Hiring a Racing Coach - Is it worth it?
I remember hearing him say " With my help
you can win the championship" straight to my
professional driver friend. I
stood there in shock not knowing how to react
with this arrogance. Here was some
relatively famous name in the racing circuit
insulting my friend who IS a talented
driver..... or was he just someone so full of
themselves that they think they are god's gift
to racing? You are in their own little dream
Right then as a driver coach I knew this person wouldn't make it past
the starting grid. Maybe if he said " I know some good tips to
help you" maybe I would of had some respect for the guy.
Now before you think I'm anti-coach let me stress I'm not. In
the competitive world of racing a little extra help can go a long way!
I just have some logical pointers to ANYONE that is considering paying a
"Coach" for help.
Those who can't race - teach! Truer words have never been
spoken! But there is a difference - if they do not race because of
lack of funding is one thing - but lack of talent is another. Be careful
of the latter.
As the Knight said to Indiana Jones: "Choose wisely".
Same goes for racing coaches. Otherwise you might as well just
throw your money - better yet - send it to me I can always use more
A coach should have SOME racing experience. If you need a coach in a
professional series make sure he/she has raced at LEAST in that series
or something comparable.
Has he/she driven the race car? I met one hired hand at a
professional event that has never stepped foot in the particular car
that was being raced. Not all sedans are created equal.
A Honda Accord acts differently around the track as a Ferrari 360
Challenge car, for example. The latter has certain aerodynamic
qualities that make it react differently to certain situations.
Unless you HAVE experience with that beast you may be in for a big
The coach better know the race track! Not just through a
handbook - the coach should have driven and raced the specific course.
Not all race tracks are created equal. A veteran of that asphalt knows
specific markers and tricks that may help a newbie. This is why I prefer
local racers to coach at each event. The track, local car
clubs and any race school that uses the track may be able to help you
find the right person that can give you some good race talk.
A racing coach should be cost effective. You don't have to buy
the guy/girl a Porsche. It is ridiculous to what some people charge for
what they think is valuable advice. I remember asking a very "well
paid" coach that was hired by the big brouhaha's about a specific track.
I asked "What was most challenging". I was expecting a specific
answer - ie "This corner is a negative camber and can trick you into
blah blah blah...." The answer I got was "commitment". I was
dumbstruck. Could you have given me a more "politician-style"
answer? What the heck does that mean? I rolled my eyes and thought
best to let this yo-yo enjoy the free food as he saw this as his meal
ticket - that was all he was there for.
Don't be afraid to ask specific questions. "What supports do
you have in helping me?". It can be invaluable to have a coach
that can read, interpret and communicate computer data. Looking at
your lap superimposed on a competitor can show where you can brake later
or accelerate faster out of a corner - this kind of help is truly a gem!
Lastly - talk to your fellow competitors. Ask them about their
ideas...their thoughts and their challenges - you will be surprised how
their information can be helpful. Walk, watch and work the
track......dedicate your self to listening to those that know - not
those that call themselves "coach" for the sake of it.
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