Michael Silver and I talk about how he got to be so good a driver in a short period of time – less than a year. And it’s not just seat time, but how he applied the seat time that made the difference, as he shares here. Oh, and we also talk about astronauts and how Michael communicated with them in space, as well as his incredibly varied background.
Michael started track driving less than a year ago, and to say he’s become addicted to it is an understatement - he’s had about 40 days on track since he began! With a background – education and experience – in computer science, human factors, linguistics, genetics, music, molecular biology, color science, photography, business, and teaching, he brings an interesting perspective to learning how to be an even better driver.
Michael has worked for Apple (where he developed the technology for astronauts to email from space); wrote and directed music for Shakespeare Santa Cruz; was made an honorary Air Force Captain; hung out with Carlos Santana and Keith Richards (after helping set up their studios); been a disc jockey for a large classical music station; and he and his wife, Claire, founded Audio High to help raise money for a number of charities and eventually went on to found a separate non-profit organization (Silver Linings). Pretty boring stuff, right?
David Murry and his son, Dylan join me to talk about the track day business, how to manage modern cars on the track, why NASCAR is a great option for young drivers, how important a driver’s reputation is in this sport, reading a car’s handling, what a son learns from his father who is a racer. And then Dylan and David provide their simple but important advice to you.
David is one of the most successful sports car drivers in recent history, having won in IMSA, ALMS and Grand-Am, in practically every class. He operates his David Murry Track Days program at tracks all over the east coast. His son, Dylan, at 17 years of age, has already raced at Spa, in Legends and NASCAR.
And if you want to sign up for the How to Read My Car webinar, go to SpeedSecrets.com/Read-Your-Car/.
Brian Ghidinelli and I sit down at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, while at the SCCA Runoffs, and we talk about left-foot-braking, driving a Spec Miata fast, how to learn a new track quickly, and the state of the sport – is participation increasing or decreasing, and why.
Brian is the founder of MotorsportReg.com, the leading motorsport event registration site, as well as Race Hero, the timing and scoring app.
While Brian and I were talking, I mentioned the great video of his feet while driving a near record-setting lap of Laguna Seca. His footwork, moving from right- to left-foot braking is something to strive for! You can watch it here: https://youtu.be/_ZeHNGA8MXY
Ryan Kristoff joins me to talk about the electronic driver aids, such as ABS, traction and stability control, and automatic braking systems available in almost all cars these days. And more important to you, do you turn them off when driving on the track or leave them on? That’s the big topic we’re talking about today.
Ryan is a SCCA racer, as well as an automotive engineer who works on electronic safety systems for Bosch Engineering.
To follow Ryan:
Phil Wilkes joins me to talk about car racing and flying – but not at the same time. We’re talking racing, track driving, and piloting planes. Oh, and simulators, self-coaching, and the mental game.
Phil is a commercial pilot and training officer for that big classic Australian airline, a former (for now – he may be back) Formula Vee racer, and the co-author (along with me) of the book, Performance Pilot.
You can purchase a copy of Performance Pilot – either hard copy or Kindle version – through Amazon.
Simon Kirkby joins me to talk about Lime Rock Park, the Lime Rock Driver’s Club, Skip Barber, and what he’s learned through decades of working with the icon of driver training. Along the way, Simon shares stories about Terry Earwood, Dorsey Schroeder, Simona de Silvestro and others. Oh, and he talks about 3 different ways to get through the Left-Hander at Lime Rock fast!
Simon is the Director of the Lime Rock Driver’s Club, a very special place and program for drivers of almost all levels who are passionate about driving.
Sam Smith joins me to talk about writing for Road & Track, how he got his start working on and writing about cars, his own racing, fellow Editor-at-Large Peter Egan, driving a NASCAR Cup car with Boris Said, Jack Baruth, hanging out with Kimi Raikkonen at Fiorano, having a day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with 5 historic Indy car... well, you get the idea – amazing stories!
