Topic: Rookie driver question

We have added a new, rookie driver to our team who will be racing for the first time at NCM this year.  Since the race times are published I was going to put together the driver schedule like I do for every race.  I'm curious where in the sequence he should go and what others have done with new team members.  I'm thinking of starting him last on Saturday as I figure attrition and black flags will thin the field a bit.  Then on Sunday make him drive 2nd or 3rd so that he doesn't have to deal with traffic at the start and red mist drivers at the end. 

What else should I have him do to prepare for the race?  Watch accident videos from past races on Youtube and say, "Don't do that"?   I'm really trying to impress upon him that the most important thing is not speed, not his line, but situational awareness and staying out of the way of faster cars.

Greg

Re: Rookie driver question

I like the idea of starting a rookie driver first on Saturday.   They get to have several laps before the green flag getting familiar with the car and the track under less-stressful conditions.   True, the first few laps after the green flag are a bit hair-raising, but overall I think it is better than tossing them into the middle of a race in progress.

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Re: Rookie driver question

I wouldn't put him at the end of the day.  In my experience the fastest drivers are out then.  I've heard of teams putting the novice out first because there's the most yellows then.  But I would probably have them go second or third stint.  Less cars on the track due to breakage.

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Re: Rookie driver question

Late saturday and early sunday are good times. That's when I was sending out my first time siblings and they stayed out of trouble.

Do they have any track experience at all? A track day can be a benefit to introducing them to driving at speed while looking for flag stations. I"m also a huge proponent for karting as an introduction to traffic. Find your local place, and go during a busy time to ensure a full field. Really does help with learning to deal with traffic and people who have no idea about proper line or letting others by.

Make sure they attend the new driver's meeting friday night.

Videos are good if they are the track you're driving. Make them watch and learn where all the flag stations are, where track on/off is, etc.


Other important things. Get them antiquated with the car. Get them in on friday, drive the paddock, make sure they're comfortable with the mirrors (ensure helmet and neck restraint is on for this), teach them where all the emergency equipment is. Tape over their helmet visor and make them get out of the car a few times as emergency practice.

Write the car number on the dash so they can't forget and miss black flags.

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Re: Rookie driver question

As CowDriver stated above, I like my rookies to go first.  It allows them to experience racing before the car implodes and they get those extra practice laps.  I went this route after some new guys starting commenting how those paced laps really helped them full comfortable.  Full course yellow is a good moment too, but can't plan for that.

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Re: Rookie driver question

I tend to put rookies and people who haven't raced the track before out first.

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Re: Rookie driver question

Depending on the track, I'm not sure I'd put them out first.  Yes, you get a lot of slower laps.  But on some tracks the first hour or so can be a traffic jam, they probably won't learn much and there is more opportunity for trouble.

I definitely wouldn't put them out last.  I always take our last stint every day, and it seems like the last 30-45 minutes is when everybody who's been wrenching on their heaps all day long tend to come out and think they can make however much they've fallen behind.

So my vote would be for middle of the day, with the beginning as a second option.

bs

8 (edited by RobL 2017-04-03 09:56 PM)

Re: Rookie driver question

It's kind of been an unwritten agreement that most teams send their least experienced drivers out first.  Then you up the speed throughout the day. 

I tell my rookies - don't be stupid and be predictable.  The racing line turns into racing lanes in traffic and you need to stay in your lane.  If you are slow, or even slower than the traffic coming up behind you, get small and get very close to the edges of track - a pack of drivers red misting will try and pass anywhere they can.  By being on the edge of the track, you are telling them to pass on the other side, thereby increasing predictability of everyone.  Also important for predictability, don't wander.  Get to where you want to be on track and stay there.  There are too many accidents by cars "leaving room," having another car slip in beside them, and having the first car wander/drift into them.

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Re: Rookie driver question

I appreciate all of the input and I'm surprised that so many lean towards first out.   It also makes sense in the fact that nobody wants to be "that guy" who drives like an idiot and hurts the car on the first stint before anyone else gets a chance to drive.  The good news is, he will have a couple of track days under his belt in the car so he'll be comfortable in it.  We also plan to do the practice day so he can get familiar with the track.

Until now, we've had the same core team since 2010 so this scenario never came up.

Greg

Re: Rookie driver question

RobL wrote:

By being on the edge of the track, you are telling them to pass on the other side, thereby increasing predictability of everyone.  Also important for predictability, don't wander.  Get to where you want to be on track and stay there.

Well said. IMO nothing is worse that an unpredictable driver or one that approaches a turn in the middle of the track.

I still can't believe people the number of people who enter a race, but have never been on a track.  No way we would risk our equipment by putting someone behind with zero track experience.  Going to a few HPDEs and learning the ropes before you share the track with 100 cars makes too much sense.

Captain
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Re: Rookie driver question

CowDriver wrote:

I like the idea of starting a rookie driver first on Saturday.   They get to have several laps before the green flag getting familiar with the car and the track under less-stressful conditions.   True, the first few laps after the green flag are a bit hair-raising, but overall I think it is better than tossing them into the middle of a race in progress.

I'd probably do this.... unless you all are actually trying to win. I'd start him 1st. That way he'd get several yellow flag laps to learn the course. Have him start behind a "like" car and tell him to follow that car until he gets comfortable with the track.  it is likely to be slower going in the 1st few hours.  mid race or end of race the cars are going to be faster, because people have more laps AND there will be less cars on the track.

