Lately I’ve been going to Road Atlanta to coach a driver who recently acquired a Daytona Prototype – a car I used to compete against! As a coach, I’m there to help the driver get more comfortable with the car, but also, since he’s new to driving a car of this potential, I’m teaching him some of the skill sets necessary for it.
In order to accelerate his learning curve, we’ve made really good use of data and video. We analyze both after each on-track session. The video allows him to visualize and see specific things, like car placement on the track and reference points. Then we turn to the data, and we can understand other things, like driver characteristics such as how he uses the brakes and the momentum he’s carrying into the corners. Data helps you understand those things in much more detail.
The private testing atmosphere we’re working in right now lets us drive as long as we need to, as well as take breaks to dissect all of the information. That flexible schedule has really enabled the driver to make a lot of progress, and it’s rewarding for everyone involved to see so much progress in such a short period of time.
The only thing you don’t get in private testing is experience with traffic! Once we get him comfortable with the DP, then we’ll get him comfortable with having other cars around him and being in traffic. That’s certainly one of the next things on the list for gaining experience: driving in traffic, spatial awareness and passing are all critical things that we will integrate as we move forward.
Ultimately, working with a client is about working toward their goals, and his goal is to eventually compete in vintage-style racing events with the car.