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Old 04-30-2014, 01:04 AM
GregC GregC is offline
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Default Race School Instructor discussion

I'd like to start a discussion on driver instruction for this weekends racing school, i'd kinda like to hear what people will be focusing on and what tactics they have to help their student be successful.

I'm basing my instruction technique off of the great Barry Munson and how he trained me at last years school.


Here's my basic breakdown of how i'll handle my students experience.


1) Get to know the student, what their interests are and so on, break the ice and make them feel comfortable with you.

2) YELL, just yell, brake pedal this, corner apex do the line now YELL.





ok seriously ! Thats not what Barry did lol.

2) Ask what the student has done to the car for modifications, what tire they are running, PSi's, if they've done the work themselves and how much track driving and enthusiastic driving they have done. Of course, we can't forget to ask if they've changed the brake fluid.

3) Focus on the line, every single second the student is on the track they run the closest thing to the racing line so it's burnt into their skill set.

4) Yell!! so yeah, back to the yelling, Barry was loud and enthusiastic with giving me feedback, positive and negative. I had 2 other instructors for the school and I couldn't hear either of them until Barry got in the car. I plan on being loud and constantly getting on them for errors and giving feedback when they nail a corner/line/apex/braking zone correctly.

5) Feedback, time is short between running to the classroom and hitting the track but as often as I can talk without yelling over 6000+rpm i'm going to illustrate what is right and wrong about their driving.



Things i'll be focusing on:

-Hand placement
-Posture and ease of controlling the car (strain on the body)
-Brake use.. Hard and abrupt vs precise and controlled
-Steering inputs
-Visually looking around the track and ahead of the corner
-Watching Mirrors
-Car control and pushing the limits safely
-Maintaining the equipment and not abusing it
-Finding other drivers weaknesses (just see if they do this naturally)
-Breakdown of a line while driving the car, knowledge vs ability in the moment
-Ability to be consistent
-recognize mistakes and move on quickly from them.

So , it's a start and everyone is going to have a method of their own that will uniquely help a new driver out. What do you guys do that really sets off your training ability?
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Old 04-30-2014, 05:55 AM
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jcm0791 jcm0791 is offline
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Thanks Windows 8... that was a very long post you just lost for me...

Smoothness, slow down (drive at 80%, can't learn anything going faster than that) control and awareness.

Instructing form the passenger seat is really the worst possible way to go about it with the possible exception of trying to do it over the phone from a hotel room across town with the curtain drawn and a pillow over your head. The student is distracted by the instructor's presence so the mere act of observing changes what is observed. Though the instructor can observe the drivers actions they can't feel what the car is doing nor can they truly see the result of the drivers actions. A skilled instructor is much better off observing form outside the car and debriefing every 8 to 10 laps. Done this way, two instructors can easily teach a dozen students at once with extreme effectiveness.

All students are over excited, over enthusiastic and over their heads. They think that they need to go fast to impress an instructor. Dwayne Davis told me a story about instructing a guy who said "I am really going to nail this corner this time. The corner in question was turn 1 at Road America (I believe) after the checker was out. After 3 or 4 cartwheels, and an extended visit to the hospital, Dwayne has not instructed since. I don't want my student to be that guy, and I don't want to be that instructor.

If they can't be extremely smooth and controlled at 80%, what hope to they have at 100%?

We cannot graduate fast drivers being fast is inherent or it is learned ... it cannot be taught. First and for most, our duty is to make sure that graduates are as safe as possible. Drive the line, don't do dumb shit (or at least know when they are so that they recognize how others will react, have some situational awareness (so they can recognize when someone else is doing something dumb ... and can then be in a position to avoid the other drivers incident. Instil the concept of 'life long learning' Rome wasn't burned in a day and great drivers never stop learning.
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Old 04-30-2014, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by jcm0791 View Post
Smoothness, slow down (drive at 80%, can't learn anything going faster than that) control and awareness.
And... I know who I want in my car now. I'll bribe you with treats. Good post.
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Old 04-30-2014, 08:41 AM
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Remember all the basic shit Mike and I yelled at Speedway guys about for years? Start there. Start basic. Apply the KISS principle. People can't handle many new concepts in a day, so figure out their baseline and add a couple to it. Your focus is not to turn them into a champion it is to ensure they can safely navigate a race track in a race situation, remember you will be racing with them consider how you would like them to behave and teach accordingly.
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:15 PM
GregC GregC is offline
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Remember all the basic shit Mike and I yelled at Speedway guys about for years? Start there. Start basic. Apply the KISS principle. People can't handle many new concepts in a day, so figure out their baseline and add a couple to it. Your focus is not to turn them into a champion it is to ensure they can safely navigate a race track in a race situation, remember you will be racing with them consider how you would like them to behave and teach accordingly.
This is of course the standard as to which everything is based on! Safety first.
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:51 PM
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This is of course the standard as to which everything is based on! Safety first.
Right, but what I'm saying is while all totally valid points if you try to go through this with a guy who has never been on track before:


