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racer14itc
02-10-2004, 08:55 AM
***Sorry about the mis-spelling of the topic. It was early in the morning when I typed it!***

This was originally posted under "double driving schools". I am interested in starting a business to address the lack of teaching in the SCCA schools, and helping beginning and intermediate racers maximize their racing dollars. Comments are welcome!

quote:
Originally posted by Knestis:
Any criticism leveled at double schools should apply equally to two, "single" schools like the ones I did the first time I went through the process.

In fact, I would venture that we had LESS on-track activity in that format than I see scheduled at Roebling because we did two track walks, two classroom sessions, two long drivers meetings, etc.

This weekend (week, really) we have three groups (that are NOT going to be small ) running 20 min. practice sessions from 1-5pm Friday, 9:30-12 and 1-4pm Sat, and 8:30-11am and 12-3pm Sunday. We have 5-lap races both Sat. and Sun. evenings.

Now, looking at it from scratch, I would be a fan of SCCA building an "HPDE" kind of program and requiring on-track street car time with an in-car instructor as well. I got NO official instruction on my actual driving skills during my last licensing process.

K

Comments like Kirk's is one reason why I decided to start an affordable driver coaching/race consultant business. During my 25 years with the SCCA, I have seen a lot folks enter the sport with not much more than a lot of enthusiasm and a vague idea of what to do in a race car. The SCCA schools rarely teach you how to drive a race car, mostly they teach you about the rules of racing and give you a few pointers here and there about how to go about going faster. It doesn't seem to matter if it is a double school or two single schools. I've taught both types of schools, and I have to say that a lot of students leave the schools "signed" off that still don't have the foggiest idea of what it will take to be a successful racer.

On the other hand, there are a ton of books out there on how to drive better and/or set up your racecar. But this isn't a very effective means of learning either. For example if it was, golfers should all be shooting in the 60's and 70's, based on the subscription numbers to Golf Digest magazine! No, you really need a knowledgeable extra set of eyes to watch you while on course and then be able to communicate to a driver what he/she is doing wrong and what to do to do it right. As a long time golfer, I also have taught kids and adults (kids are easier to teach, believe me!), and it's amazing how many people think they are doing one thing when in reality they are doing another. No amount of "instant lessons" from a magazine will help, what is needed is a teacher or a coach who knows what to look for.

Same thing in race driving. And just like golf, the best players don't always make the best teachers/coaches. You have to have a knack for communicating to a wide variety of personalities and egos. As a college professor, I learned that "one size does not fit all" when it comes to teaching either. So to be successful, you have to learn to adapt to the students.

So where am I going with all this? Well, the SCCA schools try to be a "one size fits all" type of education, with a wide cross section of instructors thrown in the pool. It's never consistent and not everyone gets the same quality of instruction nor the same course coverage.

My hope is that I can provide some bridge between the SCCA schools and the years of on-track learning it takes to be a successful racer. Sure, there are driving schools out there, such as HPDE on up to Bondurant and Russell schools but these are expensive. I think that many new racers would benefit from an exclusive one-on-one instruction at the track during a race weekend or test day. I have done this for some of my new racing friends (some of whom I introduced to the sport), and the combination of race driving experience, engineering background, and teaching knowledge helps me communicate and help these racers go faster.

Sorry if this sounds like a cheap commercial plug, and I apologize if it has come across this way. But it makes me sad to see folks come into the sport, struggle with their driving and their cars, get frustrated and move on to something else. If you're interested, and you're in the SEDIV, check out my website:

http://pages.prodigy.net/scirocco14gp/_wsn/page3.html

Obviously I don't plan on getting rich doing this, and won't be quitting my day job. But it seems to me that there is a need there and I'm interested in filling it.

Oh, and have fun at the double schools!!

Mark Coffin

[This message has been edited by racer14itc (edited February 10, 2004).]

Scott Malbon
02-10-2004, 07:25 PM
Mark, I agree completely. As I look around for help in racing I can find parts, lots of advice on mechanical problems, but little on driving. I've read the books but translating that into improvement on-track is a different matter. You've given me help a few times, but I've not been able to get good, consistent help at the track. Everyone is busy with their own racing or other duties.

In-car video is a help and I evaluate my films after each weekend. But for those of us 'on a budet' or unable to go the big name schools don't have a local source for 'coaching.' You may be on to a good idea.

BTW, the Driving Technique section on this site was added at my suggestion. It is use, but not as much as I would hope.

