Tuning Up Your Racing Brain

Racecraft is not just about on-track techniques, it is also about mental conditioning so this week there are tips on tuning up your racing brain.

In addition to mental conditioning, there are plenty of tips and advice on making better decisions on track, what it means to be “in the zone” and what you should be accomplishing when you go testing.

I also have tips on properly fitting a racing helmet, comparing real world racing with iRacing, the latest race cars from Ford and Ligier and a stunning track car from Isotta Fraschini.

All this and more in this week’s jam-packed edition of the Racecraft & Race Cars Roundup on Motorsport Prospects.

Racecraft Tips & Techniques


Tuning Up Your Racing Brain

In the video above, Enzo Mucci looks at how to create the Racing Brain. “If you want to become champion, then you’d better create the champion’s mind!

In Peter Krause’s excellent newsletter The Intelligent Driver, he gives advice on how drivers can make better decisions.

One of the greatest challenges of driving on the track with others in a drivers education event, time trial or a race, is making the best possible decisions while behind the wheel. Even if you’re the only one on track, the most basic control input decisions will allow you to stay on the asphalt, or not. If you’re in a marque club driving school or track day, more strategic decisions to remain calm, maintain a disciplined approach and follow event protocols can accelerate progress and raise your stock among your peers. In racing, the time frame of making these decisions, right or wrong, is supercharged and often has much bigger, more expensive and long lasting consequences.”

In Ross Bentley’s Speed Secret’s newsletter, he discusses what it’s like to be “in the zone” and what that actually means.

When I ask drivers to describe what being in the zone, or flow, is like, one of the most frequent replies is about how time changes. It slows down for most drivers. It’s as if one has all the time in the world to do what needs to be done. On the flip side, when a driver is not performing well, they feel rushed, as if there is not enough time available.”

Also, in his Ask Ross column he answers the question, How do I get better at sensing different levels of grip at a race track that is new to me?

In the free edition of Terrence Dove’s newsletter On Racing Drivers, he looks at the reasons why you should be going testing.

Does anyone seriously believe that RedBull rock up to Bahrain for their bit of pre-season testing, unload the cars and then ask each other ‘what do you wanna do then’? ‘Dunno, let’s just see how it goes.’ So how come, especially in karting, that’s exactly what we do.”

In the subscriber-only edition of the newsletter, Terrence looks at The Fast Way to Use Data. “Put most drivers in front of a data screen and you are in a race against the clock to deliver some very clear, yet very exciting, ‘go faster’ information to them…. Or else!” You can read the post by signing up for a free 7 day free trial.

Tuning Up Your Racing Brain

In the video above, Suellio Almeida looks at the differences between racing a single-seater and a GT race car.

iRacing F4 Race Car

Continuing my theme of using sim racing as a pathway to real-world motorsport, iRacing has announced an official partnership with the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) to bring a licensed FIA Formula 4 experience to iRacing. As part of the agreement, the car currently known as the iRacing Formula iR-04 will be relaunched as the FIA F4 with iRacing’s 2023 Season 3 release in June.

From the Press Release:

Nikolas Tombazis, FIA Single Seater Director said: “This partnership with iRacing is an important step for grassroots motor sport development. The virtual racing space is a key area for the FIA in its goal to double global participation in motorsport, both as a discipline in its own right and as a route into real-world competition. The next generation of racing drivers is already highly engaged in this arena, which removes many of the historical barriers to entry by being low-cost and easily accessible, opening up possibilities to increase diversity and engagement in new and emerging markets. Formula 4 Championships, Certified by FIA, represent the first step for drivers to move from karting to car racing, and to have a highly-respected industry-leading partner in iRacing bringing this global framework online is fantastic news.”

