UPDATE!) I have added information on the launch of the 2022 FIA Girls on Track program including the fact that registration opens today (May 30, 2022) and closes on June 12th.
Racecraft Tips & Techniques
- On the Speed Secrets Podcast Episode 009, Ross Bentley chats with James Chartres about how a club racer or track day driver can manage all of the things that are needed before and at the track, and still allow time to really focus on one’s driving. They also talk about some specific driving techniques, including left- versus right-foot braking, trail braking, and driving a momentum car.
- Also on Speed Secrets, Ross answers the question: Why are new race track surfaces faster? Why do old tires have more grip? “Great question! First, new surfaces have more grip because the aggregate in the pavement is more porous and rougher at a minute level.” Read his complete answer here.
- In this episode of Blayze‘s Coaching tips in under 60 seconds, they answer the question of why do I get lost in a corner?
- At Grassroots Motorsports, E. Paul Dickinson explains how to master the driving self-critique. “Let’s suppose that you want to become your own track coach. You shouldn’t expect to learn any new skills, right? Wrong. Driving coach E. Paul Dickinson explains how you can still monitor and critique your own driving using your built-in data acquisition device–your brain. In the end, you’ll be lapping faster and safer than ever.”
- Check out The Vortex of Danger with Randy Pobst over at the Blayze website. “In this live coaching session we join racing legend, Randy Pobst as he coaches through his guidelines on how to become a safe & effective overtaker. Learn about blind spots, overtaking around the outside, how to maximize an overtake so you lose the least amount of speed, how to effectively defend your position and more!“
Driver Development News & Resources
- Aston Martin Racing has named the 22 young drivers who will vie for the prize of support from the manufacturer next year as part of the AMR Driver Academy scheme. The group of candidates will be assessed by Aston Martin Racing over the course of this year in a process that will select one standout driver to receive financial support for their 2023 race programs, as well as guidance from the factory.
- Mazda Motorsports has a great article from Spec Miata racer Austin Varco on the differences between racing a spec Miata in the US and the UK. “Almost everything about the car was different: they are significantly lighter (2100 lb with driver), run no hard top, factory parking brake, bolt-in cage, stock clutch, softer suspension, shaved street tires, and obviously inverted controls for an American driver. In addition, the weather being forty degrees cooler than the Southern California sun I’m used to certainly didn’t help.”
- The second webisode of Diversity In Motorsport with Nile and Blair Henry of The Blair Project is now out. “In this series, Nile and Blair talk about all the exciting initiatives that enable people of colour, women, LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities to take up a career in motoring.” You can watch it above.
- Speed Cafe reports that making GT racing in Australia a more attractive stepping stone to Europe for young up-and-coming drivers is at the top of SRO Motorsports Group’s wish list. “Ratel is optimistic about the development potential of GTWC Australia and believes the series is working “better and better” following SRO’s involvement. One of the ideas tabled is to make GT racing in Australia more appealing for young talent to springboard into higher levels of the discipline overseas.”
- Wheels.ca drive the Nissan Sentra Cup Car and find a race car ready to be taken seriously. “This is the car that competes in the Nissan Sentra Cup, the successor series to the Nissan Micra Cup, which was discontinued at the end of the 2020 season along with the cheap and cheerful little subcompact car from which it took its name. The Nissan Sentra Cup was launched last year and ran for a full season in 2021, although it did so with far less fanfare than usual thanks to pandemic restrictions and a lack of fans in the stands.”
- Ignition Human Performance and Racing Pride have announced a strategic partnership. The partnership will see the pair work together in the following areas:
- Promote LGBTQ+ representation and inclusion within motorsport and business.
- Enhance and diversify both parties’ learning and development programmes.
- Engage with companies across industries to support in the development of Diversity and Inclusion policies, processes and procedures.
- Work on initiatives and events to support both parties’ partners and clients.
- On Episode 40 of the Your Data Driven Podcast, elite cyclist Dan Bigham explores what it takes to win in cycling and how you can apply that in your own motorsports. There are more parallels than you might think. Dan Bigham is not only a multiple track cycling champion and British record holder, but he is also a very talented engineer. Currently Dan Bigham works as a Performance Engineer under David Brailsford at the INEOS cycling team. In the past he has been an aerodynamics engineer for the Mercedes F1 team.