Scott
PS. Congrats on your trip to the Runoffs.

gran racing
02-10-2004, 08:05 PM
I guess it also comes down to where you are located and what HPDEs are in your area. In the NER area, SCDA and PDA run some great HPDEs that really get you ready for SCCA club racing. I did two years of HPDEs prior to going to an SCCA school. By that time, I did not feel overwhelmed by the driving. It was great preparation; I could use my time at the school to focus on other aspecs of racing.

If that was my first on track experience, I definately agree it would have been very difficult. I do agree that new racers need to get some basic experience and be taught the basics of track driving.

For those people in the NER, Tom Blaney does some private instruction. I decided to have him help me; it definately built my confidence level.

Best of luck!! Especially in the NER area, track time is very difficult to get and insurance is extremely high. But I do like the idea...

racer14itc
02-10-2004, 09:05 PM
Thanks for the comments, keep them coming! Just to be clear, I would do this during a normal race weekend, but I myself would not race during that weekend. Just concentrate on helping my student/client.

Other things that I hope to provide are: in-car video where I bring my own camera and mount, and mount it in the student's car; and a portable data logger, e.g. a DL90, that could easily be installed in a student's car at the track for the weekend. This would allow me to download data to a laptop after each session and provide immediate feedback to the student, along with the video and personal observation.

I would also have my alignment equipment at the track (camber, toe, corner weight scales) and tire pyrometer for analyzing chassis setup. Full service!

Thanks again for the comments!

Mark C.

[This message has been edited by racer14itc (edited February 10, 2004).]

gsbaker
02-11-2004, 01:40 PM
Mark,

Don't forget radios, even if you have to rig some temporary mic in the student's helmet.

As several have noted, having an instructor next to you in a HPDE is much more valuable than getting feedback only after a session at a school.

You can't be at every corner in every session of course, but it would be a huge improvement.

------------------
Gregg Baker, P.E.
Isaac, LLC
http://www.isaacdirect.com

racer14itc
02-11-2004, 01:54 PM
Originally posted by gsbaker:
Mark,

Don't forget radios, even if you have to rig some temporary mic in the student's helmet.

As several have noted, having an instructor next to you in a HPDE is much more valuable than getting feedback only after a session at a school.

You can't be at every corner in every session of course, but it would be a huge improvement.



Thanks for the input, Gregg! Radios are on the list of equipment to buy and I think they'd be a real plus to my teaching, but I think the D/A would be more beneficial to the students right now.

As to riding next to the student, well I've never been comfortable as a passenger (serious white knuckles) and stopped instructing at HPDE events when my student backed his Corvette into a tire wall with me riding shotgun. That got my attention!

Mark C.

[This message has been edited by racer14itc (edited February 11, 2004).]

gsbaker
02-11-2004, 02:06 PM
Originally posted by racer14itc:
Thanks for the input, Gregg! Radios are on the list of equipment to buy and I think they'd be a real plus to my teaching, but I think the D/A would be more beneficial to the students right now.

Agreed. Radios are icing on the cake.

Gregg

gran racing
02-11-2004, 03:28 PM
Doing it on a race weekend is kinda tough. The student really doesn't get much track time, and we all know that saying something is one thing but being able to go back out and do it again is another. Having just been through the process (got my license this year) I would say that people would want this instruction NOT during a race weekend.

And I do strongly feel that it is important that the instructor be in the car or as a minimum follow / lead to be most effective. I also feel that it is great having an instructor drive the car. When Tom drove my car and showed me a few things; also learned how my car handles and drives, it was very helpful for both of us. One, it showed him what my car could and couldn't do well. The line needed to be modified because of my car simply couldn't do what his car can. The only way you get that information is by having the instructor drive it. And yes, I do realize that some students wouldn't be too keen on the idea of having them drive the car.

I've instructed at a few HPDEs; if a driver is doing something you feel uncomfortable with you need to tell them and take control. I strongly believe that seeing it from the sideline is one thing, but being beside the student and seeing it first hand is much, MUCH better. Besides, watching the student from the sideline, how many turns can you see on that one lap? In car - ALL! Feedback is much more meaningful.

Maybe after building a relationship with the student, the race weekend session would work. But after.

I also think it can be tough to try to learn on a race weekend while out on the track. Esp. a new driver is concentrating on way too many other things. In an HPDE or test & tune environment, it is much more relaxed and the student can really absorb much more.

Just my thoughts.
Dave

Instead of during a race weekend, you could do it on test & tune day or at a HPDE. Contact the HPDE and see if they would allow you to instruct your student. And it honestly doesn't matter if the student could only pass on straights or in the turns. What you would be teaching them is how to drive faster, with more confidence and safer.

racer14itc
02-11-2004, 05:27 PM
Originally posted by gran racing:
Doing it on a race weekend is kinda tough. The student really doesn't get much track time, and we all know that saying something is one thing but being able to go back out and do it again is another. Having just been through the process (got my license this year) I would say that people would want this instruction NOT during a race weekend.