The FIA Formula 4 platform was announced in 2013 in advance of a 2014 debut, and has grown in popularity around the world as the ideal first step on the global open-wheel racing ladder. Featuring a diverse range of chassis and engine manufacturers, each F4 car is capped at 160 horsepower to ensure equal performance around the world. Formula 4 Championships, Certified by FIA, now take place across four continents and have been established by FIA member organizations.

iRacing’s version of the FIA Formula 4 car benefits from the same level of analysis, detail, data, and testing as members have come to expect, while the genericized model allows for use by FIA member clubs worldwide without manufacturer conflicts. iRacing offers multiple public series featuring the FIA Formula 4 to its more than 200,000 active users, with options for both custom setups and fixed performance. Dozens of real-world FIA Formula 4 host circuits are already available on iRacing, with more to be added in future releases.

For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.

Tuning Up Your Racing Brain

In light of the announcement that FIA F4 will be officially supported in iRacing, in the video above Daniel Morad compares real racing with iRacing to determine how closely the two compare. “This is a side-by-side video comparison of a real life lap and an iRacing lap at Circuit of the Americas in the Mercedes-AMG GT3. I walk through the performance of braking, mid-corner and on-throttle performance and how it compares and how it can be improved.”

McLaren rookie Oscar Piastri used race winner Max Verstappen in the rain-hit 2023 Monaco Grand Prix to act as a guide for driving a Formula 1 car in the wet. “Piastri reckoned he survived the 78 laps without so much as grazing the barriers, although admitted he came close when chatting over team radio.”

Tuning Up Your Racing Brain

At the launch of Motorsport UK’s new Coaching Pathway in 2023, they spoke to Brian Cameron, Co-Founder of Elite Sports Performance, about why having good quality coaches in motorsport is so important, and how this new qualification can help and support the coaching community. You can watch the interview above.

Find out more about the Coaching Pathway here.

Motorsport UK has also announced an agreement with Base Performance Simulators (BPS) to utilize their state-of-the-art technology in a further step towards supporting and developing the driving and coaching talent within UK motorsport. The new partnership will benefit Motorsport UK-qualified coaches as well as Motorsport UK Academy Team UK drivers with discounted rates for simulator facility use, simulator hardware and physical training exercises.

PMW Magazine looks into the driver-engineer relationship in Goodyear reveals how driver-tire engineer relationship enhances performance.

“It’s a crucial element to what we do as a team and how I’m able to perform as a driver,” explained Aubry. “The Goodyear partnership helps us understand how to develop the right setup and race strategy. The engineer and driver partnership is vital. It helps us understand the tires so we can extract maximum performance across a stint and race.”

Tuning Up Your Racing Brain

For more about the driver-engineer relationship, have a look at the guest post The Importance of a Strong Driver and Engineer Relationship by Andrew Marangoni, Technical Director & Lead Motorsport Engineer at Pfaff Motorsports.

The relationship between driver and engineer extends far beyond tire pressures and lap charts; at least, it should.  The ‘work’ (technical faculties such as vehicle setup) constitutes only a small percentage of the engineer’s role, with everything from psychologist to translator to mediator filling the remainder of the spectrum.  In many cases, there is more left in the person sitting in the seat than there is in the car, and it is up to the engineer to extract as much potential as possible, while facilitating a symbiotic relationship between the driver and their mechanical cocoon.  After all, if the driver is not comfortable with their tools, they will never be capable of “leaving it all on track”.”

Formula Scout asks What are the UK’s new track limits rules that came into effect today?The changed definition of track limits abuse means a driver will now be judged to have left the track if any “part of the contact patch of the tyre goes beyond” the “outer edge of the white line or kerb denoting the track limit” rather than the whole wheel.”

Episode 46 of the Your Data Driven Podcast has a great interview with race driver Nick Padmore called Thriving at the Edge: Lessons from a Life in Racing.

Today we have a fantastic guests lined up for you – racing driver and coach Nick Padmore. From the high uptime world of racing to the intricacies of car dynamics, we’re going to delve deep into a range of topics that will hopefully give you a range of new perspectives to apply to your motor sport. So much to take away from this conversation, not only about the racing, but also how to manage the practicalities of life, including with your family, in a racing environment. So as ever. Grab a pen. Grab a coffee. Sit back and enjoy what Nick has to say.”


