I've had the fortune to coach race drivers since the 1990's and as with anyone else who has coached for that long you get the idea of what it takes for a driver to make it in this sport.
You can tell very quickly if a driver has it or not and how to advise them of the best route to take. This is not a special gift that coaches or managers or team bosses have, it's just bloody obvious after seeing it so often.
Well I have put together a quick mini blog post series that will give you an overview of what it takes and what drivers must have in place if they are to stick around in this sport and make a career of it.
First Face Reality
When you first get into Motorsport you are usually hypnotized by the Hollywood style storyline where you are the main character who is chasing their dream. You believe that you can become the champion, that you will race your way to the top and be the best.
We become attracted by the promise that we can achieve our fantasies. From that point it consumes us, it drags us into the Motorsport world and we will sell our houses, lie, beg, borrow, steal and do pretty much anything to get into that car.
This Matrix that we see from the outside works well for the industry, it feeds the sport's business model, but just as kids have to learn about Santa Claus (oops, sorry for any kids reading this), race drivers have to learn the truths about their chances of making a career in Motorsport and more importantly how to do it.
No matter how badly you want to become or remain a professional driver, no matter how special you think your case is or how different you are to the countless other drivers before you, you are going nowhere if you do not possess the qualities that are within The Race Driver Success Formula.
The Race Driver Success Formula
Urgh, sorry for naming it such a cheesy title but hey, you wouldn't expect any less from me would you? ;-)
If you want to make it and be a successful professional driver then I have put together an easy way of describing how this can be done and what you must possess in order to pull this off.
The success formula is made of 3 ingredients which can be abbreviated to S.I.P. You need S.I.P. in order to succeed.
The S of S.I.P
The S stands for Speed.
I know it's obvious but you would be surprised at the amount of drivers out there who believe that they can reach superstar status even though they cannot win a race or get near the podium.
They dream of hitting the heights and talk a good game but when it comes down to their sheer speed (at the level of championship required to get real attention) they drastically fall short.
If you haven't shown to the racing world that you have raw speed, that you have the basic requirement of becoming a race driver then you will find it very hard to make a career here.
A few race teams or loyal supporters may inflate your ego and pat you on the back after you have put in yet another underwhelming performance but I am here to ask you to be honest with yourself.
If you suck on track then the only thing you will attract is people trying to earn money off you and you will not last long.
Believing that you can make a career as a race driver if you are genuinely not fast enough is like believing that you can win gold in the 100m Sprint event in the next Olympics, even though your fastest time is 11 seconds flat. It's not going to happen.
It is the equivalent to you being one of these contestants, in the video below, who believe they can be superstar singers:
Get Over Your Ego
It's time to take a step back and be honest with yourself here, are you actually fast enough?
What results have you got to show to the industry right now that have the potential of securing a good driver contract?
Are people that you have worked with telling others about how fast you are?
If you are answering No to these questions then it's time to get a move on in this area.
There is no room for ego when it comes to your actual skills, if you are below par then you simply fix it.
Become curious, not frustrated, to why you are not where you want to be in terms of your driving and why you have not achieved the results you need.
Become an investigator then once all is clear it is training camp time. It's time to do whatever you can to put things right.
For me that's the nice part of racing, the sporting side, the self improvement part. It's why you are doing this in some way so get excited about it.
Again speed is an obvious thing to pull you up on but it is a part of your game that is fully your responsibility to take control of.
If you are not fast enough then there is only one person to blame for this.
Put the work in, even train yourself outside the car to help you become quicker on track. Use your imagination here by using applicable drills that will help you in the car.
The next post is the entire Success Formula on audio, click here to hear it
Photo by Joel Spence via Wikipedia