And I do strongly feel that it is important that the instructor be in the car or as a minimum follow / lead to be most effective. I also feel that it is great having an instructor drive the car. When Tom drove my car and showed me a few things; also learned how my car handles and drives, it was very helpful for both of us. One, it showed him what my car could and couldn't do well. The line needed to be modified because of my car simply couldn't do what his car can. The only way you get that information is by having the instructor drive it. And yes, I do realize that some students wouldn't be too keen on the idea of having them drive the car.

I've instructed at a few HPDEs; if a driver is doing something you feel uncomfortable with you need to tell them and take control. I strongly believe that seeing it from the sideline is one thing, but being beside the student and seeing it first hand is much, MUCH better. Besides, watching the student from the sideline, how many turns can you see on that one lap? In car - ALL! Feedback is much more meaningful.

Maybe after building a relationship with the student, the race weekend session would work. But after.

I also think it can be tough to try to learn on a race weekend while out on the track. Esp. a new driver is concentrating on way too many other things. In an HPDE or test & tune environment, it is much more relaxed and the student can really absorb much more.

Just my thoughts.
Dave

Instead of during a race weekend, you could do it on test & tune day or at a HPDE. Contact the HPDE and see if they would allow you to instruct your student. And it honestly doesn't matter if the student could only pass on straights or in the turns. What you would be teaching them is how to drive faster, with more confidence and safer.

Thanks for the comments, Dave. I appreciate the input. I also agree a test day would be much more productive. I hadn't thought of doing this during a HPDE weekend, but that's certainly an option.

As far as riding, I'm going to stay out of the car. In my case, the student was doing very well and then dropped the outer two wheels in the dirt in the braking zone. It all happened so fast, I couldn't react fast enough to do anything. It shook the student up so bad that *I* had to drive the car back to the pits after the car was extricated from the tire wall.

You're right about not being able to see it all, that's where the data acquisition and video comes in. I'm targeting race drivers and tuning their cars in race conditions at 10/10ths, and having 180 lbs in the passenger seat is going to change the balance of the car. Not to mention I would NOT want to ever ride in the passenger seat when someone was driving 10/10ths!!

As far as race weekends go, I think there are some people who would benefit from coaching during the race weekends vs. no coaching at all. Other than Friday test days, it would be prohibitively expensive to get a race car on the track in racing conditions to do this sort of work (i.e. track rental). To factor this in, my rates are reduced for race weekends to account for the fact that there are fewer sessions to work with.

Thanks again for your input! Keep the suggestions coming!

Mark C.

[This message has been edited by racer14itc (edited February 11, 2004).]

dominojd
02-11-2004, 07:56 PM
I agree w/ Gran Racing. IMO doing HPDE's is agood idea. It gives you a chance as an instuctor to take the car out with the student in it to show them the proper line and for you to know the limitations of the car. Then after that lets go to the video tape.
I don't know about other people but I am the type that likes to be shown what to do first. I feel it is easier to absorb the info this way.

Quickshoe
02-12-2004, 01:05 AM
Mark,

I have often thought about getting some good driver coaching. Know of anyone really good on the west coast?

I would not be looking for someone who can teach me the line, or other basics. I know what I am supposed to be doing, it's the execution that needs fine tuning. I think that can only come with constructivetime in the seat.

Uncoached time in the seat can only help to reinforce a bad habit or two that I don't realize that I have acquired over the last 15 years of racing. I think those habits would best be exposed by the use of a good DA system.

However, I don't know how feasible it would be to install a DA system in a student's car with enough capablities/channels.

I would want a system that could plot steering wheel angle, linear throttle position and brake line pressure.

I know I am making mistakes. Yet, my DA system can plot 10 laps on top of each other that have a range in one session of less than .5 seconds. Am I making a different little mistake every lap or the same mistake lap after lap varying in degree? There is very little fluctuation lap to lap in the time/distance and time/speed plots.

If I had the additional capabilities of a better DA system and someone to interpret it. I could "see" if I am building lateral G's quickly, yet smoothly, with no steering wheel corrections. Am I at 98% throttle where I think I am flat? Am I making corrections with the throttle because of a steering wheel input? Or am I making a steering wheel correction because of a throttle change? When an increase in slip angle does not increase the lateral g's do I realize it? How far beyond am I going before I reel it back in? Am I building and releasing brake pressure quickly and smoothly? As you can see I have questions that I want answered.