-Hand placement
-Posture and ease of controlling the car (strain on the body)
-Brake use.. Hard and abrupt vs precise and controlled
-Steering inputs
-Visually looking around the track and ahead of the corner
-Watching Mirrors
-Car control and pushing the limits safely
-Maintaining the equipment and not abusing it
-Finding other drivers weaknesses (just see if they do this naturally)
-Breakdown of a line while driving the car, knowledge vs ability in the moment
-Ability to be consistent
-recognize mistakes and move on quickly from them.


They will remember Hand placement, get to their first green and promptly poop.

Break them down into more basic categories, for example:
- Brake use, steering inputs, visualizing the line, watching mirrors, car control - that can all be summarized and discussed as situational or on-track awareness.

What I'm getting at is, give them a few basic concepts, then get into the details, then reinforce the basic concepts again.

You'll be a fine instructor Greg, from a technical perspective the progress you've made since I first met you has been insane and I'm proud to say that Speedway helped along in your development.
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:58 PM
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Mentally I think i'm in a very different place than I was 2 years ago, when I was obsessed with finding every inch on the track and going as fast as possible. Work has sort of consumed my life over the past year, and I don't find myself in a driving mentality at all. I expect this to change the moment I get back onto the track though.

As for instruction, what i'm mainly looking for is someone with extensive road racing experience to point out common risks and good practices to mitigate said risks, things i'm doing that are stupid, etc..
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Old 04-30-2014, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by EM2FTL View Post
As for instruction, what i'm mainly looking for is someone with extensive road racing experience to point out common risks and good practices to mitigate said risks, things i'm doing that are stupid, etc..
I can save you a school for that one. You push to hard, you are too hard on equipment. Aggression is a character trait, you will need to keep that in mind in order to try to create a new habit. It's as simple as that. Tire squeal = slower and using up equipment. If you're getting brake fade you're over using the equipment, time to dial it back a bit for extended races, etc.

From a racing line perspective I don't think you have any issues going fast.

If I may suggest, what you should be focusing on is learning situational awareness on the track with huge car speed differential. This is not ChumpCar, there are FAST cars out there that will be going by at significantly greater speed than you, you do not want to be in their way at an inopportune time. The key to that is driving your line but being aware of what it is that they are doing.
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Old 04-30-2014, 02:20 PM
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Thank you Matt for putting it so succinctly and Greg, for starting this thread in the first place.

I am truly surprised that there has not been an instructor school.

It could have been the Wednesday before the school (yes, that would be today) just to go through and get all the instructors in the same page, set a curriculum and establish a scheduled of events. Like a club meeting, but with instructors only with more 'information session' than 'theoretical discussion.

I would have thought this would have appealed to those organizing the school as it would have allowed them to advance their sphere of dictatorship. In a good way.

I, for one, dread the moment when a student sakes me "What are we doing next?" and I have to respond that I have no clue. It looks unprofessional and ranks right down there with " ... but, that instructor just told me the complete opposite of what you just said...."
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Old 04-30-2014, 02:27 PM
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I, for one, dread the moment when a student sakes me "What are we doing next?" and I have to respond that I have no clue. It looks unprofessional and ranks right down there with " ... but, that instructor just told me the complete opposite of what you just said...."
This happens too often.

A pre-instructor session used to take place at Race City, not sure if it still happens in Edmonton.
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