Coaching Availablilty August and September

0720161715_HDR_WebFellow track friends, clients, and colleagues. I have some extra time available in my schedule this month and next month.

August 10th – NJMP Lightning – Day 2 DeMonte Motorsports – low car count, lots of track time.

August 13-14 – NJMP Lightning – Hooked On Driving NE
I have space each day for another driver. The pricing will be half my normal day rate because it will be split with a previously scheduled driver.

August 26-28 – Watkins Glen – Metro PCA

Aug 31-Sep 1 – Waktins Glen – Kojote Sport – Open Track

Sep 6th – Day 2 – Waktins Glen – Chin Motorsports

September 7-8 – VIR – David Murry Track Days – Open Track

Contact me by FB Messenger, email, or phone if you are interested.

-Drew W.

 

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Booking for 2015 Now!

We are already booking coaching dates for 2015.

If you are interested in coaching at a particular event? Don’t hesitate, book now to ensure availability.  At this time we have coaching scheduled as far out as May 2015.

Unsure what events or groups are good for coaching? Look through our Track Events list.

Reference the events Calendar for a particular date. If you don’t see anything listed on that date it means we are available. eMail us to schedule your date. See you at the track!

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IMSA Wired Dual Volume Portable Intercom

$325.00 Peltor FMT-120-IMSA

Peltor FMT120 Intercom IMSA Wiredpeltor-fmt120-intercom-IMSA Wired

Small size and full featured! The 3M™ Peltor™ FMT120 intercom provides a full duplex connection with extremely high sound quality. For portable or permanent installation.

Features include:

  • Small compact design
  • Runs on a single 9V battery
  • Custom Wired for IMSA 4C Helmet Connections
  • Separate volume controls for driver and co-driver
  • Side talk, hearing yourself reduces yelling
  • AUX audio output enables sound recording of the communication between driver and co-driver
  • LED indicator for On/Off and low battery
  • EXT connection for mobile phone or communication radio
  • Connection for push to talk (PTT) button
  • Possible to switch between dynamic and electret microphone
    (Note: This unit is NOT compatible with Peltor helmets or connectors)
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Race-Keeper HDX2 Now Available!

Race-Keeper HDX2

Race-Keeper HDX2

$2989.00 – HDX2 Bundle Kit  – Two HD Cameras with OBDII Interface (special introductory offer)

$2395.00 – HDX2 Basic Kit – Single HD Camera

 

Race-Keeper HDX2 combines the power of video from multiple 1080p HD cameras with automatically synchronized data in one easy-to-use system.

Race-Keeper HDX2 intro kit

Race-Keeper HDX2 intro kit

Three years in development, Race-Keeper HDX2 combines the power of true 1080p high-definition multi-camera video with automatically synchronized data in one easy to use system.

Race-Keeper HDX2’s video is comprised of two full resolution, 1080p, video streams for unmatched video capability and performance. Race-Keeper HDX2’s logger combines a high performance GPS, accelerometer and gyro with vehicle inputs to provide a full spectrum of data for comprehensive analysis.

As with all Race-Keeper systems, video and data are always automatically synchronized for fast and easy review using Race-Keeper Comparo analysis software.

Say Goodbye to Jello

Video from most on board HD cameras have distortion cause by vibration, often referred to as a ‘jello effect’. Race-Keeper HDX2’s 1080p cameras have an on board image stabilization algorithm which reduces the distortion to give a rock solid, crystal clear, distortion free image.

Fully Automated

Like all Race-Keeper systems, HDX2 is fully automated. Unlike other HD systems, HDX2 gives you the power to never fiddle again with separate HD cameras, batteries and SD cards or starting and stopping individual cameras. Race-Keeper HDX2 is fully automated and can be programmed to automatically power up when the car is started, start recording when you leave pit lane and stop when you shut the car off.

Fast and Easy

Race-Keeper HDX2’s video and data record to a single removable SD Card, USB or USB3 thumb drive for fast and easy review. And like all Race-Keeper systems, the video and data are always automatically synchronized. Using Race-Keeper Comparo, side-by-side analysis software, simply load the file, open the file and you’re done.

Dual Stream

Race-Keeper HDX2 features Race-Keeper’s unique Dual Stream technology. Each of Race-Keeper HDX2’s two, 1080p, HD cameras record a full size, 1080p, video stream. Each of the two streams play back together in Race-Keeper Comparo for an uncompromised view of the track, the driver or anywhere else you may want to point a camera.