Okay so all that gets me a fast lap, but this isn't time trialing. What about race craft? Many of the racing lessons are learned when you didn't asked to be "schooled".

A few years back Ray Evernham and Frank Hawley were going to start a racing school that would concentrate almost entirely on the mental aspects of racing. I applied for a postion there, but didn't get it. Last I heard the plug was pulled on that school.

There is a need for chassis setup education too.

I think you have some great ideas. I would love to do something similar, just not all of us are cut out to instruct.

I have never been frightened as a passenger, but I am going to co-drive in a Grp2 rally car in March. Might be 2 firsts for me at once!!

Good luck to you!

RSTPerformance
02-12-2004, 10:40 AM
I like the idea of driver coaching... I think may people could gain from it. Mostly newbies. I think you idea is doing more than just driver coaching though. You are also "crew" coaching with the alignment tools.

I think the whole package on a race weekend would be a valuable tool. Not only review the videos (remember to bring a TV and power to the track, the flip out screen on the video camera will not suffice) and the data from the data logger, but also review data received from tire temps and pressures, and all the other stuff that goes on. Maybe act as the "crew chief" for a weekend and show what a crew chiefs role really is.

In our team we have designated crew chiefs that are the ultimate ones in charge. Yes my brother, my dad, and I have a lot of influence (as it is our lives and our cars on the line) but when it comes down to it we allow our individual "crew chiefs" to make the final decisions. A good crew chief can analyze the driver as well as the car and results. We trust our crew chiefs and the rest of the team, that’s how we have done so much with so little.

Every driver who is looking to succeed at racing will have a "team." Coach the entire team (rather than just the driver) on all aspects of how to make a winning team!!!

PS: I think that concentrating on the driver only is a waste of $$$ for a race weekend, so much of 10/10ths is the car, driver, and team combination. If you want to concentrate on the driver you need a spec car that you have experience with and have “perfect” data logged, and you cannot be in a “racing” environment. A racing environment needs team training, not driver training.

Hummm maybe I should have kept these ideas to myself and competed with you http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/wink.gif nah, I wanna race!!!


Raymond Blethen
RST Performance Racing

------------------
http://rstperformance.bizland.com/rstsignature.jpg
RST Performance Racing
www.rstperformance.com (http://www.rstperformance.com)
1st and 2nd 2003 ITB NARRC Championship
1st and 6th 2003 ITB NERRC Championship
3rd 2003 ITB ARRC Sprint Race
4th 2003 ITB ARRC Endoro
1st 2003 AS NERRC and NARRC Championships

racer14itc
02-12-2004, 12:19 PM
Originally posted by RSTPerformance:
I like the idea of driver coaching... I think may people could gain from it. Mostly newbies. I think you idea is doing more than just driver coaching though. You are also "crew" coaching with the alignment tools.

I think the whole package on a race weekend would be a valuable tool. Not only review the videos (remember to bring a TV and power to the track, the flip out screen on the video camera will not suffice) and the data from the data logger, but also review data received from tire temps and pressures, and all the other stuff that goes on. Maybe act as the "crew chief" for a weekend and show what a crew chiefs role really is.

In our team we have designated crew chiefs that are the ultimate ones in charge. Yes my brother, my dad, and I have a lot of influence (as it is our lives and our cars on the line) but when it comes down to it we allow our individual "crew chiefs" to make the final decisions. A good crew chief can analyze the driver as well as the car and results. We trust our crew chiefs and the rest of the team, that’s how we have done so much with so little.

Every driver who is looking to succeed at racing will have a "team." Coach the entire team (rather than just the driver) on all aspects of how to make a winning team!!!

PS: I think that concentrating on the driver only is a waste of $$$ for a race weekend, so much of 10/10ths is the car, driver, and team combination. If you want to concentrate on the driver you need a spec car that you have experience with and have “perfect” data logged, and you cannot be in a “racing” environment. A racing environment needs team training, not driver training.

Hummm maybe I should have kept these ideas to myself and competed with you http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/wink.gif nah, I wanna race!!!


Raymond Blethen
RST Performance Racing



Thanks, Raymond! You have the gist of what I'm hoping to achieve. I'll have a TV at the track, and always have a generator with me in case I can't get power at the track. Maybe I can get a motorcoach company as a sponsor and they'll provide a nice Prevost with a lounge and bigscreen TV!

I don't mind potential competitors, but it's true you'd have to give up racing during the weekends you teach!

Thanks again,

Mark C.

