“Going testing? Hell yeah! Why not!”
Practicing is an essential part of motorsport. No matter in which type of racing you are participating, if you have a lack of experience, this will always be standing in your way and will steadily increase the gap between you and your competitors.
In order to work on this lack of driving experience, going practicing is the best option you have. But “practicing” is of course not “practicing“.
Going to practice doesn’t only mean to just get to the track, start the car and drive around.
Practicing is quite expensive! You need to pay for the track time, you need your team, like your mechanics and the engineers, the ware and spare parts, the truck or the trailer, some food, some pavilions, maybe even an accommodation and all the other useful things. Of course, you can do this all by your own and save a lot of money, but even then, time is very valuable.
Today, we will talk about the preparing stuff. Everything you can do before actually going to the track.
In order to use your time in the most effective way, you should follow some rules:
A. Plan your practice sessions
Nobody expects from you to make a schedule and actually do what you have planned. Going practicing with a new car, or without much experience can mean a very stressful situation for you and your team. Therefore, you do not need to have the most detailed plan as possible, but rather learn from your mistakes and develop a schedule, that is actually working in real life over time.
B. Prepare your stuff
Another really important point for going practicing is preparing your stuff. In order to be quick and efficient, you do not only need all your tools, but also need to know where they are. To be able to do this correctly, you need to define one special place for every tool you have. After using the tool, it just gets back to its position in the toolbox. Due to this simple rule, it will be possible for you to not only have a clean working environment, but you can also find your tools in the most efficient way. During the night after a pretty long day at the track, or way too early in the morning, it doesn’t matter, your tools will be always at the same place, ready for you to get them. Another point is of course your car. It should be in ready to drive condition. All the maintenance jobs need to be done and the car needs to be rules compliant.
C. Plan the documentation
Going testing allows you to track a lot of data. Some of them are of course quite crucial in order to get your setup right, like for example your suspension, but there is also the possibility to collect a lot of side data, you can analysis later on after the practice is over. If you have planned on how to document those data, everything will be fine, but if you haven’t, you will not be able to track all the data in the correct way.
D. Set the focus on one particular topic for every session
Doing a lot of different practice sessions for formula student already, I realized how important it is to set the focus on one or two particular things only, instead of trying to work on everything at the same time. For example, if you are focusing on the brake temperature setup, you can actually figure out a setup that will be working, or actually collect enough data to do this afterwards back in the shop. But if you are trying to do too much stuff at the same time, this will influence the quality of your data drastically, because you will have too many different influence factors.
In the next episodes we will tackle the practicing part in more detail.
See you next time!