This week is all about unlocking your potential as a race driver whether through racecraft or a driver development program or both.
Whether it is trail braking in a low horsepower race car or unlocking maximum momentum in corners, there are racecraft tips this week that will help you on track.
In driver development news, I bring you details on how some single-seater racers looked to the Middle East to hone their skills in prototypes, Porsche’s various driver development programs, including a new program for female racers, rallying driver development programs, and transitioning from karts to the Mazda MX-5 Cup.
All this and more in this week’s edition of the Driver Development News & Racecraft Tips & Techniques Roundup on Motorsport Prospects.
Racecraft Tips & Techniques
This Racing Tips In 60 Seconds video from Blayze Motorsports above covers trail braking in lower horsepower cars.
Ross Bentley of Speed Secrets answers the question: Can you explain who owns a corner when two cars go into it side by side?
In addition to his Ask Ross column referenced above, in his regular Hagerty Motorsport blog column, Ross discusses unlocking maximum momentum in corners. “That’s the difference between a momentum car and what we can refer to as a “point-and-shoot” car. With a momentum car, it’s all about maintaining speed. With point-and-shoot Z06, for example, it’s all about regaining speed.”
Radical SR1 Cup driver Mark Tisshaw goes through his incident-packed debut at Silverstone. “One thing that doesn’t come up in testing, practice and extensive preparation for a race weekend is what to do when you end up facing the wrong way on the track on the exit of the first corner, cars flying at you head on.”
Your Data Driven looks at racecar lap simulations, are these your best option for a better setup? “Setting up a racecar is complicated and time-consuming. Whilst you hope every setup change will make you faster, in practice, this is never the case. With many types of setup changes taking an age (“let’s change the diff again!”) and with track time-limited, what you are after is to eliminate as many setup dead ends as possible. Racecar lap simulation seems like the answer.”
In Racer’s IndyCar tech download, they go into details on decoding a race car’s telemetry data. “In recent years, broadcasters have begun showing such overlays to help describe to fans what drivers are doing inside the car to try and extract as much lap time as possible. But while it may look like a series of squiggly lines to inexperienced eyes, data like this can actually offer valuable insight to drivers, engineers, and of course fans about the relative performance between two cars.”
Drew Hardin at PRI looks at Drag vs. Downforce. “The most challenging part of aerodynamics is not building the aero, but getting the car to work around it,” said Cole Powelson of LYFE Motorsport, Salt Lake City, Utah. “You have your car on aero and your car off aero. At low speeds, say below 60 mph, you have a pretty generic car, but beyond that your car is changing exponentially as the speeds increase.”
The Athletic attempts to answer the question, what makes F1’s Max Verstappen so fast? Their conclusion? An extremely rare natural talent. “He has an extremely rare natural talent,” Lambiase told The Athletic. “An innate feeling for the connection between himself, the car and the road.”
While not directly related to motorsport, this is one of those articles that makes you think, especially with the rise of AI. Are AI Coaches the Future? Will Bill Belichick Be Replaced By AI? Here’s How Global Digitization is Transforming Sports. “While the industry was already on a path toward more sophisticated tech, the isolation of the pandemic accelerated the need for better data collection and analysis tools for athletes and coaches. Now, sports tech has evolved far beyond simple wearables, utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML) for newer, better ways to play, practice and enjoy sports.”
Race Driver Development News & Resources
While there are “tried and true” ways to pursue a career in motorsport to become a professional race driver, there are still many different ways to pursue your ultimate goal that may not at first seem obvious. Racer looks at how three current Indy NXT drivers have pursued racing in the Asian Le Mans Series to gain experience. “Being able to further develop his natural skill sets as a racer who can climb into a GT, prototype, or open-wheel car and deliver results was something else that drew Simpson towards the Asian Le Mans Series. “I think just driving anything is very helpful in your development as a driver,” says Simpson. “And driving this, particularly a higher downforce car with higher horsepower, is something that helps a lot. A big thing is getting used to different cars and different tracks and being an adaptable driver, and driving LMP2 is something that is a little bit of a step between where I am now in the Indy NXT Series and IndyCar.””
As part of Formula 1’s long-term strategic partnership with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, part of the plan is to create a driver academy. “Together Formula 1 and Tottenham Hotspur will develop a new driver academy programme which aims to widen the motorsport talent pool and help identify the next generation of F1 drivers. Formula 1 and the Club will deliver educational activities for schools to engage local young people in motorsport and showcase career opportunities and pathways in areas such as engineering and software development.”
AutoWeek looks into why an Indy Lights Championship was not enough for Linus Lundqvist to get an IndyCar ride. “That’s a great question and I wish I had an answer for you, but unfortunately I don’t,” Lundqvist told Autoweek. “I’ve been doing what I can to look at any option really to be racing this year. Obviously, the target and the plan was to be in IndyCar. But for reasons, that didn’t happen, at least not full-time.
M-Sport will be bringing their expertise to the Motorsport UK Academy Co-Driver Program. The Motorsport UK Academy Co-Driver program members will benefit from the expertise of leading World Rally Championship (WRC) team, M-Sport, to further enhance their skillsets. The partnership between M-Sport and the Motorsport UK Academy will support and develop the next generation of world-class Co-Drivers, giving opportunities to provide relevant industry opportunities and insight, leading to dual-career pathways. The newly announced 2023 Co-Driver cohort will be the first to benefit from this collaboration, by visiting M-Sport’s HQ in Cumbria in March. During the two-day visit, the Co-Drivers will hear from guest speakers and pitch for work experience opportunities, where the Motorsport UK Academy will be supporting up to three members of the group to be a part of the M-Sport support team for three WRC rounds in 2023.
