Performance & Race Driving Tip

Speed Secret: Be creative.

I recently had a bit of a wake-up call, a reminder of what’s important.

PRO3 Spec E30 at PortlandAt a race where I was coaching a driver, I had an hour or so to kill while waiting for the race, and my driver’s 5-year old daughter was there. She had a handful of tie-wraps, and was making different shapes out of them. Snakes, fruit, sailboats, octopus, letters of the alphabet, hearts. It seemed endless what she could make.

Here was a handful of tie-wraps, but to her they were more than that. I started thinking about what she could make. I let my imagination go… it was fun!

Another adult sat down and told her what she should make, and she slowed down. I also wanted to tell her what she should make, but restrained myself and just asked questions. Away she went, her creativity going wild. A mother and baby giraffe was next.

It was a fantastic experience to simply watch a mind not limited by or filled with “what should be,” to observe her let go and go anywhere.

I thought about that in terms of driving, and what one is supposed to do behind the wheel. I thought about what I’m expected to do as a coach. It reminded me that sometimes one needs to let go of “what should be” and just play.

Too often I see drivers so intent on doing what they should do – cranking in more steering angle to clip an apex, for example – that they slow the car down. If they’d just let the car go, it would have gone faster. Sure, it wouldn’t have been on the perfect, ideal line, but it wouldn’t have been scrubbing off speed.

I also see drivers who never experiment with their line, or a technique. And because of that, they don’t find all the speed they’re capable of.

Color outside of the lines, sometimes. Be creative with your driving.

Check back here often for more tips and advice for performance drivers, race drivers, high performance driving instructors, and anyone else interested in learning to get around race tracks quickly.

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