ross bentley speed secrets

Speed Secrets: Approaching – and Surpassing – Your Limit

I’m really pleased to have Mike Zimicki join the team of Speed Secrets Weekly contributors. Mike has coached drivers such as Ryan Hunter-Reay, Graham Rahal, Danica Patrick, Ashley Freiberg, John Edwards, and Jon Fogarty (to name just a few), so there’s no doubt he knows how to help pros win. But as he’s worked at Skip Barber for years, he also knows how to help novices and drivers of all levels and types. So, learn from and enjoy what Mike has to share!

By Ross Bentley | December 01, 2014
Speed Secrets: Race Driving As A Business

Raise your hand if you’d like to be paid to race cars. Okay, that’s more than one of you. And that’s the problem – many drivers want to make a living as professional race drivers, and there aren’t enough spots for them all. So, to stand out from the crowd, one needs to… well, stand out from the crowd. And one way of doing that is to operate more business-like than others. – Ross

By Ross Bentley | November 18, 2014
Four Ways to Tune Up Your Body for Race Day

Whether you’re a pro-in-training or a casual track day driver, physical and mental fitness makes a difference to how you perform. A participant in HPDE and track days, as well as an instructor, Ingrid Steffensen shares her thoughts on how you can give your driving a physical tune-up in this week’s feature article.

By Ross Bentley | November 11, 2014
Speed Secrets: How to Choose a Coach

As someone who’s made a living from coaching drivers over the past 25 years, as well as being a strong promoter and advocate for it in a sport that traditionally has not accepted coaches, it’ll come as no surprise that I have an opinion on this topic!

By Ross Bentley | October 28, 2014
The Four Most Common Types of Differentials and What You Need to Know About Them

Many fans and enthusiasts talk about or hear pro drivers and their engineers discuss the “diff” or “differential.” It’s a part of the car that is NOT easily changed and adjusted by the average high performance track day driver, but knowing how the different types of diffs behave can help you understand the handling of your car and what you can do to improve it. Then you can get a smart, experienced driver coach to help you drive around the limitations of the diff that’s in your car, or hire a smart race engineer to change or adjust it for you. So what is a diff and what does it do?

By Ross Bentley | October 20, 2014
Speed Secrets Quick Tip: Why Smooth is Fast

Ross has always talked about how smoothness leads to faster speeds, and in this Speed Secrets Quick Tip, he explains why. This applies to performance drivers, race drivers, club racers, HPDE students, track day drivers, and HPDE instructors at all levels.

By Winding Road Staff | October 13, 2014
The Three Priorities of a Race Start

This issue of Speed Secrets Weekly is a little different in that it is entirely made up of my answers to readers’ questions. The first question – and a common one – is aimed at race starts, and is the focus of the main article. While many queries have been specifically about where to position one’s car, when to begin accelerating, or how to jump the start, they all boil down to this one question: How do I get the best possible race start?

By Ross Bentley | October 07, 2014
Speed Secrets Quick Tip: Learning From Mistakes

The mental game of driving is critical to your driving performance, whether you’re a performance driver, race driver, club racer, HPDE student, track day driver, or HPDE instructor. And how you handle mistakes is a critical part of it.

By Ross Bentley | October 01, 2014
Speed Secrets: Your Eyes are the Best Driving Tools You Have

Back in 1994, Don Kitch founded ProFormance Racing School at what was then called Seattle International Raceway (currently Pacific Raceways), and he continues today to share his knowledge, experience, and love of driver training with thousands of students each year. While Don can talk at length about the most advanced driving techniques and approaches, he knows that the basics matter. And it’s the basics, done well, that truly matter

By Ross Bentley | September 25, 2014
Speed Secrets Quick Tip: The Most Important Corner

Which is the most important corner on a race track? Most performance and race drivers of all levels simply follow the “corner leading onto the longest straight” guideline – and they often get beaten by drivers who focus on different corners.

