Ok, honestly, this doesn’t sound like a necessary advise! I mean, what comes next? Use your arms to steer and your legs to brake and accelerate? But the thing is, there is a difference between just doing something and doing something while thinking about what you are actually doing. Wow, are we philosophical today? I guess, too much wine? Well, at least don’t drink and drive, kids! NEVER!
But on a more serious note, when I am driving online on my racing simulator, I see literally thousands of people with more or less ambitions to get going in racing. At least, if we are ignoring the trolls that park somewhere in the middle of the track in order to cause the collision of the year. And while trying to keep my temper and ignoring the missing driving skills a lot of people seem to suffer from, I notice one thing more than any other and that seems to come from one reason only. The lack of using our heads properly.
If you want to achieve high things in life, everyone will tell you to get an awesome morning routine. Well, today is not necessarily about becoming the next Steve Jobs, or Elon Musk of all times, but after analyzing a lot of successful people myself and trying to adopt those techniques into my own life, I figured out that there is one big disadvantage about all those useful routines and habits. And that is, that we do not need to use our brains any longer. A routine is something we just do. You grab your car keys and do what? Right! You get into your car and drive off. But you do not need to think about what you are actually going to do in order to drive a way. The process of starting your car is already internalized and there is absolutely no need to think about the procedure after all. You just do it. And sure, this is awesome and makes life just so much easier! But when it comes to racing, this should never become a routine.
The statement “Use your head!”doesn’t necessarily imply, that you are not using your head every now and again. The thing just is, that we do not think enough about what we are actually doing all day long. Sure, our head is somehow always within reach, but that doesn’t mean that we are using it in the way we could or rather should. And true, most of the time there is no time to think anyways. If you think that you have the time to think about your next move while trying to catch your oversteering race car, well, better stop thinking and turn the God damn wheel in the opposite direction! The truth is, literally everything we need in order to drive a car at its very limit, need to become a somehow internalized process.
We just do not have the time to think about our reactions! And with that said, most of the people are leaving the stage, wishing the audience a good day. But that’s not the end of the story. That is just the beginning. The thing is, we can already think about a situation before the situation is actually going to happen in the first place. What? Looking into the future? Who are you? Nostradamus? But in fact, car racing is like history.
If someone should define the process of driving, this person will find a limited amount of circumstances that will have an influence on the car and its reactions. There are hundreds of parameters. Some that can not be changed so easily, like gravity, some that change due to reasons beyond our reach, like the weather and then of course some parameters that we can actually change, like the kind of car we are driving and the setup, for example. But nevertheless, one day or another, the whole process will be defined. The job will be done and the car will drive on its own. We call that autonomous driving, right? Right! But if I have a look at the way we have been driving cars for the last century, well, someone might come to the conclusion, that even we drive in a somehow autonomous way. We have learned how to do it and now just doing it. Day in, day out. Are we really thinking about the process? Each and every step? No, of course not! We say, hey! Let’s drive to the supermarket and then we just do that. Sure, we need to brake on our own, but we are not thinking about how to actually doing it. Our foot is finding the right pedal with the right pressure somehow automatically.
But when it comes to racing, well, we need to learn how to do it in the first place. Every car driver will agree, we personally think that we are good drivers. And sure, do not start question your abilities to drive a normal car. But between driving to the supermarket in a VW Golf and performing on an actually race track is a huge difference. Not only in the speed, but also in the actual technique.
Use your head is just saying that! Do not take anything for granted! Do not make the mistake to just drive in the way you have been driving for the last 10 years. Sure, you somehow managed to survive, but maybe just maybe that technique isn’t any good. Maybe the technique is even wrong?!
The key to success is this, do not just drive around for ages, trying to get faster and faster from lap to lap. Think about what you are actually doing. Ask yourself why you are doing it and figure out a way how to improve step by step, day by day, km by km. For me, this is the constant narrator in my head. This voice is just always there, spotting my mistakes and telling me what I need to do differently next time around. And by the way, circuit racing is just perfect for that. Why? Because you can have a take two, a take three and so on. And each time around, you can focus on another thing you should work on.
Use your head, you are caring it around for a reason!
See you next time!