Q: “What is the best way to practice driving when lap timing is not allowed? My club has open lapping days, but timing isn’t allowed for insurance reasons. I’m trying to find out the most efficient way to practice and make use of these sessions so I’m more prepared for the time attack competition days.”
A: It’s funny how many organizations use the “insurance reasons” for not allowing things like timing laps. I’ve talked to practically all the motorsport insurance companies, and not one of them have any restrictions on timing. It may have been the case years ago, and no one has bothered to ask about it in the past 10 years. But that’s not the point of your question…
Without an objective metric like lap times, or the use of data acquisition (which would be easy enough to have plugged into your car and for you to look at afterward), it comes down to using subjective metrics. I’ve found that using questions like the following can be very helpful:
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how well did I perform that session?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how smooth did I driver that session?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how close were the tires to their limit? (Ideally you answer this question in the entry, mid, and exit phases of each corner, writing your answers down on a track map)
- If I could improve just thing about my driving to make me faster, what would that be?
- During that track session, what did I feel that I’ve never felt before?
- During that track session, what did I hear that I’ve never heard before?
- During that track session, what did I see that I’ve never seen before?
- What did I learn this past session?
If you ask yourself these questions after each and every session, and write the answers down on a track map for each session, over time you’ll see a trend of improvement. Feel free to add other questions that you think will help, but these are baseline questions.