By Ross Bentley | September 16, 2014
Speed Secrets: It’s the Second Skid that Gets You

In this week’s feature article, Rob Schermerhorn writes about skid control, training, and the technology in modern cars designed to help those without the skill to help themselves. As you’ll see, Rob covers a lot of material in one article, and I’m sure it’ll make you think about your own skill development for track driving – and hopefully of those new drivers with whom you might have some influence. – Ross

By Ross Bentley | September 10, 2014
Speed Secrets Quick Tip: Coasting

The “rule” says that you should either be on the brakes, or on the throttle – but never coasting. Well, there’s an exception to every rule, and that’s what I talk about in this Speed Secrets Quick Tip – when and where coasting will actually make you faster.

By Ross Bentley | September 03, 2014
Four Examples of How Memorization Can Work Against You On The Track

One problem I keep coming across in my coaching and driver education is “memorization.” By this I mean memorization as a replacement for understanding. I see a lot of drivers who have problems because they have been taught specifically to do something, but cannot explain why they are doing it. They’ve only memorized a technique. Or similarly, they are trying to imitate something they have observed, but without understanding why it’s being done. In driving, the “why” is just as important as the “what.”

By Ross Bentley | August 26, 2014
Speed Secrets: Shocks – What They Actually Do And How to Adjust Them

Tuning shock absorbers used to be a bit of a black art, but over the past decade or so, it’s become more of a science. David Murry tackles the topic of shock absorber tuning this week, and what I like most about his article is that it’s written from the driver’s perspective.

By Ross Bentley | August 12, 2014
Three Key Factors In Making HPDE Events Safer for Everyone

Recently, there has been a lot of press, chatter on enthusiast forums, and discussion in the road course community following a fatal incident at an HPDE event. Everyone I spoke with hated to hear that one of our own lost his life, but the reactions beyond that varied quite a bit: some said they’ll never ride in the passenger seat (instruct) again, some had concerns about controls at events, and some blamed the safety (or lack thereof) at certain track

By Ross Bentley | August 10, 2014
Speed Secrets: Using Video to Self Coach

One of the greatest tools for driver improvement, one that has become ubiquitous, is on-board video and audio. You only have to scan cars in the paddock or on the grid to know that this setting could be the background for a GoPro advertisement! Going further, “intelligent video,” or video laden with key driver performance data (playable immediately or shortly after returning to the paddock), has been one of the greatest leaps forward in the ability of drivers to coach themselves, as well as a boon to those professionals who assist drivers striving to identify opportunities for improvement.

By Ross Bentley | August 04, 2014
Speed Secrets: Sometimes Data Makes You Gaga

Contrary to some reports, I’m not a confirmed Luddite. Data acquisition and numbers are important. But I’ve coached a lot of drivers who have become fixated on numbers at the expense of staying connected to their own mental outlook and the feel of their car. I tune the helmet, not the car. I’ve seen the numbers get in the way.

By Ross Bentley | June 27, 2014
Speed Secrets: Objective: Learning

I admit it. I’m an addict, a junkie. In this case, it’s an addiction to learning. While I’m considering forming a Learners Anonymous group, a difference from many groups like this is that there would not be a 12-step program to beat the addiction. Instead, there would be a 12-step program to feed the addiction, for I can see nothing wrong with learning more.

By Ross Bentley | May 20, 2014
Speed Secrets: Ten Shirt Pocket Tips

We all want to go faster, safely, don’t we? The following dos, don’ts, and tips have served my coaching clients well over the years, and I hope they will for you as well.

By Ross Bentley | April 24, 2014
Speed Secrets: Simulation Software and Hardware

In my last article, I wrote about how sim racing can help you drive your real race car. Now I’ll tell you what’s out there today, as far as the actual software and hardware are concerned. These are only some of the possibilities, but the majority of sim-racers would point to the following as the best in terms of physics.

By Ross Bentley | April 18, 2014
Speed Secrets: Preparing Your Body for a Race Weekend

My last article dealt with aspects of driver (physical) training. This time, my focus will be on suggestions for how to prepare your body for the rigors of the race weekend, whilst at the track. Flexibility is defined as “range of movement and mobility around a joint.” From the racer’s perspective, preparation of the body before entering the car can have many implications to performance. These considerations for flexibility and physiological preparation will be in my mind when I prepare David Cheng and his fellow Oak Racing Team drivers during this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

By Ross Bentley | March 29, 2014


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