Speed Secret: Use every tool available to you to improve your chances of performing better (and winning).

In-car video, data acquisition / telemetry, track maps, notes, debrief forms, other drivers and engineers, instructors and coaches, observation from a corner, stopwatch / timer, track walks, TV coverage… Let’s see, what am I missing?

All of these are the tools I’m talking about.

There was a time in my racing career where I – like many drivers – thought that driving was something that I either had a talent for or didn’t. Fortunately though, at an early age I noticed something: the best drivers seemed to work at being the best. They actually did things to improve. Of course, at that time (in a previous century!) drivers didn’t have as many tools available as they do today. But even World Champions from the 60’s used tools (a notebook, in the case of Graham Hill). And where do you think Lewis Hamilton would be without the use of data, video, and a kazillion other tools?Sebring notes

I’d love to be able to honestly tell you that I have a perfectly organized notebook with notes and records from every track that I’ve ever driven, but I can’t. However, I can tell you that I have notes and records from every track – just not perfectly organized. I have track maps with notes scribbled on them, some data acquisition print-outs with areas circled and annotated, and more recently I’ve kept track of URLs of what I think are the best in-car videos (my own personal paper version of Google!).

Finally, while I don’t want to sound too old-fashioned, I want to stress the value of writing things down by hand. There’s research to support my belief that when you write a note or draw a picture, it sticks in your mind better than if you simply watch a video. Do you want to know how I remembered that fact? I wrote it down.

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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