This week in Racecraft & Driver Development News, Tips & Techniques is full of great insight and inspiration. From advanced track day tips to setting a qualifying lap, racecraft is covered. And in the driver development area, I have news of new and continuing driver development programs from around the world, what it is like to participate in a performance driving school and more. I end with inspiration from Ted Prappas, a race driver who sadly died recently. Always remember to enjoy what you do the way he did. You will always be successful regardless of your on-track results.
Racecraft Tips & Techniques
- The video above is part of a great new series called JB’s Track Tips which focuses on advanced track day tips.
- Blayze has produced a helpful overtaking guide called Timing The Perfect Overtake – The Official Guide To Successful Overtaking Maneuvers. “The best overtakers have the right mix of timing, aggression, creativity, and feeling for the driver they are attempting to overtake. Without building the right mix of these four things overtaking becomes less of a decisive move and more of a “close my eyes and hope this works.”
- This video is a demo of apex-to-apex vision focus. GoPro mounted to the helmet shows the direction of vision relative to direction of travel. This came via the Blayze newsletter.
- Grassroots Motorsports has put together How to set a fast lap – Qualifying guide which you may find helpful. “Being able to set a fast lap right out of the box is a core part of our world. Drivers don’t have all day to get up to speed; they need to get out there and do it now.”
- Eric Prill, the SCCA’s vice president of road racing and also a national champion, shared the following letter to his fellow SCCA racers. Has SCCA road racing gotten too rough? And, if so, who or what are to blame? “Speaking to several of you over the last season, there is a belief that the driving quality has degraded, and the number of incidents increased over the last couple of years. Aside from the number of actions during a weekend, which has not shown a meaningful change outside of the Runoffs, we have not had a mechanism to specifically track the on-track activity.”
Driver Development News & Resources
- Speedcafe reports that Michelin has announced the renewal of its support of both Porsche Sprint Challenge and the Porsche Junior Program in Australia. “In addition the French tyre giant has announced it will continue supporting the mentorship of young drivers from the local Porsche series through the Porsche Junior Development Programme. The program offers young eligible drivers from Carrera Cup Australia and Sprint Challenge Australia support and training from various sports professionals.”
- The class of 2022 for the Elite Motorsport Academy of New Zealand has been revealed following the crowning of James Penrose as the 2021 academy winner last Wednesday. Eight young motorsport competitors from across New Zealand will head to Dunedin for the Elite Motorsport Academy camp from 26 June to 2 July. Race drivers Hugo Allan, Marco Giltrap, Hayden Bakkerus, Zac Christensen and Sebastian Mason will join rally drivers Robbie Stokes and Jackson Clendon as well as speedway racer Troy Pennington to form the academy class of 2022.
- On May 3, supercar sales platform PaddlUp announced a roster of racing drivers for its unprecedented academy program. The PaddlUp Academy promises to utilise the organization’s standing and connections within the automotive and motorsport spheres to provide aspiring racing drivers with a platform to do what they do best. Plans for additional driver announcements are already in the pipeline for the coming months, as the PaddlUp Academy embarks on its first-ever season in competitive motorsport. “As an automotive auction house specialising in unique supercars worth in excess of £100,000, PaddlUp is no stranger to speed and adrenaline. With many of the necessary resources already at its disposal, the decision was made for a motorsport programme to be formed.”
- The Alpine Academy has unveiled a new leadership structure for 2022, with director Mia Sharizman replaced by Julian Rouse. Working alongside Rouse and Sancinema will be two-time FR2.0 champion and Alice Powell in the position of Alpine’s talent identification and development mentor. “We are committed to developing our pool of talent and bringing even more drivers through to F1. Through this programme we want to ensure women have an equal opportunity to do so.”
- If you have always wondered what it’s like to attend a Performance Driving School, Autoweek can fill you in. “BMW operates two performance centers: one in Greer, South Carolina, and the BMW Performance Center West in Thermal, California, not far from Palm Springs. In addition to the several other courses they offer as part of their BMW Performance Center Driving School, last year they introduced several new ones including the BMW M4 GT4 Experience. The course features a chance to take hot laps in an M4 GT4 race car; the exact customer race car offered by BMW Motorsport that competes in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, a companion to the WeatherTech Sports Car Series.”
- There is no doubt that if you want to compete in Formula 1, the key is to race in Europe. Formula Scout has a great article called Three F1 races at home might make young US drivers’ sacrifices worth it, where they talk to a number of young American drivers who are racing in Europe to discuss the competition, the future and how they deal with missing home. “From a development point-of-view from my side, it’s more competitive over here [Europe]. There are stronger championships in my opinion, so we thought we would come over to get some better learning and development. I think Europe realistically is the best place for drivers to grow, and it’s the only path you can really take at the moment to get to F1.”
- Former driver Willy T Ribbs feels strongly that F1 teams need dedicated academy seats for BAME drivers. “They need to mentor these kids right through all the junior series. That’s a goal, but [we] also [need to] bring more into the STEM programmes, as designers, as engineers, as mechanics – that is all in our game plan now.”
- W Series and Aston Martin development driver Jessica Hawkins spoke to Crash.net to answer the question, have we made a major step closer towards a female F1 driver? “If I can be of any help to young women that feel like motorsport is a male-dominated sport, which it is still viewed as, if it helps them get into motorsport then it’s really nice to have been a part of that and show that females are welcome within motorsport and they do have a role here,” Hawkins told Crash.net.
- David Coulthard talked to Motorsport Magazine on life as a karting dad: ‘There are thugs…it’s aggressive!’ “Actually, I enjoy hanging around kart tracks watching the kids,” he admits. “As long as they are being respectful. There are a few thugs, of course, which has been an insight for me. I actually reached out to David Richards [in his role as chairman of Motorsport UK]. I was just amazed at how aggressive karting is. None of that you can do in cars and it just wouldn’t be accepted. But in karting there’s a long line of kids after the race up to see the stewards, which seems so inefficient.”
- For those new to racing, Asetek has a very helpful glossary of Sim Racing and Motorsports Terms. “There are a lot of technical terms in sim racing, and motorsports in general. In this glossary, you’ll be introduced to the most important terms, in order to better understand both sim racing and motorsports.”
- In the video above, Enzo Mucci puts out there the very simple question that you need to ask yourself, how hard are you really working?
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.
Ted Prappas, 1955-2022 – Enjoy What You Do
Recently, former Indycar driver Ted Prappas passed away which is sad enough. But what really grabbed my attention about him was not that he had died, but the lessons we can all learn in how he had lived his life. From everything I have read about Ted Prappas, he enjoyed every minute of his racing career, despite all the obstacles he faced. “He didn’t care if you didn’t know who he was,” Paul Tracy told RACER. “He was a guy who was happy just who he was; he wasn’t about being a household name or making a pile of money. I remember for the longest time he was living on a boat — a little boat in Marina Del Rey; it wasn’t a yacht. It was a really little boat. This was when he was driving Indy cars, living on this tiny boat, and just he wasn’t concerned with anything more than driving.” A lesson to live by.