Sam is the Editor-at-Large for Road & Track magazine, as well as an amateur racer and hard-core car guy. Obviously, you can follow him by reading Road & Track, in print and online at roadandtrack.com, but also on Twitter and Instagram @thatsamsmith. Or feel free to drop him a line by email at email@example.com.
Of course, please pick up a copy of the October issue of Road & Track magazine. Better yet, subscribe to it by going to roadandtrack.com.
In this episode I talk about the trip to the Nurburgring that I help organize each year. For more information about it, go to SpeedSecrets.com and enter your name in the box to be put on the list for details about the 2018 trip.
Steve Smith joins me to talk about racing Porsche Boxters in the World Racing League, why endurance racing is so much fun, and how he and his teammates have turned their racing efforts into a serious fundraising program for charities.
Steve is a co-owner of Big Mission Motorsports, a 2-car team that races in the World Racing League. Besides focusing on winning races, the team has raised over $10,000 this year alone for the Salvation Army of El Paso County, Cancer Research Institute, and the Semper Fi Fund. The team also rents seats for endurance races, so if you're interested...
To learn more about Big Mission Motorsport, check and follow:
Be sure to check out World Racing League at http://www.worldracingleague.org
Big Mission Motorsports sponsors/partners:
Michael O’Neal joins me to talk about his experience at the Monterey Historics (he had just gotten back from the event), Porsches, his adventures in buying and restoring his ’72 911, autocrossing, what being a solopreneur is all about, how anyone can build a business in motorsport, and what he loves about driving. And you’ll move his passion for everything he does.
Michael’s business is the Solopreneur Hour and Solo Lab, where he helps solopreneurs (and I believe, any entrepreneur) with advice, coaching and resources. That’s when he strictly working. And when he’s not (although the lines are blurred between “working” and his hobbies), he’s playing the drums, mountain biking, playing racquetball, working on his Porsche, and most importantly, driving. He’s a multi-time autocross champion, and avid track day geek.
“Spectacularity” is the new word that Michael invented today!
Check out Michael’s world here:
Artoftheinterview.co (not .com!)
Kenton Koch joins me to talk about car control, how to develop these skills, what driving the limit takes, and the difference between cars with aerodynamic downforce and those that don’t. We recorded this conversation between races at the Trois Rivieres round of the IMSA Prototype Challenge event, where Kenton dominated both races.
Kenton is one of the best up-and-coming young sports car drivers, having won in every form and class of racing he’s competed in, from Skip Barber Racing Series to the Global MX-5 Cup, and IMSA Prototype Challenge to winning his class at the Daytona 24-Hour race. And get this: his Winning Percentage over the past 4 years is 52 wins out of 75 races, or 70%! There are not many drivers who can claim that!
Learn more about and follow Kenton at:
Michael Zimicki joins me to talk about driver coaching. We dive into the question of how many true, pro coaches there are (as opposed to just how many call themselves coaches), what great coaches do, and what you should look for if and when you look to hire one. Oh, and we talk about what the best drivers do differently.
Mike has coached drivers such as Graham Rahal, Danica Patrick, Jon Fogarty, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and many, many more big names; he’s also coached drivers you’ve never heard of. The bottom line is he’s one of the best. Follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mfzcoach/, and on the web at https://www.sliderulemotorsports.com.
In this episode I introduced my new program called The 30-Day Zone Challenge (okay, not the coolest name ever, but it does the job). You can sign up for 30 days of email coaching at no cost (since you’ll be Beta testing it) at https://speedsecrets.com/zone.
TJ Fischer joins me to talk about racing with asthma, his asthma awareness campaign, late braking, the mindset that the best drivers have, the importance of the right coach, and how to get up to speed quickly.
TJ currently competes in the Pro Mazda series, part of the Mazda Road to Indy program, driving for Team Pelfrey.