Indy NXT chassis supplier Dallara has taken the wraps off a contingency awards package for the 2023 season of IndyCar’s top development series. The prize package represents a blend of parts support and skill development, including a $10,000 credit towards parts and services to the highest-placed Indy NXT driver participating in the program at the end of the season. That driver will also receive a full day in Dallara’s simulator, while the second- and third-placed drivers will get half a day of simulator time each.
Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) and Deluxe Corporation have announced the creation of the Porsche Deluxe Female Driver Development Program. Effective immediately, the new Deluxe-supported initiative will provide a further opportunity to female race car drivers participating in the Porsche Motorsport Pyramid North America. Sabré Cook is named as the first recipient of the new scholarship. The Grand Junction, Colorado-native secured her seat in the Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America by virtue of winning an all-female driver shootout hosted by Kellymoss at the end of 2022. The two-time Carrera Cup North America championship-winning operation will field the veteran open wheel and GT racer in the No. 37 Deluxe Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car beginning with the premier one-make championship’s season-opening rounds at Sebring International Raceway, March 15 to17.
In further Porsche driver development news, Dane Bastian Buus is the new Porsche Junior 2023. “Bastian Buus will remember his 18th birthday for a long time. Not because of the brightly coloured cake and improvised surprise party that his team organised for him in the pit tent. “On that day of all days, I made what is probably the biggest jump start in the history of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland,” recalls the Porsche Junior from Denmark, with a burst of laughter that is typical of him.”
Over in Australia, the Porsche Michelin Junior program is attracting record numbers. Twenty-one drivers will take part in the program across both the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia Series and Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia Championship. The top-performing juniors in each category will progress up the motorsport ladder, with the top driver in Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge having the opportunity to graduate to Carrera Cup, while the top junior in Carrera Cup will be invited to take part in the Porsche Michelin Junior Shootout.
Looking to reestablish a ladder program from karts to cars, F4 United States Championship Powered by Honda winning team, Jay Howard Driver Development (JHDD), has inked a deal with MottazSport to provide advancement programs for team drivers. Looking to differentiate themselves from other teams in the same field, both JHDD and MottazSport are working toward one common goal, to develop and advance drivers up the motorsports ladder. “Teaming up with JHDD was a no-brainer for Team MottazSport,” expressed Jake Mottaz. “Jay runs a first-class operation and is responsible for the success of many drivers who have used American formula car racing as a stepstone towards a career in motorsport. This partnership will offer our drivers exclusive access to Team JHDD and their driver development program, as well as put our drivers under the watchful eye of Jay and his staff when they attend karting races.”
Racer magazine looks at the career of Nate Cicero as he makes the transition from karts to the Mazda MX-5 Cup. “Assessing his own strengths and weaknesses, Cicero believes his biggest challenge is striking the right balance between aggression and discretion. He’s been caught out being overly aggressive at times in the past, and it’s not an experience he enjoyed. Yet when the competition is as sharp as it is now, there’s little reward in being overly cautious. It’s something he knows will come with experience.”
The Road to Racing / Speed Fanatics Scholarship is a new partnership between the newly registered amateur motorsports athletics association and a non profit dedicated to helping young drivers. Speed-Fanatics is fundraising to pay for a season of F4 USA Championship series, with the selected driver Braydon Arthur behind the wheel. You can get more information on how the funding works here.
BWT and Alpine have decided to expand their strategic collaboration beyond Formula 1 and into the Alpine Academy, where the team’s title partner will support its talented young driver line-up. In addition to Formula 1, BWT will now also join together with Alpine Academy’s nine young drivers who compete in junior racing categories including: FIA Formula 2, FIA Formula 3, Formula 4, EuroFormula, International Karting and new-for-2023, the Formula 1-backed Formula 1 Academy Series for competitive female drivers. In line with its announcement to support the Alpine Academy, the striking livery of BWT Alpine F1 Team’s Formula 1 car – the A523 – will transfer to all nine young drivers for their respective 2023 campaigns. BWT’s pink colour is not only eye catching but stands for an attitude geared towards the future: to Change the World – sip by sip!
Alongside the final preparations for Clio Rally3 and the imminent resumption of Clio Rally5 trophies across the globe, Clio Rally4 will also be in action in 2023. Three drivers who have won the Junior titles in their respective competitions will have the opportunity to confirm all their potential by moving up a class and swapping their Clio Rally5 for a Clio Rally4 adorned with a striking livery honoring Castrol, a loyal partner of Renault’s customer racing activities.
Speaking of rallying, Road & Track looks at the Best Rally Cars for Beginners in 2023. “Rallying is a tough sport to dive into. Here are some cars perfect for the job.”
EKarting News has a great interview with Bobby Krug of the Skip Barber Racing School. “There are many factors that assisted in my transition from karts to cars. Most importantly, Skip Barber Racing School’s curriculum is designed for someone with little experience in motorsports to be able to understand the fundamentals. The instructors at Skip Barber are very knowledgeable and excel at explaining the different aspects of racing, regardless of your experience level. Additionally, the years of karting and sim racing experience prior to enrolling in the Skip Barber program made the behind-the-wheel aspect easier. I was able to draw a connection between some of the natural instincts we form as karters such as how to correct a slide and other car control maneuvers. Sim racing is a valuable tool for learning the tracks prior to race weekends; services like iRacing, where they’ve laser-scanned every bump and characteristic of tracks, allow for a sense of familiarity when racing on a track for the first time. I also leaned on fellow Margay and Kartplex racers that have had successful careers in cars like Skip Barber grad Evan Stamer, Keith Scharf, Jordan Missig and many others.”