Tuning Up Your Racing Brain

In the video above, Enzo Mucci explains the technique behind his daily reset for the mind. “Take the time to mentally reset so you can help improve your mental health and be at your best each day. This has been a mindset gamechanger for me over the years. Great for busy and stressed out people.”

Muscle & Fitness looks at Hélio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud’s on- and off-track training regiment.

If you’ve ever watched the Indianapolis 500 and thought that the car does all the work, you may be unaware of a great a number of significant demands that are placed on the human body that must be met in order to finish first. From the insane temperatures, right through to the G-Force and intense pressure placed on driver’s limbs, there’s no question that the top performers are the ones that train their muscles in addition to tuning their vehicles.”

Tuning Up Your Racing Brain

In the video above, Grassroots Motorsports presents their racing helmet fitment guide and how to properly measure for a racing helmet.

What’s more important than a having a helmet when on track? Having one that fits properly. Despite its necessity, however, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The good news is that we’ll show you the step-by-step on how to measure your head correctly to ensure you get a proper fitting helmet–just like this Stilo ST5 helmet from Simpson Race Products.”

Race Car & Series Developments

Medina Sport BH23 Formula Ford Race Car

The latest Medina Sport BH23 is set to leave the workshop. It will compete in various rounds of the BRSCC National Championship, select rounds of the MSV United Formula Ford Championship as well as the Festival and the Walter Hayes Trophy.

The inaugural McLaren Trophy season kicked off at the Paul Ricard circuit in France on June 2-4 with drivers competing for class titles and an overall championship prize of a drive in some of McLarens most influential cars including a coveted drive in the McLaren Solus GT.

Stage Rallying

The cover for this month’s Revolution magazine by Motorsport UK looks at Stage Rallying on a budget. Will Gray explains how good research, good support and good advice can help cut the costs of competing in Stage Rallying.

Stepping up to Stage Rallying can require deep pockets – but good research, good support and good advice can help cut the costs of competing. Will Gray explains how the dream of competing on a Stage Rally is often cut short by the potential costs involved. However, if you aspire to tackle the famous forest stages in the UK do not be put off by the big numbers that typically get flashed around. Clearly, Stage Rallying will never be in the same cost bracket as pure grassroots motorsport, but there are ways to lower the cost of getting on the stages.”

The SCCA and American Rally Association (ARA) have announced a partnership to grow the SCCA RallyCross program. In the SCCA President’s Update delivered to the Club membership in late April, SCCA President and CEO Mike Cobb shared the news that “SCCA membership would have privileges with the American Rally Association across the balance of 2023 and potentially into 2024.” This partnership between the SCCA and the ARA will grant SCCA RallyCrossers more value for their SCCA membership dollar while providing cost advantaged access to great ARA events spanning the country.

Mercedes-AMG is in the process of establishing spare parts support for customers as it prepares to make further deliveries of its new GT2 car later this year. “Also to be ready for next season with our support. We want to establish the spare parts support, everywhere the car could run, depending on the number of cars on the grid.”

Racecraft & Race Cars Roundup

During the 24 Hours of Le Mans weekend, Ford unveiled their Mustang GT3 race car and announced that Proton Competition will be their first customer team.

Based on the Mustang Dark Horse, the performance pinnacle of the 2024 Mustang lineup, the Mustang GT3 has been developed in conjunction with Multimatic, which will run the car in IMSA GTD PRO competition while Proton Competition campaigns the car in WEC. Development of the 5.4-liter Coyote V8 engine has been carried out by M-Sport, Ford’s partner in the World Rally Championship. The Mustang GT3 features revised engine placement, a bespoke short-long arm suspension, a rear-mounted transaxle, carbon fiber body panels, and a unique aero package. One of the standout elements of that aero package is the swan-neck mount for the rear wing that mounts to the car midway between the rear and the roof.”

