Q: “In June I had raced at High Plains Raceway, a track I am very familiar with, and I was averaging around 2:24 lap times, but I was consistent with lines and felt confident with my skill. This past weekend I was there and was averaging 2:16 lap times – getting quite a bit faster – but I felt like I was inconsistent and off my game. So, in your opinion is there a correlation with learning to be faster and being more inconsistent with lines?”
A: Yes, I believe it’s part of the learning process, and almost every driver I’ve coached goes through this kind of thing. As you become consistent, you create the mental programming in your mind. But to go faster, you have to break that programming/habit, and build some new programming – and that means your driving will be a bit messy for a while, before the next level becomes your new consistent. Think of it as steps.
Learning is all about creating the programming in your mind to do things with as little conscious thought as possible, so you’re able to drive almost on auto-pilot, but still having your conscious mind available to be aware of what’s going on around you. To move to the next level, you have to get outside your comfort zone – the level of your current mental programming – and that means you’ll be thinking more about what you’re doing skill-wise. That can give you the feeling of being “off your game.” Give yourself enough practice at this level, and it will become your “new normal.” It will become the updated software in your mind.