  • 1080p/30 fps or 720p at 60fps for brilliant, broadcast quality video
    • True Dual Stream HD video for comprehensive video coverage (track, cockpit, rear)
    • Image Stabilization or Global Shutter cameras for rock solid image quality
    • MPEG-4 video file plays in all popular media players
    • 20 Hz GPS for accurate lap times, splits and track mapping
    • 3-axis internal accel for lateral, inline and vertical G data
    • Internal gyro for roll, pitch and yaw data
    • 3 USB ports for easy connection to additional inputs/outputs
    • 1 GB Ethernet port for high speed network connection
    • 2 CAN ports for logging vehicle CAN data and for other CAN devices
    • Records to removable SD, USB or USB3 for fast and easy off-loading
    • Small, lightweight, rugged, waterproof construction for harsh environments
    • Sealed, locking connectors to ensure reliable operation
    • Waterproof Bullet Cameras with ¼-20 mounting lugs for easy internal or external mounting
    • HDMI and composite video output for live display, playback and easy camera setup
    • Programmable power-on, start/stop recording for truly hands off operation

Race-Keeper HDX2 video data logger combines two full resolution (1080p or 720p) with high performance GPS, accelerometer, gyro and optional vehicle inputs to provide unmatched video capability and a full spectrum of data for comprehensive analysis. As with all Race-Keeper systems, video and data are always automatically synchronized for fast and easy review using Race-Keeper Comparo analysis software.

Technical Specifications
• Video
– Two 1080p/720p Camera Inputs
– Dual Stream 1080p/30fps or 720/60fps
• Audio
– Microphone Inputs with Auto Gain Control
• Video Output
– HDMI
– NTSC Composite
• Comms
– 3 USB Ports
– 2 CAN Ports
– 1 GB Ethernet Port
• Data
– 3 Axis Accelerometer
– 20 Hz GPS Engine
– Internal Gyro
• Recording Media
– SD, USB 2.0, USB 3.0
• Power
– 12v Source
– Internal Battery Backup
• Enclosure
– Hi-Impact ABS Plastic
– 7.5” W x 5” D x 1.5” H
– Weight: 1 lb.
– Waterproof: IP67
– Locking Hirose Connectors
– Locking HD Video Connectors
• Bullet Cameras
– HD 1080p (1920×1080)
– Rolling Shutter
– On-Board Image Stabilization
– Vibration Canceling

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Senna, from Sam Posey’s Perspective.

I have always enjoyed Sam Posey’s monologues. Some people joke that they could listen to him read the phone book. I wouldn’t go that far, even an orator as skilled as Posey can not make the phone book sound good! Sam does however bring life to subjects that might seem dry as simple text. On this day, 20 years after Senna’s passing Sam Posey has something to say, and as usual it is worth listening to.

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Senna, the man, 20 years later

I am sure some of you reading this are fanatical about Senna.  He was without a doubt one of the fastest drivers ever in Formula 1.  I think sometimes people place him on a pedestal that made him more than he was.  He was a man, a champion to be sure, but still a man, with all the conflicts that go along with the human condition.  Alain Prost was Senna’s, teammate, his fiercest rival and also his friend.  Here is what he has to say about Senna 20 years later.

Alain Prost on Senna – Autoweek May 1st 2014

Prost’s view is interesting, if only for the fact that he does not idolize Senna like so many others do.  He can see his faults, and his strengths from the all important view as his primary rival.  Even Prost admits that Senna had a special talent, but also an extreme ruthlessness about him.

My friend Steve had this to say: “This was always my issue with Senna. He was without question one of the two or three most talented ever. But Suzuka was typical of the issues I had with him. Last race, Senna leading in the points, Prost 2nd, they qualified 1-2. Senna’s solution to winning the championship was to purposely take Prost out at the first turn. The FIA should have penalized him. So I have issue with the FIA on that matter as well. I think the FIA is in part to blame for the tactics of some of the modern drivers. Many learned from watching Senna and the lack of response to his tactics. If the FIA held the line, we wouldn’t have a problem.”

