Driving practice is essential to any race team. We may be young, but ours is no different.
While the rest of the world waits for quarantine to end, us Athenians prepare. Training does not end when we leave headquarters; we continue honing our skills online every day. The most noticeable feature of this is, of course, the driving simulators.
What the driving practice simulator is like
Equipped with a steering wheel that gives realistic feedback to the driver, as well as a pedal set and gear stick that lets us practice driving manual, the PS4 simulates the tracks that we will soon drive. Each team member gets a turn-taking home the driving practice simulator for a month, and three times a day, we run five laps on Laguna Seca.
This practice not only helps us develop more racing muscle memory but also allows us to experiment with different racing lines. Usually, during training weekends we stick to driving a BMW 320 Turbo for consistency, but now we are swapping out different cars to give more practice adjusting to different sensitivities, accelerations, and speeds.
As team member Marissa Olivares puts it, “being able to try all kinds of cars on this simulator truly tests me because every car is different and it’s all about adapting and challenging myself”, which of course is what we love about racing and automotives.
To keep improving ourselves and our driving practice, we keep a driver’s log with what car we drove, what our best lap time was, and our focus during that session. The driving simulator definitely gives our team a boost when it comes to race day. Knowing the track and its turns, being able to recognize markers for braking points or corner entries… it all boosts our skills. As important as it is, all racers can never get enough track time. However, the simulator can help make up for track time a driver may not get.
And, with the cancelation of many races this season, drivers are looking elsewhere to keep racing… elsewhere being simulators! Where you can’t get real races, turn to iRacing. Articles like “Doonan blown away by success of first pro-imsa esports event” describe the shock and pleasant surprise of racing through iRacing. Excitingly for our team, the SCCA also recently announced their intentions of competing on iRacing.
So if you are a race car driver looking for ways to improve or race while stuck at home, try practicing on simulators or racing online! Then, when the world kicks into gear, you will be at the front of the pack.
Article written by Shayne.
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