What is it that each of us is looking for every time we strap into our rigs?
Whether that competition be against the; track, ourselves or our opponents, we are not looking for an easy victory, we are looking for a test and the tougher the better.
And that is the topic at hand. How do we improve the competition, both in numbers and ability? How do we make our own challenge, even harder? It's an important subject as we have so many drivers in the series and the ability levels vary greatly. Those who struggle early may not come back, resigned to the idea that they just are not good enough to compete.
That thinking is flawed, as this series has never been and will never be about catering only to the fastest among us. There is a place for anyone willing to embrace the challenge. With just a little support and a little camaraderie, I believe that most drivers will flourish here. The more drivers who are competing at their personal highest level means more and better competition throughout the field in every split.
So that's the goal... how do we get there?
Developmental Driver Program
Our series is hard, and frankly... it's meant to be that way. We are trying to (in a somewhat reasonable way) simulate the world's most prestigious motor sports events. Not only from a driving perspective, but from every perspective possible.
Hendrick Motorsports spends ALL WINTER preparing for the Daytona 500; in the wind tunnel, in the shop and on the track. They do not simply show up with last year's stuff.
Indycar devotes AN ENTIRE MONTH to the Indy 500. Drivers and teams leave nothing in the tank trying to find that extra 100th of a second.
Toyota (and until last year, Audi and Porsche) spend ALL YEAR revamping their LMP1 programs just to race at Le Mans. The costs associated with that class both in terms of man hours and money could never be recouped by the race team, but they do it anyway. They do it for the glory, they do it in attempt to permanently etch their names in the stone that is racing history. They do it for the love of the sport.
Now, I'm not crazy (ok, I'm a little crazy) and I realize that this hobby is not our livelihood, but I also realize that this hobby IS our passion and as such the challenge should be extremely hard. Whenever someone shows concern about the amount of time spent dialing in a set up, or the hours of practice time required to be competitive, I have to remind myself... I want it that way.
Now, all that said, we want everyone to believe that they have better than a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding here. We each need a toehold to get started, and most of the time that is going to come in the form of a mentor.
Let us know if you are willing to mentor other drivers or you wish to be mentored. Now, don't expect someone to hand out setups and send you on your merry way. Expect to be involved in practice sessions, expect to learn what adjustments do what, expect to improve your driving style and expect to improve your race craft. Basically, expect to work and expect to learn.
In addition to the developmental program, we are going to begin offering a simple package to all of our season pass holders at the beginning of each race week. We call this package the "Toolkit" and it will include;
1. Competitive starter setup for the car(s) and track we are racing that round
2. BLAP file you can download and practice against.
3. Event Primer Video (similar to what Wayne did with the Silvercrown) so you can more quickly get up to speed with the car.
Kinetic Racing has stepped up is providing a Toolkit for the 2.4 hours of Spa. We are looking for others to join in and provide a toolkit for any of our remaining races this year. If you are a specialist in any of the cars left on the schedule, we would welcome your help. We are not asking for anyone to give up world class setups, simply something stable and reasonably fast out of the box. Let us know which event you would like to take on.
All that said, the biggest ask I have is this. If you see someone struggling in a practice session, be selfish and lend a hand. Before you know it, they will become your competition and that is what we all want.