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R&T article: The Solution To Racing Instructor Deaths? Get Them Out Of The Car

 
Old 09-03-2015, 02:17 PM
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Default R&T article: The Solution To Racing Instructor Deaths? Get Them Out Of The Car

interview w/ PK.

http://www.roadandtrack.com/motorspo...ck-day-safety/




not sure if this was posted before...
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Old 09-03-2015, 02:58 PM
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Yes the article was posted before.

I just can't seen "remote instruction" with newbies. While I've not had the pleasure of working with Peter Krause, I have read about his methods and used data to improve my performance - and it's not like Peter needs more affirmations that his approach works. However, I am at point in my driving where I can drive a consistent line as well as brake, accelerate, with decent vision. Thus I'm at point where remote instruction can work. I wasn't that way for the first 2-3 years or so.

I've also worked with our own Mr. Scott, and I like his right seat approach as well. The real time feedback is extremely valuable and he picks up stuff that the data may not see such as the visceral feedback the car gives you in real time.

I also think ride alongs with very good drivers where you are the passenger are valuable. If you ever get a chance to ride shotgun with a pro - take it. Shameless plug.

With respect to the safety issue, for me it has boiled down that I feel safer on a race track then I do on a public thoroughfare - those civilians are nuts. A 120 MPH impact is certainly a possibility on a two lane highway when some snowflake is checking texts and drifts across the yellow line.

As for instructing newbies - I rather enjoy it and I now get completely how people will instruct even if they don't bring a track car with them. Most of the time it is a lot of fun being there when the light comes on. Sometimes you get a difficult student, but nothing is perfect and it is another part of this sport I enjoy.

Life is about managing risks, an ultimately, it is a personal decision, YMMV. Where I sit on this curve is beginner to intermediate is fine with 3 points and a helmet in most cars. Intermediate to advanced race seats, 6 pt harness, Hans, roll bar. Once advanced, it really does help to move to a dedicated car with a cage. I personally got to a point where self preservation was holding me back before I got the caged car. Not saying this is the right answer, it's just mine.

Overall, I think the safety stuff lately has been a bit overblown.

-Mike
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Old 09-03-2015, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by TXE36 View Post
I just can't seen "remote instruction" with newbies.
That's how all racing school (e.g. Skip Barber) are run. I have attended Mid-Ohio School and the instructors don't ride along even in GT cars.

IMO there are three reasons why this won't work at "club" level:

1) Racing schools (like Mid-Ohio) requires a full day of low speed car control drills then another half day of low speed "learning the lines" drills before letting students solo on the track. Most track day attendees lack patience (humility?) for it and unfortunately clubs cannot afford to enforce it.

2) Volunteer instructors don't have the skills/authority read speed and lines from corners. I took advantage of PCA Club Racing's free coaching by David at VIR a few years back. It was very helpful but I doubt I can offer the same to my students. (Both from my own line reading skills, and frankly also many students "how do you know when you are not in the car" attitude)

3) (And probably most important) Logistics - It's hard to get instructors out to corners during students' run sessions.
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Old 09-03-2015, 05:46 PM
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It's called Track Nignt America put on by the SCCA of all people

Peter
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Old 09-03-2015, 06:30 PM
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The solution in the coming years will be a VR camera mounted in the car with a data overlay and the coach with a radio wearing an oculus rift in the paddock. That would give 90% of the information with immediate feedback from the instructor with no risk to the instructor. It would work for single seaters too because you just need space for the multicam.

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Old 09-03-2015, 08:16 PM
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I'm sure the insurance premiums will also dictate how fast virtual instructing takes place. Already we have seen certain activities thrown by the wayside, (i.e. parade laps, taste of the track type stuff) disappear with PCA, not necessarily with all other track clubs........money, as insurance premiums will, sadly, dictate the speed of the uptake.
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Old 09-03-2015, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by TXE36 View Post
Yes the article was posted before.

Life is about managing risks, an ultimately, it is a personal decision, YMMV.

Overall, I think the safety stuff lately has been a bit overblown.

-Mike
I agree completely. The title is pure clickbait and is not representative of my view, for sure. The interview was also edited for space significantly.