Tom Blaney
02-12-2004, 02:17 PM
Ray:

I think the idea of driver coaching should be exactly that. When I do a coaching session, I focus on the small details that the driver really needs to advance to the next level. Things like shift points, turnin, brake modulation all of the things that have become second nature to a front running driver. These things are usually not even in the mid-pack drivers mind set. It sort of relates to when I use to ski instruct, there are only subtle but critical differences between a intermediate and a double diamond skier, and only when the lightbulb went off for the advanced skier and he/she realized why they are able to turn quicker, did they realize that they were actually doing something wrong.

I don't disagree that a race team is a whole package, but there are many drivers (self included) who don't have a full complement of a crew, so they have to have the car prepared and ready to win BEFORE it comes to the track. There are many books that tell you how to setup a car and how to do the mechanical things necessary to make a good car competitive. That should be something that is separate and distinct from driver coaching. We are trying to address unknown problems with a driving style, not mechanical issues. (no offense to the mechanical skills required)

As far as the video and data loggers, been there done that, I think that if you can ride /drive with your student, (provided they keep it on the track) you will see the subtle problems/improvments that cannot be seen as the car streaks past you down pit lane.

In Dave's case, I watched from the outside and couldn't really see where the time was being lost, it was only after we rode together that these subtle differences could be addressed. These things will not be seen no matter how many times you watch the video. Most drivers do know where the proper line is, but don't know why they aren't driving it.

Also by drive/riding in his car could I really feel what the car was doing and then be able to discuss chassis adjustments.

So in the long run, I think using a track day like the SCDA days or something similiar where you and your student are focused on the real topic (driver skill) is were the real gains will be made.

IMHOC http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/smile.gif


Tom Blaney
http://www.sbmsinc.com/racing.html

[This message has been edited by Tom Blaney (edited February 12, 2004).]

gran racing
02-12-2004, 02:17 PM
Raymond, You have to remember that many new racers like myself have a team of me, myself and I. Yes, I do have some friends that come to the track sometimes and fellow racer friends who help as much as possible. But they are out there racing as well.

I do like the idea of showing people how to prep their car better and also how to use the data that we collect.

racer14itc
02-12-2004, 03:05 PM
Originally posted by Tom Blaney:
Ray:

I think the idea of driver coaching should be exactly that. When I do a coaching session, I focus on the small details that the driver really needs to advance to the next level. Things like shift points, turnin, brake modulation all of the things that have become second nature to a front running driver. These things are usually not even in the mid-pack drivers mind set. It sort of relates to when I use to ski instruct, there are only subtle but critical differences between a intermediate and a double diamond skier, and only when the lightbulb went off for the advanced skier and he/she realized why they are able to turn quicker, did they realize that they were actually doing something wrong.

I don't disagree that a race team is a whole package, but there are many drivers (self included) who don't have a full complement of a crew, so they have to have the car prepared and ready to win BEFORE it comes to the track. There are many books that tell you how to setup a car and how to do the mechanical things necessary to make a good car competitive. That should be something that is separate and distinct from driver coaching. We are trying to address unknown problems with a driving style, not mechanical issues. (no offense to the mechanical skills required)

As far as the video and data loggers, been there done that, I think that if you can ride /drive with your student, (provided they keep it on the track) you will see the subtle problems/improvments that cannot be seen as the car streaks past you down pit lane.

In Dave's case, I watched from the outside and couldn't really see where the time was being lost, it was only after we rode together that these subtle differences could be addressed. These things will not be seen no matter how many times you watch the video. Most drivers do know where the proper line is, but don't know why they aren't driving it.

Also by drive/riding in his car could I really feel what the car was doing and then be able to discuss chassis adjustments.

So in the long run, I think using a track day like the SCDA days or something similiar where you and your student are focused on the real topic (driver skill) is were the real gains will be made.

IMHOC http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/smile.gif


Tom Blaney
http://www.sbmsinc.com/racing.html

[This message has been edited by Tom Blaney (edited February 12, 2004).]

Thanks for the input, Tom! My target market includes more than the IT racers, so how do I ride with a guy in his SRF? Can you picture me hanging onto the rollbar?! http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/eek.gif Also, prod & GT guys don't have passenger seats, so that's not an option there either.

Thanks again for the comments. Keep them coming!

Mark C.

gran racing
02-12-2004, 04:19 PM
In those situations you can do a lead / follow technique combined with a radio.

RSTPerformance
02-12-2004, 04:21 PM
Most people don't have a "team" of multiple people.. Agreed...

However when there is no team you are the team and you (although it is more pressure) will need to know everything that a multi-person team would need to know (If you want to win).

