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What does a performance driving instructor offer you? [Part 2/3]

In the second part I want to focus on something specific. The added value a driving instructor brings when sitting in the car. I touch on this subject a little bit on one of my videos but I really feel like people don’t give this as much credit as they should.

You might think that hiring a driving instructor is about just bringing your lap times down, showing you reference points around a track or simply teaching you some theory that will help you develop.
And in some cases it can be exactly that. But in many other and most cases it is not.

The truth is that a good performance driving instructor will tackle all of the above after they have made sure that you are safe to do so.
That you are safe enough to push your braking points further, to carry the weight of the car inside the corner without spinning out, to keep your foot down at the exit of a corner since now you are not trying to steer away from that curb on the outside but are embracing it and opening up the steering wheel and more.

And when doing this, automatically – without the driver really ever understanding – the driving session has already become safer.

The driver is now taking less risks, is now pushing in the places he can and should and more importantly is NOT pushing in the places he should not.

Let me say this again in another way. Almost every time that a skilled instructor has jumped in to tell you “easy”, “WAIT, not yet”, “open the steering wheel”, “BRAKE”, “too fast”, “too soon”, “too early, don’t get scared on the exit” and countless more phrases I can think of my from my sessions – it is a moment that potentially could end up badly if you were driving on your own.

And by badly I don’t mean a simple spin out but I mean a crash. Thousands or even hundreds of thousands of damage let alone the psychological impact that comes usually with an incident on track. Sadness, distress, self doubt and many times a very long time to recover and jump in the sport again.

Have I had incidents like these? More than I can remember of.
I have helped cars from being totaled under rainy conditions, to just having a bumper scratch instead of a damage that would make even the wealthiest of pockets sweat.
From helping put out a fire, just because of good knowledge of the track and knowing how to source a fire extinguisher, to stopping a car before it was too late simply because I was able to catch a noise from the braking system before the driver did.
Even placing a car into a safe zone until the tow track comes, just because the instructor knows where the spot is – can go a long way! I bet you have seen cars piling up during a crash on track.
I unfortunately have also failed to save crashes and I have also failed to spot mechanical failures before it was already too late but every single time that this has happened, I still carry with me heavily and enables me to be even more vigilant and aware during my future visits on track.

Like with everything, accumulated experience around a specific activity we are exercising will give us a tactical advantage at some point later on.

Stay tuned tomorrow for part 3/3.

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