Read the last few paragraphs and you'll see that I strongly believe there is a place for right-seat instruction, especially for novices.

What has been lost in the discussion is that the primary responsibility for safe guidance of the car around the racetrack MUST be inculcated and transferred TO the participants, at EVERY levell, all the time.

In the beginning, there were few in car instructors, and most racing schools including SCCA, did not require ANY previous experience. The earth did not stop rotating and the insurance companies continued to issue coverage, so clearly the highly structured protocol today was not absolutely required to hold safe events.

Does it help? Perhaps... But the organizations have a responsibility to "get the message to Garcia" (http://www.hb.org/a-message-to-garcia-and-your-career/) and make sure the drivers understand completely that they are responsible for their actions and must treat this sport very, VERY seriously.
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Last edited by ProCoach; 09-03-2015 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 09-03-2015, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by 986 View Post
That's how all racing school (e.g. Skip Barber) are run. IMO there are three reasons why this won't work at "club" level:

1) Racing schools (like Mid-Ohio) requires a full day of low speed car control drills. Most track day attendees lack patience (humility?) for it and unfortunately clubs cannot afford to enforce it.

2) Volunteer instructors don't have the skills/authority read speed and lines from corners. I took advantage of PCA Club Racing's free coaching by David at VIR a few years back. It was very helpful but I doubt I can offer the same to my students.

3) (And probably most important) Logistics - It's hard to get instructors out to corners during students' run sessions.
Agreed. And SBRS was among the finest programs of its kind for decades using this method.

1) Why not? Audi Club Potomac and a number of the BMWCCA chapter do this for novices...

2) Why not? There are many, many instructors who have a decade or more experience. Why can't they be taught the same skills David Murry, Jim Pace or I use every day to evaluate and provide feedback?

3) Why not? This used to happen as part of Instructor Training programs. Heck, there were for profit schools that required their instructors to do this. And they all found it valuable!
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Old 09-03-2015, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Country911 View Post
I'm sure the insurance premiums will also dictate how fast virtual instructing takes place. Already we have seen certain activities thrown by the wayside, (i.e. parade laps, taste of the track type stuff) disappear with PCA, not necessarily with all other track clubs........money, as insurance premiums will, sadly, dictate the speed of the uptake.
My experience is that those are both growing in popularity with PCA. What has gone by the wayside is allowing ride alongs for friends and family though I think there are a couple of regions that still allow it.
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Old 09-03-2015, 11:23 PM
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$6k a weekend. Dang, I had no idea. Respect!
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Old 09-04-2015, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by ProCoach View Post
Agreed. And SBRS was among the finest programs of its kind for decades using this method.

1) Why not? Audi Club Potomac and a number of the BMWCCA chapter do this for novices...

2) Why not? There are many, many instructors who have a decade or more experience. Why can't they be taught the same skills David Murry, Jim Pace or I use every day to evaluate and provide feedback?

3) Why not? This used to happen as part of Instructor Training programs. Heck, there were for profit schools that required their instructors to do this. And they all found it valuable!
I agree that's actually preferable (and I thoroughly enjoyed Mid-Ohio school.)

1) My region required novice to do a full day clinic also, but this does not come close to Skip Barber or Mid-Ohio that would have required all students (and all solo drivers and instructors new to that track) to do line drills at EVERY EVENT.

Clubs instead put instructors in right seats to teach the line at full speed...

This would require clubs to have the will to turn away drivers who are not serious / humble enough about learning and willing to spend 3 days to drive 1.5 days. (And probably increase cost due to reduced attendance too.)

There is also the SCCA's more laissez-faire approach, though it would require a big shift of PCA.

#2 and #3 are more issues with volunteer organizations.

#2 should be doable at club's home event, but it would be difficult to have enough "experts" at away tracks. The burden also falls the heaviest on the most experienced drivers, and it is them that the clubs need to retain (not with money but with track time that they have to give up.)

Hiring pro instructors is another option, but it would require raising event price (or clubs stop using track days to subsidize other club activities...)