I also agree that concentrating on driver coaching is a good idea, but not as much at a race... Tom I used to ski race, and my coaches offered "skier performance" tips to improve my skiing but more importantly on race day offered tips on the course conditions or yelled at me for not waxing good enough or sharpening the edges as good as possible. I practiced 6 other days of every snowy week with the coach to prepare for race days.

If you build a relationship as a coach to someone do driver coaching at non-racing environments and then also offer team/race day (for an individual or group of individuals) coaching on race day. I think that will provide ultimate gains to any individual.


Also keep in mind... how well does the data logger log a battle between two cars in a race? It should show tons of errors (on paper).

All this isn't to say someone couldn't use a driver coach just on race day, as many many tips can be made about not how to go fast but how to compete (as a driver).

My suggestion is to offer up many different degrees of "coaching" to find out what the consumer really wants. There should not be any difference in cost (unless additional risk involved) as your time is your time.

If you want to take it to the max (I don't think it is necessary but if you wanted to...) I think you will need to ride along at 10/10ths. Rally co-drivers can do it, so can you!!!

Good Luck with your entrepreneurship;

Raymond Blethen

Tom Blaney
02-12-2004, 07:55 PM
This is one of the oddities of forums, I mention I use to ski instruct, somebody has to one up me and be a ski racer.

My goal with the driver coaching program is not to make money, but as we all get older I saw how important it is to pass it on (knowledge that is) unfortunatly in SCCA racing (especially at the national level) that knowledge is a guarded secret that is going to make me rise about the mear mortals.

There are many things that need to be learned along the way, and my focus is to pass on what I have learned be it driver tips, parts, setup, whatever it takes to make somebody go faster.

As I had discussed with some of the regional leadership, there should be some sort of driver coaching program that all of us old racers must sign up for (just like the gotta work a corner before you become a racer) so we are forced to pass on the knowledge.

Ok I'm off the soapbox ...
Tom Blaney

RSTPerformance
02-12-2004, 08:43 PM
Tom-

I wasn't "upping you", I was trying to connect with you (share a similar commen experience other than racing).... Thought you might have been a ski race instructor http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/smile.gif Guess you were not. I remember those ski instructor vs ski racer battles (who was better)... I wasn't part of that, I ski instructed non racers after I graduated high school as a second job.

I only added my input to give what I thought were ideas that could make a great idea even better (IMHO).

I also agree that their needs to be more coaching within SCCA, but not to help driving technique. It isn't SCCA's job to make you a faster racer, but it is their job to help you understand how everything works... I think what SCCA needs is a mentor program, not a coaching program. I think that coaching programs should be left up for the entrepreneurs such as Mark C.


Raymond Blethen
RST Performance Racing

Quickshoe
02-12-2004, 10:20 PM
Originally posted by gran racing:
In those situations you can do a lead / follow technique combined with a radio.

Lead and follow can be great, but you would need to make certain that you have a car capable of keeping up with your client while you are driving at less than 100%. If you can't keep up with the student when he/she is at 100% how much input could you provide? Having a FA car would significantly increase your expenses.

lateapex911
02-13-2004, 12:35 AM
So Tom, I guess that explains the knee problems eh?

I agree that the SCCA has to adress the part between street driving and racing. We really are losing entry level racers to the clubs that provide lower pressure instructional environments.

I like your ideas regarding the passing of knowledge. I could use some of your help!

------------------
Jake Gulick
CarriageHouse Motorsports
ITA 57 RX-7
New England Region
[email protected]

Tom Blaney
02-13-2004, 03:18 PM
Geeze Jake all you have to do is stay behind me really really close, but don't count on me waiting for you. Of coarse you can always sign up for coaching. http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/smile.gif

Fair enough Ray perhaps I mis-understood. But your right I do remember the racer/instructor tiff, I ended up going to ski patrol, that way we didn't have to buy drinks at the bar after closing, all the "victims" would buy for us http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/smile.gif

The knee is pretty good now and I have a green light to go skiing next season.

Now I just have to focus on winning the 12 hour at Summit ...

Jerry Lee
02-13-2004, 04:07 PM
All you really need are some dedicated test days and an old GT2 car - that would probably make a good student chase/lead -mobile.

Seriously, there is a real need to do some mentoring/coaching. Coaching is somewhat misleading, as you will have to do some tuning on less preparred cars that most new racers have (unless you have purchased a dialed in racer). The hard part of getting started - is the car, and not really knowing how to set it up correctly. I have been there - dang thing won't turn, won't stop, flatspots in power, etc... Really hard to drive/race effectively - and the worst part is you don't know any difference...

Dang, I could go on and on and on.

