A while ago I wrote about my understanding of the difference between talent, which you either have or you don’t have, and skill, which you build by meaningful practice. Read about that here. Now I would like to explain the problem, when your skill begins to be sufficient to match the pace that is required, but you can’t achieve it at the races.
As I announced here on this blog earlier this year, my goal is to see if I can improve as a driver now that my car is so damn good. I have placed more of an emphasis on my driving now, in an attempt to improve. What I have realised is that I CAN in fact match the best drivers in the world when my setup is good, but there is a slight problem. I can’t do it at the race, only after. And I don’t mean I can do it after the race when the pressure is off, because the last few years, I have always been faster in the race than in practice, as I focus more.
The issue is this. Where the best drivers can reach their talent&skill level, and get in the “zone” for any given track in 30-50 laps or so, for me it takes more like 300-500 laps or more! Once it happens though, I am happy to say that I can actually go fast enough. I can match lap times, and I can match the best 5 minute times that were done in the race most of the time. That is definitely a good thing, and gives me motivation to keep pushing.
What needs to happen now, is that I need to be able to achieve this level in a shorter period of time. I believe that there are ways to achieve this.
1. Have a very good base setup that you go to the race with, that you only need to change minor things, if any on. This means that I need to be extremely precise with my predictions for what the track will be like at the race. I need to know what setup and tyres will work.
2. Go to the race after practicing for gallons on end with that setup and those tyres, on a number of different tracks that are as similar as possible to what I expect to experience at the race, where I reach the”zone” on each one. If I can be familiar and comfortable enough with my equipment at the race, I have a chance.
3. Go to the actual race track, and do as many laps as possible, and reach the “zone”. Basically after I think I am doing great, I need to go 1 second faster each lap. This only really helps if the conditions are the same or similar as what they will be at the race.
So there you have it. It is possible. Basically, I just need to prepare better, and practice more. Sounds really easy.