“What is the value of experience?”

*Another post that I’ve dug out of my archives. I guess I’ve been blogging for longer than I realized. 😉 I’ve got some new posts coming soon. 🙂

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“How does one to get to Carnegie Hall?”

The answer here is ‘practice, practice, practice.’ With the exception of the select few, many of us will have to practice for several years, if not decades to be truly fast behind the wheel of a car. Or, until they find a way to download stuff into your brain, like in the Matrix. When you watch a driver like Walter Rohrl or Petter Solberg rifling around a corner, they did not achieve that level of driving skill overnight. It takes years of practice, research, and training to get to a high level of driving skill. (However, if you love driving, that should be fun, right?!)

Most drivers, mostly novices, are under the mistaken impression that after they pay a lot of money on their car and on parts, that they are automatically a fast driver. That thinking is wrong, wrong, wrong! On the one hand, they may pull off a ‘decent’ time out on track, but their not really exploring the depth of a car’s abilities. Plus, whenever that driver get put into a ‘panic situation’, they don’t know how to handle it and the lap goes to hell. (Hopefully the car didn’t go with it!) However, if you compare your time with a time of a experienced driver, you notice that your times happen to be slower, eh? That’s because someone put the time into developing the person behind the wheel, and that person wasn’t you.

There are many facets to developing your driving. From your physical ability, your mental ability to read the track, your psychological ability to calm yourself down while at speed, to your technical ability to take smooth lap after lap. You don’t need a Ferrari to develop good driving technique. You can do these things in a stock Honda Civic and actually have a lot of fun doing it. (Again, my ‘driving a slow car fast’ ethos comes into play, as people who have not driven a stock car at an autocross know what I’m talking about.) Then once you have mastered those basic skills, you move up in the level of equipment you play with. Eventually, if all goes well, you can drift a Porsche 911 sideways after a good number of solid driving years. Like I said earlier, learning to drive fast is about taking baby steps in improvement, but that’s the fun part!

-Shameless plug- For those of you who are interested in reading about ways to improve your driving technique, I would suggest that you read ‘Inner Speed Secrets’ by Ross Bennett. It’s a great read! -Shameless plug

Remember, there is a ‘first time’ for everything. So just because you don’t blow the doors off the people next to you on your first time out, doesn’t mean that you give up. Keep trying! It’s all about having a good safe time on track anyway! Your fellow drivers, who are skilled and truly know what is going on, will notice your improvements and help you out when they can!

“Happy Driving!

One thought on ““What is the value of experience?”

  1. Very true! My first autocross event, way back in 1989, was an ignominious experience for me. I had a freshly minted SCCA road racing license with some good experience wheel to wheel and felt I was hot stuff. I was, in traffic on a big familiar race track. Those pieces of racecraft did not prepare me at all for the immediacy of true driving skill needed for autocross success. I finished dead last for the event; not just my class, the entire 182 person event.

    I have since then had some success with autocrossing slow cars fast and still carry that lesson from 1989 that a complete racing skillset needs to include the ability to read a track or autocross course to allow fast times right out of the gate.

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