For those of you in SEDIV, I am not racing this year (building a new house and shop) and can and will share some knowledge. Drop me a line - [email protected]

Best of luck, hang in there,
Jerry Lee

gran racing
02-13-2004, 06:20 PM
The mentor idea is great! There are many simple things that people take for granted on a race day. And it can be quite intimidating. I was very, very fortunate to have someone take the time to really help me with many of these aspects and get through the SCCA drivers school. Thanks again Jake! and Steve / Al. Little did Jake know that we would be so increadibly evenly matched - often qualify within .01 of a second. And of course the relationship works both ways.

Maybe you can have a broad focus - not just a one race weekend thing but be there as a mentor and help the person along. A lot also depends on the student and their willingness or ability to put money into the car. I bought a suspension that is not adjustable (leda did tune it for my specific car); one less things I can even think of playing with. Nice for a beginner. You know the saying, keep it simple...

You also need to keep in mind that the first few races people just need to get out there and finish safely. So the focus is much different than later in the season.

Everything in steps.
1 - intro to racing. Learning some of the things that are not taught in the race school.
2 - going faster. Teaching where the student can decrease their lap times. Focus on the driver. Maybe some minor tuning such as tire pressure, suggestion on very basic alignment (with out modifying the car more than it is - i.e. camber plates)
3 - car set-up. If the car is tuneable, how to tune it to the driver's preferences.

Have you looked at the regions that are near you? Ask for some stats on cars that enter schools. That will give you an idea on what types of cars to target. It would be a hard sell if you want to instruct open wheel students but have never actually driven an open wheel race car (and same with closed wheel race cars).

grjones1
03-09-2004, 12:52 PM
But it seems to me that there is a need there and I'm interested in filling it.

Mark Coffin

[This message has been edited by racer14itc (edited February 10, 2004).][/B]

Mark,
Ive chased you a few times at VIR and Summit (and I intend to catch you if you'll come back to ITC). But to the point - great ideas! SCCA schools do a good job (given their resources) generally introducing the sport and making it as safe as possible, but often individual instruction is wanting. I have done a little academic teaching and feel racing skills(philosophically I suggest it's often using the right instincts at the right time that's important) are sometimes more difficult to convey. Those of us with some skill (and I don't mean to exaggerate my own) need to pass it on. If I can help in any way, don't hesitate to ask.
G. Robert Jones
ITC 22


[This message has been edited by grjones1 (edited March 09, 2004).]

Hotshoe
03-10-2004, 12:37 AM
Mark:
If you need some help from a RWD guy just give me a call..heh..heh. Just had to throw that in there. I'll be glad to help you with your endeavor if the need should arise. I think we could all benefit from sharing information on technique and skill at all levels.

zracer22
03-11-2004, 07:36 PM
Mark
I'm going to play devil's advocate. Your idea is a good one, but I can't see how it could happen. Costs, available track dates, and competing organizations are my reason for saying that.
"Coaching" is the word I use to describe NASA's HPDE experience. Someone that goes thru NASA's four HPDE levels and then onto comp school will have received dozens of hours of quality on track and class room coaching. HPDE is the heart of NASA.
If you really want to start your own race school business, why not look into starting a NASA chapter? There are several regions in the country still without NASA.

When I startd typing, I had no idea that this post would turn into a NASA commercial. But it sounds like your ideas are similar to NASA's HPDE program.

racer14itc
03-11-2004, 09:36 PM
Starting my own race school business? Oh my god, no. You guys are way more ambitious than me!! I'm just thinking of showing up at a track with ONE customer during a race weekend and spending the entire weekend with them. I have NO interest in starting a racing school, there's way too much competition as you said. Too many headaches too.

I'm talking about offering my experience as a race driver, chassis engineer, car constructor, and teacher to help racers go faster on a one on one basis. More of a coach for the weekend. Crew chief on steroids sort of thing. If you go to a NASA HPDE, will NASA assign you someone who will take your tire temperatures as you come off the track, and then spend the next hour adjusting the camber, toe, swaybars, shocks, changing springs and setting corner weights on your car? Will NASA provide a data logger and laptop and then sit down with you and go over your session, lap by lap to show you where you were fast, slow, or inconsistent? How about read your sparkplugs for you?

That's what I have in mind as my business. I have knack for putting my hands on a racecar and making it and the driver fast, if the driver has the ability. Wish I did... http://Forum.ImprovedTouring.com/it/wink.gif

My webpage explains in more detail what I offer.

MC

Zephyr Race Coaching and Consulting
http://pages.prodigy.net/scirocco14gp/_wsn/page3.html

[This message has been edited by racer14itc (edited March 12, 2004).]

emwavey
04-19-2004, 03:04 PM
This is something I was always surprised the SCCA didn't do. Luckily I found FATT and some other "clubs" that held track days and was able to learn a few things before going to an SCCA driver's "school".