- Motorsport Biomechanics, a company that uses biomechanical data to assess muscle activity, has announced a partnership with Motorsport UK. “When chasing marginal gains, engineers evaluate the mechanics of the car to go quicker; understanding the biomechanics of your body is just as important. Together with Motorsport UK we look forward to educating drivers on the importance of assessing biomechanical data live on the track and the benefits it can provide to their performance.”
- The second FIA Girls on Track initiative was a success at the recent Berlin E-Prix. The FIA Girls on Track UK is an initiative between the FIA and Motorsport UK which unites Susie Wolff’s ‘Dare to be Different’ campaign with the FIA’s ‘Girls on Track’ program to encourage and inspire females into believing that can achieve success and deserve to have a place in the motorsport industry. The Berlin event took place on 13 May 2022 ahead of the Berlin E-Prix race weekend and welcomed 100 young females to experience motorsport and its career options. Those taking part in the event had the opportunity to discover the wide range of careers that lie within the motorsport industry.
- Speaking of the Girls on Track program, the FIA and its Women in Motorsport Commission are pleased to announce the third edition of the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars project, with the opening of registrations. Following a worldwide detection of all the most promising young talents between 12 and 16 years old, a pool of 16 drivers will be selected to attend two training camps that will fast-forward their careers in both junior (12-14) and senior (14-16) categories. The senior winner could be awarded a one-year contract to join the Ferrari Driver Academy programme and to compete in 2023 in the FIA Formula 4 Italian Championship with the Iron Dames’ support. Other finalists will become a part of a “talent capsule” providing them with racing career support and various driving development opportunities. The best karting driver will have the opportunity to participate in an International Karting season 2023 financed by the Ferrari Driver Academy. The registrations will open from 30th May to 12th June 2022.
- Hintsa has 3 ideas for using physical activity to boost your cognitive performance. “For this sport an athlete needs to be cognitively fit. But did you know that boosting your cognitive function is not just about training your brain and mindset? Physical fitness plays a huge part in cognitive fitness. But specifically – how? Our clients, both athletes and business professionals alike, often ask: what type of physical exercise should I do to boost cognitive performance? So, let’s recap some basics about cognitive function and share a few practical tips to boost both physical and cognitive fitness.”
- Trackhouse Racing has announced a program called PROJECT91, which will be a third NASCAR Cup Series car entered for international drivers from other racing disciplines who want to compete in NASCAR. “PROJECT91’s mission is to activate the intersection point of NASCAR racing and global motorsport culture,” said Marks. “I truly believe the Next Gen car represents an opportunity for NASCAR to enter the global professional motor sports conversation.” The first driver to be announced is ex F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen.
- CNET has a great article on 18-year-old Noor Bakhashab set off to compete in Rally Jameel with her sister, 23-year-old Fawziah Bakhashab. They were about to run in the first women-only motorsport event in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a place where, up until 2018, women weren’t allowed to drive. “Rally Jameel brought together 41 Saudi women, in addition to women from 15 other countries. I was part of a group of six who came over from the United States to compete in the three-day rally, which started in Hail, went through Qassim and ended in Riyadh. We went through the gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site in Jubba and passed Uyun Al-Jawa and the symbolic Antara’s Rock, named after the 6th-century poet Antara bin Shaddad Al-Absi who met his love Abla in its shade. On the last day, competitors were awed by Saq Mountain, rising 600 feet from the otherwise flat desert floor.”
- On a recent episode of Inside the SCCA host Brian Bielanski conducts a Flagging 101 session with Don Drennon. Well worth a listen for drivers as well as potential and even current marshals.
- Grassroots Motorsports looks at 10 steps to fulfilling your motorsports dreams. “So back to the popular question: How do I find the best car for my first forays into motorsports? Listen to David the editor, not David the hoarder. First, the car you have is likely good enough. See, we’re already on the homestretch.”
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.
Laura Jones: The former grid girl who wants to be a racing driver
After starting her career on the track as a grid girl, Laura Jones has her sights set on driving her own car. “If I hadn’t have been a grid girl, I wouldn’t be where I am now,” she said. “I didn’t feel exploited at all.” Laura proves that the only person who defines who you are and what you want to do is you. If you have a motorsport dream (or any dream for that matter), go for it on your terms.