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Re: Rookie driver question

Maybe it's just me, but the madness that is the first hour or two just doesn't seem like something I want a new driver dealing with. At least with the new england races it seems that the opening hour is just pure chaos. Maximum number of cars, lots of yellows to deal with (both local and full course), lots of cars exploding. Id' much rather them go out mid day or later in the day when the crowd has thinned. Even if things are moving faster, it's a little less chaotic. And saturday doesn't seem to suffer from quite as bad red mist as sunday does.

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13 (edited by Sonic 2017-04-04 09:18 AM)

Re: Rookie driver question

I agree with Chris, mornings can be pretty chaotic for the first hour, we usually put in an experienced, risk adverse, mid pack driver for that shift, and it works out well.  We put noobs, if we have any, out in the second or third shift, with whoever is left last.  I do often end up going last because I like to.  For running extended stints, all that goes out the window.  First shift also needs to be someone guaranteed to have sobered up by that hour, which rules out some of our team.

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Re: Rookie driver question

VKZ24 wrote:
RobL wrote:

By being on the edge of the track, you are telling them to pass on the other side, thereby increasing predictability of everyone.  Also important for predictability, don't wander.  Get to where you want to be on track and stay there.

Well said. IMO nothing is worse that an unpredictable driver or one that approaches a turn in the middle of the track.

I still can't believe people the number of people who enter a race, but have never been on a track.  No way we would risk our equipment by putting someone behind with zero track experience.  Going to a few HPDEs and learning the ropes before you share the track with 100 cars makes too much sense.


I personally am eternally grateful that a team let me race their nice BMW with me having no track or racing experience....and now I have my own car and team, been doing this for several years, and I go to all the east coast races.....and I enjoy the seeing the faces light up of inexperience drivers after attending a race.

In my personal experience, the drivers with more experience put in more dents that inexperienced drivers, who drive cautiously.

Anyway, that's just me...to each, his own....

And I would put a newbie driver in first....and let them know it will be chaotic (and give them clear instructions and coaching).  But at least they can go out before the race starts and do a few practice laps.  And the pace is slower then, and there are more yellows, and that way they are guaranteed to drive (since they are usually A&Ds)
Sunday, I believe, it does not make that much of a difference....

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Re: Rookie driver question

MZAVARIN wrote:

In my personal experience, the drivers with more experience put in more dents that inexperienced drivers, who drive cautiously.

It depends on where you get the experience IMO. The ones you are describing are likely ones who's experience is in sprint racing like NASA.  These types don't really get that Lemons is an ENDURANCE race, not a sprint.  HPDE however is all about learning how to drive safely on the track,  how to look for the flags, use hand signals, track etiquette, etc.  HPDE doesn't teach you how to race, but IMO it's a really good start.

Captain
Team Super Westerfield Bros.
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Re: Rookie driver question

I would never send out a rookie for the first stint. There is just way too much going on. Guys are red misting trying to get a jump start, shit tons of cars around, everybody getting their lines dialed in. Almost all of my worst code browns have been in the first stint.

As for the rest of it, I don't think it matters much. The last hour of the race does have a little more red mist on track than usual, but in my experience, most drivers are just trying to finish the race without losing position; there usually aren't that many battles for position that really matter. I actually find it the most relaxing because all the fast drivers are out there and you don't have to worry as much about people being unpredictable. rookies will get passed swiftly without much drama.

17 (edited by MZAVARIN 2017-04-06 05:47 PM)

Re: Rookie driver question

VKZ24 wrote:
MZAVARIN wrote:

In my personal experience, the drivers with more experience put in more dents that inexperienced drivers, who drive cautiously.

It depends on where you get the experience IMO. The ones you are describing are likely ones who's experience is in sprint racing like NASA.  These types don't really get that Lemons is an ENDURANCE race, not a sprint.  HPDE however is all about learning how to drive safely on the track,  how to look for the flags, use hand signals, track etiquette, etc.  HPDE doesn't teach you how to race, but IMO it's a really good start.

Good points, I agree.

I certainly would have been better off taking a HPDE.  And I still plan to....I got my wife a lesson, who was totally inexperienced driver, and she really enjoyed it.  And it was not too expensive (at Palmer, Massachusetts), and it helped her at the Lemons races.

I am just weary, paranoid of experienced drivers who are overly self confident, cocky, a bit arrogant, and drive aggressively and overly assertive...
Finishing the race, with no/minimal black flags, no contact, are more important to me than winning....of course, teams that win also usually have no black flags, no contact, drive respectively, and go fast, cleanily, with long driving shifts....and that is impressive...!

Any rookie driver, or Lemons inexperienced driver, gets lots of coaching, advice, instruction, warnings, etc. from me.

Actually, maybe Friday practice time, and then go second on Saturday might be the best option for a rookie...

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Re: Rookie driver question

VanillaHaze wrote:

I would never send out a rookie for the first stint. There is just way too much going on. Guys are red misting trying to get a jump start, shit tons of cars around, everybody getting their lines dialed in. Almost all of my worst code browns have been in the first stint.

As for the rest of it, I don't think it matters much. The last hour of the race does have a little more red mist on track than usual, but in my experience, most drivers are just trying to finish the race without losing position; there usually aren't that many battles for position that really matter. I actually find it the most relaxing because all the fast drivers are out there and you don't have to worry as much about people being unpredictable. rookies will get passed swiftly without much drama.

I always put the Newest Noobs out first. They see the track at Yellow pace during the parade, then all the other massive heaps of yellow flags. that basically define the first hour as cars not quite up to the task blow up and make a mess. Has there ever been a yellow free first hour?

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19

Re: Rookie driver question

beginning and end of each day seems to be the times with the worst driving.  I would rather not put a new driver out in either of those.  I tend to put arrive and drives in the car for 2nd stint, lets the track calm down a bit but also should get them as much seat time as possible.

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