I guess I was not clear on #3. Since instructors are volunteers and *need* their track time, it would be a challenge to get them out to corners after their sessions end / before the student sessions start.

It would be a big ask for instructors to sacrifice some of their sessions to minimize "cold" track time. Most volunteer to instruct because they get to drive also, otherwise time away from family is a tough ask...

Last edited by 986; 09-04-2015 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 09-04-2015, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by sbelles View Post
My experience is that those are both growing in popularity with PCA. What has gone by the wayside is allowing ride alongs for friends and family though I think there are a couple of regions that still allow it.
Here in Texas, the PCA regions still do parade laps and trackwalks occasionally. I wish we did more trackwalks, but scheduling them is difficult as there is only an hour of downtime during the day at lunch.

Also, here in TX, PCA does not allow ride-alongs. Instructors may take any registered driver out. The only passenger permitted in a student's car is an instructor, registered for the event. I support this policy wholeheartedly. It prevents "hold my beer and watch this" moments.

Having a passenger in a car increases the load on the driver. When that passenger is an instructor, you essentially have two drivers. When that passenger is a rider, now it is an additional responsibility for the driver. The first time I had a passenger (not at a PCA event) it was a noticeable mental load and distraction.

Passengers need to be limited to riding with instructors, or at the very least, very advanced students. At PCA, the advanced students lose out on this, but I don't think that is a big deal. PCA around here has a reputation for running the finest HPDE programs - the passenger policy is one of the reasons for it.

-Mike

Last edited by TXE36; 09-04-2015 at 01:59 PM. Reason: ETA: Whoo hoo! 1000th RL post :-)
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Old 09-04-2015, 10:03 AM
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Slightly off topic, but it bears noting... a passenger in the right seat significantly changes the balance of a car. If you are used to driving solo, an extra butt up front will really alter the car's turn-in and track-out characteristics. I've seen the altered balance catch out plenty of otherwise experienced drivers who forget to factor in the added weight and make embarrassing off-track excursions. It always takes a few laps to adjust, and most demonstration rides begin too fast.
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Old 09-04-2015, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by TXE36 View Post
Passengers need to be limited to riding with instructors, or at the very least, very advanced students. At PCA, the advanced students lose out on this, but I don't think that is a big deal.
I honestly get/agree with your general disapproval of ride-alongs to limit show-off stuff. But I also find that with organizations like Chin, for example, being able to ride along/get ride-alongs from fellow long-time advanced drivers (who don't happen to instruct) has been very useful/educational. It's one of the things I look forward to about those events. I don't know anyone that does anything questionable in those scenarios, but I suppose those folks exist, and that's an argument against allowing it. I guess it's sort of like the alcohol policy when I was in college -- as long as the privilege is not abused, it's allowed. Until someone ruins it for everyone.
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Old 09-04-2015, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Misdirection View Post
I honestly get/agree with your general disapproval of ride-alongs to limit show-off stuff. But I also find that with organizations like Chin, for example, being able to ride along/get ride-alongs from fellow long-time advanced drivers (who don't happen to instruct) has been very useful/educational. It's one of the things I look forward to about those events. I don't know anyone that does anything questionable in those scenarios, but I suppose those folks exist, and that's an argument against allowing it. I guess it's sort of like the alcohol policy when I was in college -- as long as the privilege is not abused, it's allowed. Until someone ruins it for everyone.
Chin's flexible policy regarding ride-alongs works very well because of the overall system Chin has created, which includes detailed drivers meetings which set the right tone for the day, morning warm-up sessions, quality instruction, high standards for promotions, run group status being specific to each track, instructors not being able to solo Green students (instead needing to coach them towards full Yellow or Blue solo status), close monitoring of what's happening on track and effectively dealing with any issues that are observed, etc.

By contrast, organizations which impose a lot of rules sometimes pay a price in terms of impaired driver development and channeling exuberance into aspects of driving which aren't covered by the rules (e.g., I've seen evidence that passing anywhere with a point can lead to a lower incident rate for experienced drivers, as compared to passing only in straights, perhaps due to less frustration). Adding 'rules' doesn't always make things safer ...
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