#291 Racing is life – driving techniques – S3 E15 – Fighting for a position

In memory of Stirling Moss.

My philosophy was that I would rather lose a race driving fast enough to win, than win a race driving slow enough to lose.

Stirling Moss

With the loss of Stirling Moss, another race car driver has finished the race called life. RIP

But our race hasn’t ended yet, has it? Todays topic is all about fighting for a position.

That racing seems to be more than just the use of some fancy pedals and a steering wheel, should be clear to all of us already. But as Stirling Moss used to say.

In order to finish first, you first have to finish.

Stirling Moss

In order to win, you need to reach the checkered flag! Ask Toyota, if you have any questions regarding how it feels like to lose everything on the last lap after 24h’s in Le Mans. But just reaching the finish line isn’t enough, is it? We may also want to finish the race first. And in order to do that, you need to be able to fight for your position.

During this season, we already talked about a lot of different topics, from general knowledge, to overtaking, to the lines you should take on the track.

When fighting for a position, you basically need to combine all of these things. There is no way around that. If you have the perfect car, but your mind is loose, you will fail. If your mind is strong, but your lines are rubbish, you will fail! If your passion is strong, but you start to doubt, you will fail once more!

Sure, without having ever fought for a position in real life racing, there must be a lot of other things going on in your head than just the things we are thinking about right now, but generally speaking its the complete package that will be necessary.

If you are having some weaknesses in one or two of the skillsets we have been talking about all day long in this current season, you may end up with losing your position all together, or rather can’t improve it by taking the one from the car in front.

That there is a mental component to racing is something we figured out basically all the time and at least for me, it seems like this is also the key factor when it comes to fighting for a position. If you are not convinced, that you can hold on to your position, you will loose it! Why? Because the other drivers will notice that! The others will see that you are starting to show some nerves, so to speak, that your mistakes start to increase.

My first lesson in road bike cycling was the following:

YOU CAN’T SHOW WEAKNESSES!

The moment you tell someone else that you do not feel that good today, or that you have been struggling with that one particular corner, or haven’t slept well the night before, they will use all of this against you.

The moment I am on my bike, cycling with someone else, the game is on. If you show any kind of weakness, I will destroy you. I will win every sprint, every hill climb, I will even destroy you slowly but gradually with the normal pace. Why? Not because I am faster, or better or even cruel and want you do feel bad, but instead, because that is what we all do, right? We are looking for the weaknesses in others and once we have found what we were looking for, we use them wisely to gain an advantage and most likely your position at the end of the day.

Sure, you might do not be that competitive in your privat life, but if you want to become a race car driver, you should better start thinking like one!

Your car will never stay in a perfect condition all day long. Your tire performance decreases, your fuel consumption might be too high, or your car is damaged slightly and has a bad aerodynamical behavior. Whatever it is, the moment your competitors will know about it, you are done!

With racing it is basically the same as with everything else in life. The moment you show any kind of weakness or hesitation, the battle is already fought. Even though the car might be still behind you. But that’s just how it works in life, right?

Therefore, the art of racing may be the combination of all the skills you need, in order to be fast, consistent, and build up a reputation for being fast and consistent every time, everywhere.

If your competitors do not fear you the moment they see you in their mirrors, you will have a hard time making your move. But if their hands are shaking for fear in the last couple of laps because they know that you are chasing after them, it will be much easier for you to overtake.

Be fast, be consistent, be fair but convinced about gaining that position. A hard driving style is not always necessary, but your reputation is.

Last tip from Stirling Moss:

It’s better to go into a corner slow and come out fast than it is to go into a corner fast and come out dead.

Stirling Moss

See you next time!

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