I also think the FIA is in part to blame, but they are to blame in two ways. On the one hand they did not punish Senna for his obviously ruthless actions on track.  We almost take driver safety for granted these days.  In the late 80’s and early 90’s driver death was much more prevalent.  Punishing ruthless or unsportsmanlike tactics was and is within the FIA’s authority, yet at the time they chose to do nothing. (Now maybe they intervene too much, a debate for later).  On the other hand they also penalized him for completely trivial things, such as disqualifying him for driving through a chicane after he stopped and gained no advantage from doing so.

I wonder if Senna’s need to prove his worth, and his “belief” as that he was always “in the right” gave him more confidence in his driving ability than other drivers of his era possessed. In that short moment in time, he was the best in the world, maybe not because he was more skilled, but because he believed he was better, and this belief enabled him to achieve his exceptional performances.

Sam Posey’s monologue in this video provides some insight into the man, and his capabilities.

Further on in Prost’s article he states that he spoke with Senna on that fatal weekend in 1994. Prost states that Senna “was much softer, very down somehow, without the same power as before.” Was Senna’s confidence shaken? We will never know, but Prost’s account might lead us to believe that it was. In the movie “Senna”, Dr Sid Watkins, Neurosurgeon, head of the F1 on track medical team, and personal friend of Ayrton Senna, recounts a similar conversation that he also had with Senna on that same weekend. These are not the type of conversations that a person would have with a driver who was confident in his ability, or in his car.

The cause of Senna’s crash 20 years ago has been the subject of many articles, debates and inquiries.  Mechanical failure, too low ride height, low tire pressure, whatever it was, it doesn’t matter.  His death, along with the death of  Roland Ratzenberger and Rubens Barichello’s near fatal crash brought about a sea change in Formula 1 and motorsport in general in terms of safety.

Driver confidence is a key factor in driver performance. In my experience it is more important than outright skill behind the wheel (obviously a high level of skill is also required). The belief that you can perform is a significant factor in the level of the actual performance. Doubt leads the mind to wander away from the task at hand.  It takes the focus away from the process and places emphasis on the result, or lack thereof.  The minimal consequence of which, is a bad day.

 

 

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Coaching, Instructing, Teaching… Wait, What? Teaching is a two way street.

Of all the crazy things that make me think of how to make drivers go faster, I was watching a DVR recording of this week’s Dancing with the Stars on ABC tonight with my wife.  During one of the “package videos” I saw something that reminded me of the whole issue of instructing VS Coaching, and the relationship of teacher to student, and how the performance of the teacher can impact the student, as well as how the student can bring out better performance in the teacher.  Wait, What?  That is a mouthful, and a bit hard to follow.  Work with me here.

When I am working with a driver at the race track I critique myself based on my ability to help the driver achieve a new level of performance.  Please note, this is not solely based on lap time.  Driving a car well has many parts, the end result of which is a fast lap time.  If I become focused on my own achievements then I lose focus on the real work, which is teaching a skill, or helping bring out what is already there.  In addition if the driver becomes focused solely on the lap time, which is the achievement, and not on the process, inevitably the lap times will not improve, because the process does not improve, and so the driving does not improve.  The same thing is true if the driver feels that he or she is somehow disappointing me.  They try harder to impress me, which causes them to fail at impressing me, as well as fail to improve.   How I connect with the driver and how the driver connects with me is sometimes more important than my teaching method or my own skill set.

The package video on ABC’s DWTS featured Professional Dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy, himself a multi-time professional Dance Champion and “Star” Meryl Davis, Gold Medal Winner and World Champion Ice Dancer with partner Charlie White who is also a “Star” on the show.

The video is here if you want to watch it.

In the early part of the video, training for this week’s dance is not going well, and Meryle states she is disappointed in getting all 9’s, which is interesting considering the article I wrote just ten days ago titled “Do you want to be a better driver? No, you want to be the “best”! 8 Things to help you achieve greatness in a race car.”  Meryl, clearly is a person who pushes herself to be the best at whatever she is doing.

The interesting part of the video for this article starts at 1:10 where Maks and Meryl are talking through a lot of things. One of those things is fear.  Maks admits to being “terrified” and Meryl begins to talk him through it.  As a multiple world champion and multiple Olympic medalist I am sure she has faced her fear more than once, and worked through all sorts of mental stress in order to achieve all the she has achieved.  You can see in the video that this has an effect on Maks.  Later Maks talks about possibly winning the Mirror Ball trophy, an achievement that has eluded him in 13 seasons on DWTS.  The video ends with the two of them “pep talking each other”.   This sub 3 minute package video provides a glimpse into the life of these two extraordinary athletes and what it takes to achieve greatness.  The two of them, working together, student and teacher are able to achieve more than either of them alone.  Meryl must know this all too well.  In her career as a pairs ice dancer she has both a partner, and a coach, and her coach also coaches a rival pairs team.

