You're on the grid. Your mind is sim racing back and forth. You can still taste that good luck kiss you just had laid on you hot and heavy. Qualifying is in the rear view mirror now. Your heart is pounding faster with each rev of your competitions’ engines. Past races enter your thoughts like ghosts of Christmas past. Yes it’s time to put the pedal to the metal and light’em up. It’s TIME, to start the race. Then it happens...
Man I hope I don’t out brake myself going into T1. Did I put enough fuel in her to finish? Man I hope these guys and gals keep it clean diving into T1. Hell I hope I keep it clean diving into T1. I need to use the bathroom, FML. Did you see his pace in practice. How many names does this guy have ? Oh boy, I need some points and a positive result this week. Do I smell ?
Yes that’s right ladies and gentleman Drivers, pre race can be an odyssey into the unknown caverns of our beautiful and often complex minds. At no point in a race is it more beneficial to be clear, calm, and collected.
In professional Motorsport, as in Simulated Motorsport ( Sim Racing ) the psychological state of the driver is often the least thought of aspect of the race. In recent years it’s become the norm to have mental coaches working alongside the drivers physios’ and this has paid massive results. ( Please see Nico Rosberg “ World Champion “ if you need any confirmation of said ) Yet in Sim Racing we obsess about braking points, late turn ins, carrying max cornering speed, and ofcourse track limit maximization. Yes these are natural racing maxims that both simulated racing and our real life counterparts share, but the mental aspect of racing can pay off in major ways. Inferior drivers with great work ethic and strong mental development can not only compete, but win races in world championships on the biggest stages in the industry ( * Nico Rosberg ).
For all racing drivers implementing some basic mental exercises can provide them the solid foundation to maximize their talents and often defeat drivers with more pace in races. Here are 5 tools to get you started on your quest to be at your best.
The Inner Game of ( Sim ) Racing
Even a 4 minute mediation session, where you focus on your breathing and clear your thoughts can provide you with profound clarity in the heat of battle.
It goes without saying that studying optimal lines from onboard footage will be helpful, but engraining this into your psyche and being able to access these beautiful lines pre race can help you get in your groove from the get.
3 Tension Relief
One interesting tool I learned reading an article on NBA stars and their mental work, featured a practice that ice cold Steph Curry uses pregame or on the bench in closing stages of a game to dissipate natural tension build up. He will tighten and clinch every muscle in his body and face for aprox. 18 second, and then release it with a big relaxing exhale. ( I use this one on dates too ; )
4 Smile Often
Life is good, and we are doing what we love. Wearing a big grin on your face lets your nervous system know that there is no need to build up harmful chemicals in your body that will cloud your reaction times and flood your prefrontal cortex with noisy thoughts. REALLY THOUGH, if I smell you’d tell me, right ?
Yes T1 is the most important overtaking opportunity in the entire world. Yes you have the skills to give the ladies ( or fellas ) the thrills. NO, you will not be crowned a hero for making it 3 wide into a decreasing radius hairpin with zero run off. Unless you consider that armco barrier runoff ( i.e. 2017 Macau Gran Prix - GT World Cup Qualy Race - Yes it rained carbon fiber that day ) - Trust me, you will have plenty of opportunities to pounce if you keep your wits about you. Keep clear on your objective to maximize your talent fully, in order to get the optimal results for you. To Finish First, First you have to Finish.