Doug Juenke has been a lead coach for Hooked on Driving Northern California region for going on seven years now, so you know he’s seen more than a few mistakes (along with a lot of great driving, too). When I asked Hooked on Driving coaches for their advice, the following article is what Doug sent. – Ross
Think of a tennis player who practices every day. They hit the ball and volley and return serves and on and on and, if asked at the end of the day, they would swear that they are, indeed, getting better. The problem is that they have been practicing the wrong way or wrong technique and thus they have gotten really good at the wrong things.
For example, I had a regular driver in his GT2 Porsche whom I always thought was going gangbusters and definitely was one of the quickest of the group. Thus (not being so intelligent), I decided to go sit in the right seat and see what the heck this guy was doing right! Well…by the end of the first lap, I realized everything he was doing wrong!!! In about five or six places on the track, he was coasting… full-on- no-throttle whatsoever! Now, mind you, we were doing triple digits, so I guess coasting is relative, but it’s coasting, nonetheless.
After the session, he thanked me for my time. As with many drivers these days, he had some telemetry on his car to review. I am sure he was thinking I was a turd, but away I went to my next driver. Right before our next session, though, he came up to me with a bigger-than-life smile to let me know that even with my fat carcass in the right seat, he was three seconds FASTER than he had ever gone before, period! And to this day, he always says to me, “I am not lifting….“ So doing it wrong and getting good at doing it wrong is still doing it wrong, in the end!
Sometimes, the simple knowledge that someone (i.e. a group leader) was watching and willing to offer some sound, basic advice can be very well-received by experienced drivers; they will come back to say, “You know, in that corner, I get it now…it is sooo much smoother than ever before….” I have actually had experienced drivers say that no one has given them advice on how to get better during their time at the track and I think that comes down to egos (in other words, “Who am I to give you advice…?”) But in truth, like all good athletes, truly achieving drivers will accept good advice, properly given.
Remember this, we play for real and when things go wrong, bad things happen and people can be hurt, so helping a fellow enthusiast get better and thus safer, is never a lost opportunity.
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