The single best first step to becoming a better driver is to get regular coaching/instruction from qualified professional instructors. Professional drivers know this and seek out quality coaching on a regular basis. Club racers wanting to up their game should certainly do the same. It is worth stressing again that quality, experience and professionalism in that coaching is imperative.
At the Ford Racing School, our instructors are not only experienced racers, but as importantly they are experienced professional instructors; and our programs and methods are based upon the cumulative experience of those instructors. Whether a one- or two-day fine-tuning school for the experienced driver, or a full five-day school and race licensing program for a new driver, we consistently see vast improvement in every student. A great deal of the satisfaction we derive as driving coaches is seeing the rapid improvement and watching “the lights come on” as our students recognize their new limits.
We begin by covering basics such as heel-toe shifting, car dynamics and control, and how to analyze and recognize correct track lines. By correctly practicing these principles with plenty of track time and following each track session with instructor feedback, your driving skills will make immediate improvement. However, our goal is not only to see immediate improvement in our students, but also to equip them with “skill tools” that they can take away and use to continue developing on their own.
When you are ready to be a safer, faster, more successful driver, seek out professional coaching. An accredited, professional school is the most financially reasonable and effective way to do this.
Charles Putnam is an instructor with the Ford Racing School. He is the 2010 Grand Sports Class Champion in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. He also was the 2008 overall winner in the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill. His professional racing experience includes Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and Rolex Sports Car Series, Pirelli World Challenge, Blancpain Series (Europe), ADAC (Europe) and British GT Championship. He currently races in the IMSA Tudor United SportsCar Championship.