I've approached people in the SCCA about starting track days/HPDEs but for whatever reason it seems either too difficult or time consuming.

I've also approached some small clubs about the possibility of having a group of SCCA instructors come and help with the newbies. I'm specifically thinking of clubs like the Corvair Club that holds a couple events per year at Pocono... Kind of like piggybacking on their event. I would assume they'd be willing to give free track time for the instructors. I would be more willing to go to the smaller clubs and even pay a bit more if I knew I was going to get top-notch instruction.

-dave
8)

m glassburner
04-19-2004, 03:40 PM
Due to liability i would think?

RSTPerformance
04-19-2004, 05:14 PM
SCCA did HPDE classes at Lime Rock however I think that the stringent SCCA guidlines (speed set at 85mph) made the event fail. Basically the HPDE events that I have seen have are less organized as a whole but that seems to work better with that "clientel."

I think that it is SCCA liability issues that get them into trouble with many "low key" type of events. Autocrosses is another place I see a huge difference. SCCA has tons of rules on how the track/course is layed out, while this is safer it is also restricting and more confusing sometimes for entry level racers.

I personanally like that SCCA is a goal for many racers in local clubs. I think that SCCA rules/guidlines makes it possible to have a more "professional" event.

I also think though that SCCA should still have a mentoring program for newbe racers in their first events... You learn more in those events than you do in the school... Sorta like school and the actuall work force.

Raymond

racer14itc
05-10-2004, 12:35 PM
Update:

At VIR this weekend, I was hired to coach a G-production driver in his MGB. In March at VIR, he qualified for his race at a time of 2:54. It was his first SCCA race weekend ever, and the first race for his new (to him) MGB. During that weekend, I offered my services for free (I'm a sucker for new production car drivers!) and during the weekend we tuned on the car and driver and got down to a best lap time of 2:40 during the race.

This weekend, with some additional tuning on the car and driver, he dropped six more seconds from his previous best! In Saturday's race, he got down to 2:34. In Sunday's race, we were hoping for more but had a brake drag issue that was so bad that in impound THREE people could not push the car onto the scales. Even so, he did a 2:35 lap during the race even though the top speed on the straights was about 85 mph( about 15-20 mph slower than during Friday's qualifying).

Twenty seconds in two weekends. My client is absolutely convinced that doing this has advanced him about a year's worth of experience if he had done this on his own. He told me there was NO WAY he would have figured out the lines through the corners on his own in just two weekends, not to mention tuning the car to handle better.

For me, it was quite rewarding to see the rapid improvement and the smile on his face everytime we went over the laptimes each session.

Unfortunately, he won't be able to make the Kershaw Memorial Day weekend, so if anyone is interested in having a driver coach and chassis consultant during the weekend, I'd be interested in talking to you! http://Forum.ImprovedTouring.com/it/biggrin.gif ( I have lots of experience at Kershaw, been on the ITC pole there and even held the GP lap record there for a time. )

Thanks for all the suggestions and comments, I've incorporated a lot of the ideas and it's helped. I'm excited about the possibilities....

MC



------------------
Mark Coffin
#14 GP BSI Racing/Airborn Coatings/The Shop VW
Scirocco
Zephyr Race Coaching and Consulting
http://pages.prodigy.net/Scirocco14gp

Knestis
05-10-2004, 01:50 PM
I had a great conversation with Mark this past weekend and I'm of the opinion that he's got value...

Now, I utterly failed to convert his good input quicker laps on the track but I knew where I was leaving time. Leading a horse to water and all.

K

RSTPerformance
05-10-2004, 01:58 PM
Marc-

Glad to see your idea has had some success... Congrats, and thank you from all who will be raceing against better drivers.

Raymond

racer14itc
05-10-2004, 02:39 PM
Originally posted by Knestis:
I had a great conversation with Mark this past weekend and I'm of the opinion that he's got value...

Now, I utterly failed to convert his good input quicker laps on the track but I knew where I was leaving time. Leading a horse to water and all.

K

Thanks, Kirk! Next time we're at VIR together, come find me during the lunchtime drivearounds and I'll be happy to ride shotgun and see if I can help you find that time. The first "rock" is free. http://Forum.ImprovedTouring.com/it/wink.gif

MC

------------------
Mark Coffin
#14 GP BSI Racing/Airborn Coatings/The Shop VW
Scirocco
Zephyr Race Coaching and Consulting
http://pages.prodigy.net/Scirocco14gp