We’ve all had race weekends, where nothing seems to go right. It happens to every racer at some point. Either you’re off the pace in every session, missing something key on the setup, or the machine just doesn’t seem to want to run correctly. What can be even more infuriating is that you might not have a reason for your performance at the time. It’s just slow!
As a racer, being off the pace and not understanding why is one of the most frustrating scenarios. However, it is important to stay focused, as that track time is still very valuable. If you know how to maximize the opportunities of the situation, you can start to working your way back towards the front of the pack.
Below are three quick tips on how to make the most out of a challenging race weekend:
1) Analyze what elements of your racecraft can be improved: Take the time to break down your race performance into elements, in order to see what areas can be improved. Some examples are:
- Looking over your equipment for any damages that might be affecting your performance.
- Observing your competitors driving up close, and see what obvious changes to your line you could make.
- Reviewing any data telemetry or recordings that you have, and be proactively critical in areas of your driving.
This is an opportunity to be very honest with yourself on where improvements need to be made. Finding laptime is always a combination of making changes to the hardware, and changes with your driving technique. Use your remaining session time as practice to try new setup changes, and applying changes to your technique to see if it starts to make a positive difference.
2) Reflect on past successes that you’ve had at the track, in order to keep your spirits up – As frustrating as a challenging race weekend is, remember that the situation is only temporary. Take a moment to reflect on strong drives that you’ve performed in the past, in order to keep your spirits up while you’re overcoming this current challenge.
Sometimes finding additional laptime can just be the result of changing the mentality of the driver, so try and relax and get yourself more in the zone. You’ve driven well in the past, which means that you’ll be able to put together strong results in the future.
3) Always remember to keep having fun at the track! – Now notice, I didn’t say anything about winning. It really shouldn’t be all about winning. No racer can completely control whether they win everything, nor can he win all of the time. What they can do is control how they approach every race, which should be to aim to have as much fun as possible!
In my opinion, a driver shouldn’t choose to enjoy an activity on whether the result is first place. The driver should just enjoy the experience of activity! It’s a choice, so choose to have fun! Do it with a smile on your face! You really never know when you’ll get the chance to race again.
In all honesty, some of the best battles I’ve been in, have been for 11th and 12th place. It’s about how to approach enjoying your time on the track, that determines how the performance affects you.
Being involved in motorsport isn’t just about only seeking out the highs of victory. It’s also about managing the lows, and overcoming the challenges that are brought in front of you. That’s one of the thrills that make the sport so attractive.
Difficult race weekends provide chances for you to really improve as a driver. They provide an opportunity to change your approach from a results-based mindset, to a process-based one. Rather than being frustrated by focusing the poor finishing results, look at how you approach your process on how you can better improve each session.
Stay persistent and keep working on improving. The strong finishes will come. It’s just a matter of time.