Racecraft & Race Cars Roundup

During the same weekend, Alpine revealed their Mecachrome-Powered A424_B LMDh car. “The Renault brand on Friday presented images and initial technical details of the Alpine A424_B which has been developed in conjunction with chassis partner ORECA. Its powertrain will feature a Mecachrome 3.4-liter turbocharged V6 internal combustion engine connected to the spec LMDh hybrid system consisting of a Bosch electric motor, Williams Advanced Engineering battery and Xtrac gearbox.”

The WEC has released an eight-round 2024 calendar and has confirmed that the series has been reduced to two classes for 2024, eliminating the LMP2 class. They have also confirmed that manufacturers will be limited to two cars in LMGT3.

Sepang International Circuit will return to the Asian Le Mans Series as part of an expanded, five-round schedule starting in December and ending in February 2024. “The return to South-East Asia is excellent news for this increasingly popular championship.”

SRO Motorsports Group will stage standalone GT4 races in Asia for the first time later this year when the Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS classes are split at Okayama on August 18-20.

‘GT4 Japan’ follows the same 2x 60-minute race format as Fanatec GT Asia, while each entry must also feature two drivers whose combination matches the Am-Am or Silver-Am criteria. Fanatec Japan Cup points will still be awarded, just as they are beforehand at Fuji, Suzuka and Motegi.

The exercise is a precursor to 2024 when GT4 will potentially move from Fanatec GT Asia into a new championship solely based in Japan. Precise details are still being finalised but SRO does expect GT4 to have a greater presence in Japan next year.

Tuning Up Your Racing Brain

The FIA has announced that Formula 3 cars will return to the Macau Grand Prix as part of a new three-year deal. The FIA confirmed that both the F3 and GT event will be staged across two race heats over the weekend, each with a qualifying race followed by a title-deciding main race. The race durations will be 10 and 15 laps for F3 and 12 and 16 laps for GT cars. The F3 World Cup winner will be classed as the overall Macau Grand Prix winner.

Don’t miss these dates if you are planning on running in this year’s SCCA Runoffs taking place Sept. 23-Oct. 1 at VIRginia International Raceway.

Track Days

Racecraft & Race Cars Roundup

Isotta Fraschini will launch an unrestricted track day version of its LMH car during this weekend’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS round at Paul Ricard. The Isotta Fraschini Tipo 6 LMH Pista is set to make its public debut by taking part in the non-competitive GT1 Sports Club powered by Curbstone track sessions.

In an effort to reduce the barrier to entry for track-driving, Hyundai reportedly filed a patent for a driver-assist system for the circuit. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, aptly called ADAS, are passive and active vehicle safety systems designed to minimize or remove human error while driving. They cover different levels, starting from parking assistance up to fully-automated self-driving vehicles. These are the cornerstone of modern safety features in cars today.

Hyundai isn’t automating the track experience as many would fear. The focus of the patent is to improve the most important element of a vehicle: the driver.”

Racecraft & Race Cars Roundup

BAC is bringing its racing prowess to the States, with three new American locations that seek to meet the growing demand for its incredible car’s lightweight agility and performance.

The locations: BAC Philadelphia, BAC Greenwich, and BAC Newport Beach are all poised to serve supercar clients with high standards of luxury and expertise, and they will all be operated in partnership with RDS Automotive Group. In Philadelphia, BAC’s location will be housed in a new RDS facility, while the Greenwich and Newport Beach locations are situated perfectly for luxury and exotic car clients. The partnership marks the launch of BAC’s official North American operations, and it means that access to one of the greatest racing-ready yet road-legal ultra-light supercars will be easier than ever.”

Mark Boudreau
Author: Mark Boudreau

Mark is the publisher of Motorsport Prospects. As a former lawyer, he applies his legal background and research skills to assist race drivers by showcasing the resources they need to make their motorsport careers happen.