After they work through things during the week they give what is arguably the best performance of the night:

As it is with DWTS, so it is with instructing/teaching/coaching a driver.  This is true for any level of driver, from beginner to professional racer.  If you find a mentor you can work with, that relationship will bring sucess to both of you.

-Drew Wikstrom

Tachterion Driver Development

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Everyone can improve their driving, even instructors.

Recently we I received a great note from client Jeff Segal on our Facebook page.  Jeff is Nationally certified instructor, and a great driver.  2 years ago he started working with me periodically to gain new skills.  Here is what he had to say after his first race weekend.  -Drew Wikstrom

Jeff Segal

Over the past 8 years I have had success on the track at the HPDE level; working my way up to be a Nationally Certified Instructor with the Porsche Club of America and the Audi Club of North America. In an effort to test my talents and take it to the next level, I am now racing with NASA and will also race with BMW and SCCA in the future.

Over the past 2 seasons, I have had the benefit of working closely with Drew in a one-on-one capacity. I have found his track driving and racing knowledge on and off the track to be excellent. His methods of teaching and consultation both in the car and in the paddock are excellent. He does a great job at helping to review the on-track video and data and is able to present the information in a very easy to understand and then implement manner.

I strongly endorse and recommend Drew for any HPDE and racing driver. He will make you better, smoother, and faster.

Jeff Segal
Glastonbury CT

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Do you want to be a better driver? No, you want to be the “best”! 8 Things to help you achieve greatness in a race car.

There is a quote from Michael Schumacher on the home page of this website:

“Just being a mediocre driver has never been my ambition. That’s not my style”

― Michael Schumacher

The best performers in driving and other pursuits all have similar things in common.  They shoot high, and aim higher, always pushing themselves to new limits, and learning more in the process.  This article from Time Magazine addresses 8 things that successful people do.  How many of these things are you doing in life and in driving?

8 Things the Most Successful People Do That Make Them Great

Let’s see how these 8 things relate to driving a race car:

#1 – Be Uncomfortable:  If you are not pushing your limit, or the car’s limit you aren’t learning anything new.  There a plenty of drivers of fast cars out there, there are not a lot of “fast drivers”.  If you want to be truly fast you need to push yourself beyond your comfort zone.  This is hard, and sometimes frustrating work.  Making mistakes isn’t easy. Learning from them is harder still.  Having the force of will to push through being uncomfortable separates the good from the great.  As renowned driving coach Ross Bentley states in his book, “you need to be comfortable being uncomfortable”.

#2 – Stop Reading, Start Doing:  All work and no play makes you a dull driver.  Studying how to drive is necessary.  There a numerous books on the subject, and plenty of bench racing is done discussing various theories found in books, on websites, and tidbits of paddock talk from fellow drivers, instructors and coaches.  At the end of the day you need to practice the skills, for real, in real life, with real cars, real racetracks, and real physics.  Don’t make the mistake of just going out and turning the same laps you always turn.  Put all that reading to good use.  Have at least one goal for each session.  Try to accomplish something new when you drive.  Work on an area of weakness, or work on some new technique.  Whatever you do, have a goal.  Otherwise you are just practicing the same old thing.

#3  The Sweet Spot:  Make your goals, or challenges achievable but not too easy, or too numerous.  If your lap times are 15 seconds slower than the lap record in your class, don’t go out and expect to match that record without figuring out why that other driver is faster.  That other driver took a lot of time to develop the skills, confidence, and car set-up to get that lap record.  Break down the areas of improvement into definable goals or challenges that are attainable, yet still force you to push into the “uncomfortable” zone.  If it is too hard, you give up.  If it is too easy, you stop working.

#4  Commit to the Long Term:  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a great driver.  Like most things in life, racing isn’t fair, and learning to drive fast isn’t easy.  Even with natural ability, a lot of hard work is required to attain the skills and confidence to drive a car fast.  Don’t expect to learn how to be fast in a single weekend or even a single year.  It frequently takes several years to develop even a mediocre skill set.  Long term commitment by itself isn’t going to get you there.  You still need to make sure your practice time is valuable.  Once again, just turning the same laps over and over isn’t going to make you faster.  Have a goal for every session.

