Speed Secrets Podcast
Conversations (& Tips) to Help You Drive Better
The Speed Secrets Podcast is all about high performance and race driving. In it, I have conversations with guests, resulting in tips, advice, and inspiration you can take to the track.
Guests include drivers of all levels and types, engineers, coaches and instructors, safety experts, race officials, HPDE event organizers, and anyone else who can help you drive better and have more fun.
Each episode – posted every Thursday – is just right length to listen to while on your way to work, to the track, or while you’re working out.
Jim Mero joins me to talk about the Corvette, his contributions to its development over the past decade-plus, life as a development test driver, lapping the Nurburgring as part of one’s job, and what’s ahead for Corvette. Two things that came out of our conversation that I found especially fascinating was his explanation of “linear versus non-linear driving,” and how test drivers rely on their subconscious to drive the car while the conscious mind is focused on developing the car.
Bill Thomas joins me to talk about… well, lots! All of the various things he does, including his William Thomas Roadsters, Drakan Cars, Performance Garage Club and importing the CAV GT40. Bill shares his experiences with Ferrari, Lotus, GT40s, and Hellcats. Oh, and we talk about his own track driving experience – specifically, about when and how to experiment with your driving, and why you should do that.
Steve Spano joins me to talk about how we can use technology to drive faster, and specifically, the RaceVoice device he helped develop. This device plugs into your existing ECU and data system, and then provides auditory information to you – everything from corner entry and minimum speeds to when to upshift or whether your engine is overheating. I used the RaceVoice recently and absolutely love it, so I wanted you to learn about it.
Ingrid Steffensen is on the show today, and we talk about expanding our comfort zone, getting into flow, what we learn about ourselves from track driving, writing, learning, and her book Fast Girl: Don’t Brake Until You See the Face of God. Which, by the way, is an absolutely great read!
Johannes van Overbeek and I reminisce about the time we spent together at ESM Patron Racing, and he gives away all of his secrets about winning endurance races. We then compare right-foot with left-foot-braking, how a driver can be a nice laid back guy out of the car and yet be a killer behind the wheel, and why he recently retired from regular race driving.
Trevor Ashline joins me to talk about the latest in head and neck restraint devices, as well as all sorts of other safety related topics. As VP of Engineering and Product Development for Simpson Performance Products, and a motorsport enthusiast himself, he knows his stuff – and shares it with you in this show. Should a HANS or Hybrid-S device be used with airbags? With standard OEM Seatbelts? How long do these devices stay safe? How do they interact with seats and roll cages? These are just some of the topics we talk about.
Richard Kelley joins me to talk about his experience of capturing some of the most incredibly powerful images of F1 drivers from 1972 to 1984. His photos of Niki Lauda, James Hunt, Jackie Stewart, Alain Prost, Nelson Piquet, Gilles Villeneuve, and others will connect with you and either make you smile, get goose bumps, or cry. His perspective as someone who has closely observed some of the best drivers in the world, as well as raced himself, make his advice about visualization, situational awareness, and sensory input hugely valuable to every driver.
Spencer Pumpelly and I talk about what karting doesn’t teach, how to brake with ABS and release them to rotate the car, why an early apex is better than a late one, when a pass really begins, corner entry speed, and the importance of eliminating the fluff (that part throttle stuff that does more harm than good). Oh, and we also touch on the similarities between flying helicopter and performance driving (just in case you’ve always wanted to know!).
Peter Puffer joins me to talk about why we do what we do (driving fast around race tracks), the psychology of instructing a driver on track, and what makes a great instructor (hint: observing and paying attention to the student is a good place to start!). Peter also talks about how too much, and also too little, anxiety can negatively impact performance.
Wallace Bradley joins me to talk about that thing we don’t want to talk about: when to stop driving. Whether it’s age, money, risk, or “been there, done that,” there comes a time when we all need to make a decision to cut back on our driving or stop cold turkey. How should we make that decision, and then do it?
Dave Weckl, a drumming legend, joins me to talk about the rhythm of driving and drumming, how playing music relates to performance driving, and what makes the best performers in anything great.
Dr. Shannon Irvine joins me to talk about mindset, confidence, mental triggers, fear…and so much more of the mental game of performance & race driving. We all know that the mental game is what makes the difference on the track – but what do we do about it? Shannon shares some deliberate strategies to help you improve your driving performance.
Adam Jabaay is back (he was my guest on Episode #11), and we’re talking about his Slip Angle podcast, about the Gridlife events, and what makes a great driving event. He tells us about how Gridlife is launching a wheel-to-wheel race series (Touring Cup), and what brings young drivers and spectators to driving events.
Don Kitch joins me to talk about the art of racing in the rain, as we sit together at Pacific Raceway in Seattle, the very place where Garth Stein’s book, The Art of Racing in the Rain came to life – and the “home” of the upcoming Patrick Dempsey movie. Don and I dissect eight of my Speed Secrets that are aimed at driving fast in the rain, as well as our love for simply being at a race track.
Greg Woodrow joins me to talk about what makes those crazy Aussie V8 Supercar drivers so good, and specifically the training they have all had racing Formula Ford. We also talk about the state of motorsport in Australia, the advice that Luke Youldon and Bruin Beasley of Erebus gave during my Inner Speed Secrets seminar in Melbourne, and finally, some of the fun that we had together – and what we learned – when I was down-under recently.
Chuck Tucker joins me to talk about HPDE instructing – what the best instructors do, how the classroom sessions need to work with the in-car instruction, the secret of the “secret goal,” and the best driving drills being used today.
Andy Pilgrim joins me to talk about racing and traffic safety education. He tells us about his experience co-driving with Dale Earnhardt Sr and Jr at Daytona, why he’s won so often, and the work he’s doing in the traffic safety education world – and why you should care. Andy tells you how you can get free copies of the training videos he’s produced.
Randy Beikmann joins me to talk about the ideal line – the one that results in the fastest lap times – something that he’s been modeling from a mathematical perspective, and then relating to real track driving. What he shares will give you a deeper understanding of why you drive the line you do – or should drive the line you’re currently not!
Trey Shannon joins me to talk about how to improve your fitness for performance and race driving. We talk about how to train your breathing, vision, sense of balance, and your fine muscle control to improve your footwork. Trey provides some great tips for simple exercises you can do at home, without expensive equipment.
While conversations dig into the details of things (like cornering lines, trail and left-foot braking, race track specific advice, data acquisition and video analysis, upshifting and downshifting, steering techniques, and the use of the throttle), the broader perspective of topics such as the following are covered:
- What specific techniques and skills the best drivers use
- The most challenging corners
- How to adapt to handling problems
- What separates the best drivers from the rest
- How to learn new techniques and tracks
- Safety tips and resources
- Handling and car setup
- Data and video analysis techniques
- Fun and interesting stories
- Why we drive
- Passion and enthusiasm for our sport
WHY A PODCAST?
Since my first Speed Secrets book was published back in 1998, many drivers have asked about audio versions of them. They wanted to listen to them while driving to the track, to and from work, and while exercising.
Some of the most educational, and fun conversations I have are at the track with a driver, official, coach, engineer, team member, or safety expert. I often wish I’d recorded those conversations so I could share them with you.