John Drysdale joins me to talk about his experience in his first season of amateur club racing – about what he’s learning, what’s surprised him and what hasn’t, and most importantly, what’s helping him the most. Whether you’re moving into club racing, or up from one run group to another in HPDE and track day events, John’s experience is relevant.
John lives in Nova Scotia, Canada, and races at Atlantic Motorsport Park. 2017 is his first season of competitive club racing, and he’s sharing his experience in a blog called “Four Seconds” (the amount of time he felt he needed to find to become a competitive racer).
You can follow along with John’s adventure by going to RocketRacingMotorsport.com.
Robert Pool joins me to talk about how to practice to improve your performance in anything, the book that he and Anders Ericsson wrote, and the research that Ericsson is known for worldwide. We’re talking about “deliberate practice,” the new science of expertise, and clarifying the “10,000 hour rule.” Oh, and what you hear Robert talk about will help you be a better driver (if you use what he talks about).
Robert is a science writer who co-authored the book, Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, along with Dr. Anders Ericsson, who is considered to be the world’s leading authority on why some people excel, and others don’t.
Follow the work that Robert and Anders Ericsson are doing by going to PeakTheBook.com. And be sure to read Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise. It’s one of the three most important books ever written.
Ryan Staub joins me to talk about the fun stuff – risk and insurance for the track. Okay, that’s not all we talk about because that would be boring (but important stuff to know). We also talk about the car club scene, where younger drivers are participating in performance driving events, and the cultures that the best HPDE organizations have.
Ryan Staub is a member of the Audi Club of North America, BMW Car Club of America, Porsche Club of America, SCCA, and just about every other motorsport club you can mention. He gets around and knows his stuff. He’s also the VP - Motorsports Practice Leader of Lockton Affinity Motorsports insurance.
To learn more about Lockton Affinity Motorports, go to LocktonMotorsports.com.
Allen Berg joins me to talk about his experience racing F3 against Ayrton Senna and Martin Brundle, how he made it to Formula One, and his transition into coaching drivers today. During our conversation we share a few stories about when we raced against each other, and the similar experience we had at our first “big” drivers meetings – Allen at the 1986 Detroit Formula One Grand Prix, and mine in my first Indy car race in 1990. Of course, I ask him one of my favorite questions: What is it that the best drivers do that others don’t?
Allen and I raced against each other in our first years of racing, and then he went to Europe where he made it into Formula One, driving for the Osella F1 team in 1986. He then raced in Latin America before coming back to North America and establishing what I believe is the best open-wheel racing school in the country, Allen Berg Racing Schools.
To learn more about Allen and his school, go to AllenBergRacingSchools.com.
Terry Earwood joins me to talk about… well, a little of everything about driving: drag racing, Sebring, road racing, autocross, instructing, the Skip Barber school, teaching cops to drive, and the 39,000 drivers he’s instructed. Oh, and we laugh about the funniest things we’ve seen drivers do.
If you’ve spent any time around Terry you know this episode will make you laugh, as he’s one of the funniest people you’ll ever meet. For decades, he was the chief instructor for the Skip Barber school – now he’s one of the lead instructors, as well as helping put on driving events for BF Goodrich. In fact, Terry suggests you go to the BFG Garage at https://garage.bfgoodrichtires.com, or @BFGoodrichTires.
Vivek Goel joins me to talk about what he learned when he surveyed 350 performance drivers, asking them about their level of experience and ability, and what they do to improve. Of course, after talking about what the best drivers in his survey did, I ask Vivek what he does.
Vivek is a very competitive autocrosser who has also done some track day driving. He also writes a blog, available at www.BeyondSeatTime.com, where he digs into the what, how and why of what drivers do. As a self-proclaimed “ardent student,” Vivek shares what he’s learned – and we all can learn from him.
Brandon Sneed joins me to talk about what the best athletes in the world are doing to improve their performance. And before you think steroids to build the body, we’re talking about improving the performance of their minds.
