Auto racing is a funny thing. I usually compare it to golf. A golfer can buy amazing clubs, the best golf balls, nice clothes, and professional golf lessons but still their score may not improve because of invisible forces within a person’s mind which inevitably leads them to failure on the golf course. Racing teams can buy the best vehicle, tires, radios, pit equipment, matching clothing, and secure the best pit crew but these things will not solidify a podium finish. Obviously these things are needed to participate but if a driver can’t finish a race is all for naught.
Analyzing The Race Car Driver
The key to auto racing victory lies inevitably inside the mind of a driver. Inside his/her mind are invisible personality traits that are engrained into the subconscious which dictate their reactions and foresight on the race track.
A driver who is insecure will continuously not reach the podium because of their own personality traits. This type of driver seeks ego boosting moments instead of simply finishing races. Just like a competitive teenager, little passes and nudges by other drivers will trigger irrational decisions during pressure situations. Decisions that are less probable to have a positive outcome. A good example would be driving too fast into a corner in an attempt to retake a competitor causing their vehicle to become loose.
A naturally talented driver is like a road visionary or a driving psychic. Almost like they can read other driver’s minds on the race track anticipating every move made and avoiding crashes. The vehicle becomes an extended limb of the person as they feel their way around the track not just “driving”. It’s an emotional and spiritual experience for them. Subconsciously they can read a track like a good golfer reads a putt.
It’s impossible to fully explain all of these mental qualities but any experienced professional can attest to them.
Tips To Help The Race Car Driver
If the race team discusses a plan before a race this creates pit crew expectations. During the race the driver must abide by that preset plan or everyone becomes disconnected mentally in the pits. Every person will begin second guessing themselves as they try to brainstorm new tactics for pit stops. This will begin a slippery slope until there is a complete breakdown of teamwork. A crew chief must ensure the driver is adhering to the initial plan more than anything else! If the driver won’t listen, they must be replaced or else the team will experience fuel mileage problems, tire issues, broken parts and frankly wasted money. For instance, if you say take it easy on the car and your driver is suddenly challenging the leader within ten minutes of the start. The driver is obviously completely ignorant to the “team plan” and feels he knows best. This is unacceptable.
Pit crew members are knowledgable in their respective areas. Sometimes a pit crew member knows a specific track or race better than anyone, almost like a local golf caddy. A driver must be open to debate and ingest information from the crew. Information about vehicle performance, weather, the track, other drivers, tactics and more. If a driver is closed minded to this input the race is already lost. Listening to crew members and acknowledging their input drastically improves attitudes in the pits. This is a staple of championship teams.
Remember to run your own race. You don’t need to prove anything or show up your competition. Your team and your sponsors will be served the greatest by a podium finish, or at the least finishing. Positive momentum will be created heading into future races and excitement will grow among everyone involved rather than disappointments which have a negative effect. Focus on keeping the vehicle healthy and listening to your pit crew’s advice.