#5 Find a Role Model:  There is always someone faster at the race track.  A lot of drivers drive best when they have another car to chase.  Why is this?  Chasing another driver gives you something to shoot for, it also gives you an immediate way to measure your own performance against a faster benchmark reference. (separately it often forces your visual and mental focus to change.)  When there is something to strive for it unlocks something inside you that allows you to more easily push your own limits.  Don’t stop with chasing another driver on the track.  What is this driver doing off track that is helping their performance?  How to they prepare the car? How do they study the track and their data?  How do they take care of their fitness?  If you want to be the best, emulate the best. Many drivers use coaches to maintain their performance and are constantly seeking to improve, even if they are a the top of their game.  The best always seem to find a way to go faster.

#6 Naps Are Steroids For Your Brain:  The brain needs sleep.  The amount of processing that the brain does when sleeping is absolutely amazing.  At a professional race drivers are frequently found napping just before the start of a race, and they are diligent about getting a good nights sleep the night before.  Even if you are just at a lapping day or practice day, make sure you plan to get enough sleep.  When working on new skills multi-day events are better than single day events.  The brain gets its work done processing information while you sleep.  On day-2 your performance will be more consistent at the new skill than on day-1 simply because you were able to sleep on it.

#7  Keep a Notebook:  The best drivers keep detailed personal track notes for every track they have ever driven, and they update them every time they visit that track.  In this new age of smart phones, tablets, and the ability to ask the internet the answer to virtually any question at whim the power of the notebook is undervalued.  Simply writing things down cements them in your memory.   A track notebook can be used not just for local track knowledge, but also to track performance, to set goals, make car set-up notes, and note when things don’t work.  (the best learning comes from failure)  Reading the notebook gives you ample time to reflect and learn from your past experiences.  There is truth to George Santayana’s old adage that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.  If you keep a track notebook, and you use it, you will not repeat past mistakes, and you will be amazed at how much new information you add to the notes every time you go back to a familiar track.

#8 You Weren’t Born an Expert:  Even the best drivers with natural talent have to work hard to maintain and improve their performance.  You are no different.  You can become an expert driver with practice and time.  Feel like you’re too old?  Put that notion aside.  In my experience everyone can be taught how to be a better driver, but they have to “want” to be better.  If you want it bad enough you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

-Andrew Wikstrom  04/13/2014

 

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Tachterion Client JS makes the podium in his first ever race weekend!

Congratulations to JS on his second place finish in NASA GTS-2 this past Sunday.

20140404_140406_Richtone(HDR)

After successful completion of the NASA Northeast Competition school JS had a wild race on Saturday.  He qualified well but his time was disallowed after his dyno test when he was found to be under weight for his power levels on the day so he had to start the race from the back of the field.  After a scramble to re-dyno the car and then find and install more than 100 lbs of ballast in order to make weight, JS just barely made it to the grid before the race.

During the race he mad his way through all kinds of slower class traffic and on lap 14 he was closing in on 3rd place in his GTS-2 class when he had a spin at Turn 7.  He drove back to 4th in class, but was only 10th overall at the end of the race.

Post race inspection by Pete from Autosport Fabrication revealed a loose inner tie rod end.   On Sunday JS and Pete worked tirelessly to find parts and relocate the hastily added weight from the previous day in order to improve the weight distribution.

A lackluster qualifying session put JS only 4th on the grid, which was still a much better position than Saturday’s race.  He made a decent start, but was on the outside of T1 and got pushed back into 4th when the 3rd place car used all the road on the exit of the corner.  The initial laps were going well until a red flag caused a re-start on lap 2.

After the restart JS drove like a man possessed from P4 overall and P3 in class chasing the three cars in front of him.  On lap 4 he came within 0.30 seconds of the lap record.  As he was closing in on the 3rd place car JS made an unbelievable save when he went off track at high speed exiting the “Lightbulb” corner onto the front straight.  He lost a lot of groudn to the leaders after mowing the lawn on both sides of the straightaway, but got back in the groove and immediately started clicking off fast laps to make up ground.

Up ahead the leader of the race was having tire trouble on the heavily loaded left front corner.  The tire finally gave way on the last lap of the race moving JS from 4th overall to 3rd overall and 2nd in class.

After the race JS said it was the most fun he has ever had in a car!

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