As mentioned multiple times in my blog already, just talking about things is as valuable as saying nothing.
This blog is intended to give you more then just some random facts. This blog is supposed to show you the real world consequences. So, what does it take to become a race car driver? Actually, I have no clue, but this is what I am currently doing!
Yeah, for sure I want to become a race car driver, who doesn’t? But what does it take? In this post, you will find out what I am doing to reach my goal.
If you want to reach your goals, just giving everything you have is not enough.
In order to improve, you need to reflect on what you are doing. Therefore, this post is all about my this years progress in the driver practice sector.
Basically you can separate the training program into 6 different categories.
- Race car/ kart driving
- Simulator practice
- Road car driving
- Mental training
1. Race car/ kart driving
For this years Formula Student season I had the chance to drive in a formula student race car on multiple occasions. This wasn’t just getting in the car and drive around in circles of course. This was also about the metal part, the nervousness, the tension and the pressure as well as the need to deliver good lap times on point while everybody is watching, or the theoretical part about racing. From how to get buckled into a six point harness to what safety clothing you need to wear. Even if the actual car driving part was very limited, I had around 8 hours of driving including the multiple times I was on the kart track.
2. Simulator practice
It isn’t a secret anymore, that modern simulator software is actually pretty realistic. If you want to become a race car driver, the best thing you can do is to drive as much as possible to get as much experience as you can. The problem? Racing is rather expensive, therefore the simulator practice is the best solution for me.
Up to this date, I spent around 400 hours on my racing simulator this year. Practicing anything from qualifying to wheel to wheel racing to endurance racing with driving times of up to 8 hours a day. Due to the reason that I wasn’t spending much time at home because I was studying in Friedrichshafen and now in Coburg, you can cross out a lot of days, when I couldn’t access my simulator.
3. Road car driving
Why do I count road car driving to my practice sessions? Well, in case the police is reading, you do not need to worry. This is not about racing in public traffic, this is all about the metal and physical part of driving. These days, it is pretty common for me to drive up to 700 km a day. What you can practice on such trips are not only the driving skills, but also the way you work with your mirrors while checking the traffic, or focus on driving even though you are feeling really tired and exhausted. Of course, an hour run on the Autobahn is not nearly as effective as one hour on the simulator with 99 other highly aggressive KI cars that want to push you out of their way, but it is still a very good training and it looks so realistic 🙂 haha
Up to this point, I was driving 14000 km this year. With an average speed of 70 km/h this makes 200 hours. But while sometimes, driving also means just standing in traffic or driving through a city. We will take only a quarter of it as practice time. This makes 50 h.
Due to the reason, that I was intended to drive our formula student car this year on both events in Spielberg (Austria) and Hockenheim (Germany) I was preparing myself for those events. This means, I changed my workout routine from a normal workout to a highly specialized one, where I include everything from endurance sessions, like swimming, cycling or ultra long sets of like 300 repetitions, to reaction time improving and strength training. In average, I do at least an hour of training everyday, therefore this adds up to around 270 hours.
5. Mental training
Mental training? Are you kidding me? No! I don’t! Racing is like any other sport. Very challenging on both, the physical and the psychological area. If you want to succeed in the end, you need to be able to perform your peak performance on the point. Get in the car, 1, 2 3 and go! You need to be there! Right in the moment. The moment the clock is starting to tick, you will experience a dramatic change in your whole body. Your muscles get tight, your hands sweaty. This is war! Everyone who tells you something else hasn’t experienced it yet. Racing starts in your head. If you are not ready for the high pressure situation you will be in. If you can not keep a cool head, this can be seen in your performance. You will miss your breaking points, loose a lot of time in traffic or even worse, crash.
But what do I do? First of all, I do the same as professional ski athletes. They go through the track in their head, skiing down the hill from the start to the finish line. Every corner, every move they make, it is all saved up in their mind. I call this the Nürburgring meditation. Just tell me the car, and I “drive” one lap. I even stopped the time and figured out, that I can reproduce my lap times by just a couple of seconds.
So how many hours do I spend with doing things like that? Visualizing lap times and stuff? Around an hour a week, so lets say 43 hours until now.
Last but not least, there is also a theoretical part about racing. This can be something easy, like reading the rules or reading stuff about the suspension setups, but it also means to learn the tracks and driving techniques. Analyse professional race car drivers in high stress situations and so on. For that, I invested around 20 hours up to now this year.
All in all we can say:
- Race car/ kart driving. 8 h
- Simulator practice 400 h
- Road car driving 50 h
- Workout 270 h
- Mental training 43 h
- Theory 20 h
That makes a total of 791 h. So nearly 33 complete days. Mhh, looks like that is what it takes!
Compared to last year, this is not that much… In 2018 I was spending over 900 hours on the racing simulator alone. But still, I am more then satisfied with how this year is going so far.
Remember, between you and your goals stands nothing but time. If you give everything you have, there is only one outcome! And this is success!
Dream –> Act –> Succeed!
See you next time!
You like or don’t like what you are reading? Let me know! I would love to get any feedback from you! Thanks!
Engineer, Motorsport Enthusiast, becoming an Entrepreneur, Author and just different