Last week was a packed one at VIR! I got to work with a number of coaching clients at various events throughout my time there, several of whom I was working with for the first time. At the end of the week, I worked with Rob Trollinger, who I’ve been coaching for two years now, so that made for an interesting juxtaposition between the new and established clients.
It’s always exciting to be able to meet new drivers in the sport who are eager to learn and want to develop their craft, whether it’s at the lapping day level or the racing level. When you’re meeting a coaching client for the first time, you’re trying to learn what their goals are and what their current skill level is. It’s also important to learn the best way to communicate with them, right down to understanding their knowledge of the sport’s unique vocabulary. All people learn differently, so it’s vital to figure out the best method for imparting information to each individual client.
On the flipside, VIR hosted a PCA event during the weekend, and Rob was racing. We’ve been working together for a couple of years now, most recently last month, so we were absolutely on the same page and knew exactly what we needed to focus on from the start. I already had a great idea of what his goals were for the weekend.
Throughout practice and qualifying, we continued to dial in the specific aspects of the track we were focusing on, and Rob started to really see some positive results. By the time the sprint races were wrapped up on Saturday, Rob had accomplished an incredible amount of increased pace in particular sections of the track while continuing to evolve his racecraft.
There is always room for improvement, however, so we continued to focus on certain aspects in both areas in preparation for Sunday’s 1.5-hour enduro.
The enduro’s length and the extreme heat meant that not only was it a great chance for Rob to put his coaching into practice, but it was also a great test of Rob’s physical conditioning and mental focus. In the end, Rob finished second in class and fifth overall, achieving his first podium finish and a personal best lap time! He truly accomplished and even exceeded his goals for the weekend.
Looking ahead to this weekend, the Mazda Motorsports team heads to Watkins Glen for the Sahlen’s 6 Hours of The Glen. I’m excited to get back in the No. 70 prototype after coming off the team’s podium finish at Belle Isle, which is our best finish to date. Ben Devlin will join us as our third driver. That’s not the only addition: to celebrate Mazda’s 1991 24 Hours of LeMans win, we’ll have special throwback liveries in their iconic argyle paint scheme. You can read all about it here. I can’t wait to get back to one of my favorite tracks and one of my favorite events of the year.