Brandon is the author of the book, Head in the Game, as well as a writer for B/R Mag at Bleacher Report. The book is all about “mental engineering,” and in the process of researching the latest technologies and techniques athletes are using to improve their performance, he’s become one of the most knowledgeable people about the “secrets” of these high-performers.
To buy Brandon’s book, Head in the Game (and you absolutely should!), go to Amazon.
And to read Brandon’s blog, listen to his podcast, or learn more about him, go to http://headinthegamebook.com.
During the show Brandon mentioned a link to https://getversus.com.
Ron Simons joins me to talk about driving the Nurburgring – how to do it, how to prepare, what are the things you should avoid, and the challenges of doing so. Along the way (no pun intended, since I recorded this show while driving together from Nurburg to Spa), we talk about the differences between driving the Ring and Spa, the Belgian circuit just over an hour’s drive away.
Ron owns and operates RSRNurburg, a business dedicated to providing car rentals, instruction, and other services to drivers wanting to drive the famous Nordschleife circuit, as well as Spa in Belgium. Oh, and they arrange road tours of the area, too, in some very cool cars.
James Houghton joins me to talk about Time Attack – what it is and where it fits into the motorsport world. Since he drives a 600-horsepower Front-Wheel-Drive car, we also talk about how to be fast in FWD cars, and then share our thoughts on how to prepare to go fast, fast – get up to speed very quickly (the first lap).
James is one of the fastest young drivers in North American Time Attack competition. You can follow him on Facebook at Facebook.com/JamesHougton or Facebook.com/timeattacktyper, and Instagram at @time_attack_typer.
Glenn McGee joins me to talk about sim racing, what he learned from it that helped him move into real racing, what surprises he had when he got to his first car race, what advice he’d give other young racers moving up the ladder, and what the Mazda Road to Indy is like on the inside.
Glenn started off being a serious First-Person Shooter gamer, before he moved into sim racing. After winning the iRacing/Mazda championship, he was invited to compete in the Mazda Shootout, which he won. That lead to him getting a funded ride in the Global MX-5 Cup series, where he currently is racing – while working towards racing in open-wheel cars.
For more information or to follow Glenn:
Jesse Love and I talk about what it’s like being a young racer – just 12 years old – who has more driving experience than most who are listening to this podcast. We talk about what he does to mentally prepare for a Midget or Late Model oval race, how road racing is different, what’s been the biggest influences on his success to date, and what he’s learned that you can use.
Jesse is from the Bay Area in California, and has been competing in Quarter Midgets, Midgets and now Late Model stock cars. He started when he was just five years old, and going into his first season in 2017 of Late Model stock cars, he’s won the first two out of two races. He’s definitely on the path to NASCAR stardom.
Here’s how you can learn more about and follow Jesse:
Dennis Macchio joins me to talk about how to best find and use a mentor to help you with your driving, driver coaching, and a very interesting approach to using your vision (that is based on the system that Bertil Roos developed). Also, Dennis shares his insights about what gets in the way of some drivers improving, managing fear, and how to learn more and improve your performance and race driving.
Dennis is president of the Bertil Roos Racing School. He’s been coaching drivers for nearly 40 years, having started at Bridgehampton, and then taking over the operation of the Bertil Roos school in 1998.
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Ian Korf and I talk about his experience driving FWD cars, how to practice with simulators, and what a driver’s DNA says about their ability… and then Ian flips the table and starts interviewing me – and we talk about how to manage being nervous before an event, whether a driver should care about what happens to other drivers on the track, and what heroes I have.
Ian is a professor at UC Davis who is also a driving instructor, author of the You Suck At Racing book (available on Amazon), and an endurance racer. I stumbled onto his website, yousuckatracing.com a couple of years ago, and have enjoyed and learned a lot from the content there. Ian also writes articles every now and then for Speed Secrets Weekly. Be sure to check his blog out at www.yousuckatracing.com.