How driving instruction can make you faster on track

J.G.
By J.G. Pasterjak
Dec 15, 2022 | Driving Coach, Driving Instruction | Posted in Features | From the Nov. 2022 issue | Never miss an article

Photography by Dave Green

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It’s no secret that track time is more accessible and even more affordable than ever. But time spent on track isn’t always time spent improving–and if improvement is your goal, then structured training should be part of your plan.

Behind nearly every great athlete is a great coach–or even several great coaches. And while elite athletes are typically gifted with outstanding skill and discipline, they will always lack the clinical objectivity required to fully assess their performance. 

The same goes for race car drivers. Here are a few good arguments in favor of engaging a driving school or coach if you want to improve behind the wheel.

Objectivity

Yes, you can get an objective measure of performance from data collection, but a truly objective analysis of that data can only come from a party who doesn’t live in your own brain. We humans are not always great at delivering hard truths to ourselves.

Collaboration

Much of high-performance driving boils down to problem solving: trying to execute a physical task within a highly structured set of limitations. And when it comes to solving a problem, two heads are often better than one. A good coach should be adept at recognizing your current level and getting you to progress from there, not along an arbitrary set of progression guidelines.

Accountability

Much like objectivity, having a separate perspective to keep us honest and realistic about our current abilities is invaluable. Humans are masters of rationalization, and sometimes hearing that you failed and seeing conclusive evidence of why and how to fix it is way better than that subconscious defense mechanism of convincing yourself that everything is fine.

Focus

Drilling can be one of the least pleasant parts of athletic training, but it’s also a fantastic way to build the brain and muscle memory needed to execute common tasks effectively. Drilling is also important in driver training, whether you’re working on brake release, turn-in speed or even eye movement. Having a third party run you through these techniques in a controlled, repetitive way can be far more beneficial than drilling on your own, which can frequently become unfocused.

Fresh Perspectives

Your coach or instructor has lived an entirely separate life from yours and has their own library of on-track experiences to draw from. Having access to that sort of knowledge can be a huge benefit while you’re learning unfamiliar techniques that are routine for them. 

Positive Reinforcement

Yes, seeing times improve on a stopwatch is satisfying, but sometimes it’s not as motivating as receiving praise from a colleague or an objective analysis of the improvement. 

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Comments
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paddygarcia
paddygarcia GRM+ Memberand Reader
9/19/22 10:22 a.m.

It's an old saw, but tightening up the nut behind the wheel is probably the cheapest and fastest way to get faster. 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
9/19/22 10:53 a.m.

I had the recent pleasure of having one on one instruction with data to help sort the car and driver recently. It was amazing. I shaved over a second off my personal best at Gingerman with technique and another second the following day with car setup changes done the night before. So yeah.... getting that personal one on one is definitely worth the money if you want to better yourself!

Robertson Racing, basically Scott Robertson of GLTC and One Lap "fame" knows his E36 M3.

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